‘Criminal’ will leave Radiotopia to join Vox Media

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Judge and Spohrer

Criminal, one of the most popular podcasts on PRX’s Radiotopia network, is leaving for Vox Media, the company announced Tuesday.

A deal to acquire Criminal Productions closed Monday, a Vox spokesperson told Current. Vox declined to disclose the financial terms for its acquisition of Criminal Productions, which was founded by former public radio journalists Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer in 2013.

In addition to Criminal, the podcast studio started This Is Love and Phoebe Reads a Mystery, which will also move to Vox. Criminal ranked 30th in audience in Edison Research’s list of top podcasts of 2020, which was based on a survey of podcast listeners. 

“After making these shows independently for the past seven years, we are delighted to join the talented journalists and podcast team at Vox Media,” Judge said in a Vox press release. “This new chapter gives us a perfect home to grow Criminal, launch new shows, and bring even more stories to our listeners.” 

In a tweet, Judge added that no longer being independent allows the founders to “spend less time running a business and more time doing what we love: interviewing people, writing, and editing stories.”

Criminal Productions’ podcast advertising sales will transition from Radiotopia to Vox Media starting in January.

“With deep gratitude and admiration for Radiotopia and PRX, it’s time for us to move into a new chapter,” the founders said in a PRX email newsletter. “Radiotopia is by far the best place to launch and grow your independent show, and we are grateful to have worked alongside so many inspiring, passionate producers. When we joined in 2015 we had only just begun with ‘Criminal,’ and Radiotopia helped us build the show into what it is today. We encourage listeners everywhere to continue supporting Radiotopia — there’s nothing else like it.”

With the move to Vox Media Podcast Network, Criminal Productions will more than double its staff and expand its namesake podcast into a weekly show. 

“VMPN will explore opportunities to expand the franchises beyond podcasting, potentially including subscription products, further investment in live events, and intellectual property development,” according to the Vox release.

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