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David Plotz spoke on the final day of the How to Make Real Money in Podcasting conference about his new company City Cast that aims to produce daily podcasts and newsletters in cities all over the country and has already launched in Denver and Chicago.
City Cast produces daily hyperlocal-oriented podcasts and newsletters at 6 am every morning. They started in Chicago on March 17th and Denver on March 25th. The company began when Graham Holdings reached out to news media veteran David Plotz because they realized that podcasting had reached almost every nitch in podcasting but local news.
Both cities started out with a staff of four or five so David says they can’t and don’t intend to compete with the big news companies in those cities, but instead, want to “lean into the strength of podcasting” - the emotional warm connection you can make with the listener. “How does news feel as a Denverite or a Chicagoite?” Plotz said. “What makes them angered or delighted? We’re less focused on the analytics and more on the feeling of news.”
Everything is currently free and has no advertising because they have the benefit of a large corporation backing them, but they eventually plan on having ads and some kind of premium subscription model. Plotz says if they had to build it without corporate backing they would do it cheaper, but this is a bet that quality will pay off.
He thinks people can come together on local issues because they aren’t as boringly partisan as national issues are and people are more open to think and explore and that’s the audience they’re hoping to find. As an example, he pointed to two different recent episodes from their Denver show about a disagreement over a business development site and they spent one episode looking at it from the developers perspective and another episode talking with neighborhood residents. He says he was actually swayed by both sides.
They are currently hiring hosts, audio producers, lead producers, and newsletter writers for Boise, Houston, Nashville, Las Vegas, Oakland, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and have 32 total jobs available!
The format is still experimental so anyone that’s hired will have a lot of latitude to make the job their own. If anyone has any questions about City Cast they can email David at Davidplotz@citycast.fm