Podcast Academy Update…Sort Of

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(By Ed Ryan) Remember that big announcement at Podcast Movement’s Evolutions? The one that, at least for a few days, turned the Podcast industry on its ear. The one about a new Podcast Academy. Well there’s an update from the organization, although still so much of what’s going on remains secretive.

An e-mail was sent out Tuesday to potential members. It said that the group is working hard to get all the back-end items in place so membership in the Academy can open soon. “Our Founding Members are meeting soon to organize final details around membership, and we anticipate accepting members in early Spring.”

Right now you can only join an e-mail list which we suspect is the organization’s way to see how many people are genuinely interested.

The price for membership that’s been thrown around has been $100 per year. Although we were told by a Wondery representative that the $100 price is not set in stone. Whatever the cost to you is, it will include webinars, networking events in Los Angeles and New York City, and publish whitepapers on best practices.

We still don’t know every organization involved, other than Wondery and the handful of organizations that were on stage during the announcement at Evolutions. The e-mail from yesterday said there are 17 founding members, but for some reason, those names will not be released to the general public in the second quarter. Why so secretive? Just tell us who’s involved!

It was clear from the Tuesday e-mail that the criticism the group heard from independent podcasters following the big announcement was heard loud and clear. “Including all voices, especially those of the many independent producers and artists in the industry, is important to the Founding Members and the success of the organization. To that end we plan on setting low fees for membership dues and award entry to ensure maximum participation from across the podcast spectrum.”

We reached out to Wondery and requested an interview with CEO Hernan Lopez and were told he’s not doing any more interviews on the subject. Fair enough.

We did hear from someone who works PR for Wondery who was baffled at some of the negative reaction they received following the announcement at Evolutions. His take was that this Academy and the Golden Mic Awards were aimed at moving the industry forward. Well, when big companies, with deep investor pockets enter the space and drop a bomb on the industry, without including those who built the space, they have a right to be angry. Especially when these announcements are made at events that independent podcasters were attending – and helped build – before any of these larger companies even existed.

And, as Luminary found out when it launched, and this group found out this month, independent podcasters have a loud voice.

Ed Ryan is the editor of The Podcast Business Journal and can be reached at edryantheeditor@gmail.com

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