Did Wondery Kill The Podcaster Hall of Fame?

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(By Dave Jackson) From time to time, those who have been podcasting for over a decade feel like larger media companies give off a vibe along the lines of, “Thanks kids, we’ll take it from here.”

iHeart radio stating they had created the first awards show for Podcasting (15 years after the original people’s choice podcast awards). The latest article on Bloomberg states, “Born in the halls of public radio, podcasting has emerged as one of the fastest-growing businesses in media over the past few years.” Um, NO IT WASN’T.

While they may or may not have a superior attitude, one thing seems to be a reoccurring theme. Companies coming into the podcast space (or reporting on it) seemed to be challenged when it comes to performing a simple Google search.

Please buy the book Make Noise by Erik Nuzum and read the chapter on the history of Podcasting (and then Apologize to Dave Winer and Adam Curry).

New Golden Mic Awards Announced
Today at Podcast Movement Evolutions Hernan Lopez the founder and CEO of Wondery announced that there had never been an award show that was “completely peer-based, not for profit, fully representative -until now.” He then announced a new award for podcasters called “the Golden mic.”

He also stated there had been a lack of education in the podcasting space (which I found odd sitting at a conference where people were learning how to podcast, and there have been many websites geared toward helping people plan and launch their podcast).

Along with the announcement of the new “Golden Mic” awards was the announcement of a Podcast Academy (that will vote on recipients) consisting of Initial supporters of the Podcast Academy include Courtney Holt (Spotify), Anya Grundman (NPR), Kerri Hoffman (PRX), Donald Albright (Tenderfoot TV), Erik Diehn (Stitcher), Hernan Lopez (Wondery), Christy Mirabal (Sony Music), Rekha Murthy (independent), Lauren Spohrer (Criminal), Alia Tavakolian (Spoke Media) and Oren Rosenbaum (UTA’s head of emerging platforms). The only independent (Murthy) worked at PRX until 2015.

In an article on Bloomberg.com Kerri Hoffman (PRX) “it’s time to recognize the complement of people building the industry and create some peer groups that recognize quality in specialized areas of the profession.” When you’re sitting in the audience and don’t see a single podcasting company, or podcaster who has been podcasting for 10+ years and KNOWS the industry on your board, it might lead one to believe we are not seen as “peers.” It leads one to feel invisible.

If the media companies coming into space want to embrace those that paved the way, this is not the way to do it. Nobody likes a “know it all” especially when we can easily prove a lack of knowledge with a 2 second Google search. They need to remember that these people have followings, and those followings listen to podcasts. Their listeners are fiercely loyal, and when their favorite hosts are disrespected, you not only upset the host – you upset their army.

In regards to the “until now” statement (about awards show) apparently Lopez forgot about the time he presented the Innovator Award to NPR’s Mathilde Piard just last month.

Maybe he doesn’t feel iHeart is completely “peer-based” and I might agree with him as there was some rumbles about how shows were nominated.

He might not remember the time Wondery (his company) was the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Academy of Podcasters Awards Show and Hall of Fame Ceremony.

The Original Academy of Podcasters
The biggest confusion was their choice of name. The Podcast Academy. This was similar in name (and idea) to Academy of Podcasters. That original Academy was created in 2015 as, “a group of podcasters, podcast industry professionals, and podcast enthusiasts who have come together to help recognize the best contributors to the podcast industry.”

The academy would select people for the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame. How were they chosen? Once public nominations occur, every nominee will be evaluated during a selection process made up of the existing Hall of Famers.

The requirements were:

Have been involved with podcasting for at least 10 years, either as a podcaster or an active member of the podcast industry.

Have promoted the art of podcasting over those 10 years.

Done things to make podcasting better off because of their contributions and involvement.

Be thought of highly by their podcasting peers.

Due to lack of sponsorship, there has not been a hall of fame ceremony since 2018.

The New Podcast Academy
The Podcast Academy will host monthly webinars on industry topics, hold networking events in Los Angeles and New York City, and publish whitepapers on best practices. Additionally, The Academy will host a searchable directory of members, giving everyone the opportunity to connect with other professionals in the podcast field.

When submitting to The Golden Mics, Academy Members will receive a member discount per submission.

Beginning in year two of Academy establishment, Members will be entitled to select by vote the Members of the Board of Governors.

Members and Leadership
The Podcast Academy is membership driven and overseen by a Board of Governors. Members of The Podcast Academy are individual professionals within the podcast industry, each with voting rights for The Golden Mics.

Members join into one of the existing peer groups (listed below), and every member is vetted for eligibility prior to membership approval. Eligibility requirements must be met within the two (2) years preceding one’s application for membership. Additionally, two recommendations from members or podcast industry peers are also required.

The Confusion and Outrage
The biggest outrage came from the announcement from Lopez via a tweet to Rob Usdin that the old Academy and Hall of Fame had been shut down.

The Hall of Fame is Not Dead
In talking with Dan Franks (Co-Organizer of Podcast Movement) he said, “They asked if they started an awards show, would it conflict with us, and I let them know that we are no longer hosting an award show, so it would not. The topic of the Hall of Fame never came up, and we still have every intention of picking it back up as soon as we can.

Moving Forward
When I spoke with Lopez after the announcement and explained that there HAVE been awards shows based on peers, all-inclusive and that he had misspoken, (and that those who have received those awards might feel offended) he apologized. Will we see board members going forward who aren’t part of a network? I guess we will see.

In the meantime, we have a new event with companies behind it to promote it to the public to raise awareness of podcasting (which is a good thing).

To my friends in the media. All of the “OG” podcasters would love to help you get acquainted with this space. To let you understand our culture and best practices. All you have to do is ask. Please quick disrespecting our history, our pioneers, and do a little research.

You might even consider sponsoring the Hall of Fame Ceremony.

Dave Jackson is a Hall of Fame podcast consultant who has been podcasting since 2005. He is the founder of the School of Podcasting where he helps you start your podcast and grow your influence.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Why did Wondery feel need to try to kill the original Podcasting Hall of Fame, which seems to be the only place where our pioneers are honored and hopefully remembered?

    It seems clear that independent podcasters will be locked out of these new awards without regard to their contributions or experience.

    It as if big media is trying to erase our history.

  2. Podcasting is following in Hollywood’s footsteps. I think you’ll ultimately find podcasters falling in one of three categories:

    1. Podcast professionals who align with studios for all of their projects. These include celebrities, professional journalists, broadcasters, etc.

    2. The Sundance Film Festival-variety podcasters, who are indie in spirit, but produce professional projects that may be too controversial or too niche to get backed by a studio or professional podcast network.

    3. The podcasters who are indies in every sense of the word.

    It’s offensive when the pros take this approach as though they’ve invented the medium, but it’s not surprising. They believe they’re bringing a professional approach and talent to the industry — that they’re doing it “the right way.”

    Podcasters should just choose their lane and be the best they can be, and not get too worried about this sort of thing. You can be a professional podcaster who doesn’t meet the first group.

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