PodScanning: ‘Marketplace’ teams with business site Quartz on podcast

Print More

In our regular PodScanning column, we look at the latest podcasts and podcasting news in public media. Send tips to tyler@current.org.

Public radio’s Marketplace and Quartz, a global business site run by Atlantic Media, announced June 12 that they’re collaborating on a new podcast. The biweekly podcast, Actuality, is hosted by Marketplace reporter Sabri Ben-Achour and Quartz reporter Tim Fernholz.

“Some of the best things that happen in a newsroom are the conversations between journalists before and after the story gets published,” the podcast announcement said. “An audio product is so much more visceral and immediate: the best way to recreate the moment when someone leans over from the next desk and says, ‘get a load of this story.’”

Each episode offers discussions about a look at a specific story related to the global economy with the show’s hosts and with reporters and experts on the topic.

“Our journalists are pretty enthusiastic consumers of podcasts,” said Kevin Delaney, Quartz editor-in-chief. The staff told him “We should do a podcast,” he said. But the digital news outlet “didn’t feel confident going for that on our own.”

In the meantime, Quartz was building a relationship with American Public Media’s Marketplace, with its reporters appearing on the show for interviews. Delaney and Deborah Clark, v.p. and executive producer of Marketplace, started having “regular conversation on the stories we were working on” last summer and discussing ways to work together, he said. Around October of last year they decided, “a podcast seemed like a natural idea.”

“I’m a big believer in collaboration,” Clark said. “The most successful collaboration involves some chemistry. We really like each other. There’s no nonsense territorial stuff.”

The outlets are a good match to start a podcast because they have a “mutual affinity” for how they cover business news, Clark said. They both look for interesting angles on the news rather than straight coverage, she said.

“There’s an argument to be made that in the digital space we could be competitors,” said Clark. “We could just as easily be competitive than collaborative. But that is just not how it’s playing out.”

Quartz and Marketplace produced two pilot episodes in April and May before launching the podcast last week. They divide work “roughly evenly,” Delaney said. Each outlet provides a host, Marketplace provides production and studio space, and Quartz books external guests and handles some visual design.

They are receiving no outside funding for the podcast but look to share revenue from sponsorships.

“Conventional wisdom was that podcasting was not a source of revenue,” Delaney said. But “it’s clear you can do great journalism [on podcasts],” he added. “It’s also become clearer that there’s an opportunity to make money with podcasting.”

Marketplace is promoting the podcast on its radio shows, which have 12 million weekly listeners across Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, Marketplace Weekend and Marketplace Tech. Quartz, which has been advertising the podcast in its daily email newsletter, has grown to 10 million monthly readers since launching in 2012.

“We’re looking to build up a listenership pretty quickly,” Delaney said.

A week after launch, Clark doesn’t know how many times the podcast has been downloaded. “I’m waiting for a respectable period of time before I look at downloads,” Clark said.

The two outlets will meet in six months to evaluate the show’s progress based on “objective measurements,” Clark said. “I think this whole podcasting thing allows you to be nimble.”

Issues Tank: WFUV, the New York City music station, hopes to reach younger listeners with its new Issues Tank podcast. The monthly podcast was founded by Jeff Coltin and Kris Venezia, both recent college graduates who worked at the station during their undergraduate years, and explores “the issues, questions, and even the daily annoyances affecting young adults nationwide,” according to the station.

The first episode deals with employment.

“To reach young people today, you have to do more than just radio,” said George Bodarky, WFUV news director, in a press release. “Our hope is this podcast will allow WFUV to engage with a new and more diverse audience, and the issues presented in the program help to spark discussion and affect positive change.”

More podcasting news:

“So don’t call podcasting a bubble or a bust. Instead, it is that rarest thing in the technology industry: a slow, steady and unrelentingly persistent digital tortoise that could eventually — but who really knows? — slay the analog behemoths in its path,” Farhad Manjoo said in the New York Times.

Radiotopia adds The Memory Place and Song Exploder.

Here Be Monsters joins KCRW in Los Angeles.

President Barack Obama will be interviewed on WTF with Marc Maron.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is making a podcast modeled on Serial.

Like Instagram for audio.”