Infinite Guest, a new podcast network from American Public Media, brings together feeds of broadcast programs, existing podcasts and new shows in an effort to build a digital following for audio content.
Headed by Program Director Steve Nelson, Infinite Guest debuted Wednesday with 12 shows, six of them new. The podcasts are headlined by a mix of established pubmedia talent and outside personalities.
“We really wanted to be able to have a way to work with people who already have a great fan base, to develop their voices in a new way,” Nelson said. “So we went out and found some people we really think are talented and great and wanted to do something different.”
Three of the network’s shows are existing APM programs Wits, The Dinner Party Download and The Splendid Table, and another is MPR Classical’s Top Score, a program devoted to video game scores. An additional two are joining Infinite Guest after launching as independent podcasts: the film history podcast You Must Remember This from film critic Karina Longworth, and the law podcast Life of the Law, hosted by Nancy Mullane.
The six new shows are:
- A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment, a series of phone conversations between authors Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter;
- Big Appetites, a food program from Splendid Table co-creator Sally Swift and Pati Jinich, host of PBS’s Pati’s Mexican Table;
- Awesome Etiquette, a show on 21st-century etiquette from the Emily Post Institute;
- Home Dunk, a sports show from Wits host John Moe;
- Reasonably Sound, a show about the art of audio from Mike Rugnetta, host of PBS Digital Studios’ PBS Idea Channel; and
- Secret Skin, a show about hip-hop artists from musician Open Mike Eagle.
Infinite Guest will focus on developing digital programs rather than shows for broadcast carriage. “We know, as everyone knows, that the audience is moving towards mobile listening,” Nelson said, adding that APM views the platform as “a growing business opportunity.” He hopes to add more podcasts in the future, focusing on the topics of food, comedy and culture.
Nelson declined to discuss APM’s budget for Infinite Guest but said revenue opportunities for the network will include underwriting spots on the programs. APM will also look into grant opportunities and ways to integrate Infinite Guest with membership initiatives.
APM is the latest pubradio distributor to launch a podcast network, joining Public Radio Exchange’s Radiotopia and Public Radio International’s SoundWorks. Still on the horizon is a planned for-profit podcast network from This American Life Executive Producer Alex Blumberg.