KQED acquires ‘Snap Judgment’ and ‘Spooked’

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KQED in San Francisco acquired the podcast and public radio program Snap Judgment and its spin-off podcast Spooked.

Snap Judgment, launched in 2010 and hosted by Glynn Washington, blends dramatic storytelling with music. The weekly radio broadcast airs on more than 460 NPR stations, including 10 in the top U.S. markets. As a podcast, the show averages approximately 1.5 million downloads each month, according to a news release.

Snap Judgment has a diverse team of creative producers whose unique storytelling has grown large and loyal broadcast and podcast audiences over more than a decade,” said KQED CEO Michael Isip in a news release. “Adding their two established productions and an exceptional talent like Glynn Washington brings KQED new opportunities to grow our audiences and new possibilities to develop a pipeline of new podcast productions.”

Spooked, which tells supernatural stories and launched in 2017 through the subscription podcast network Luminary, has released eight seasons of episodes. Through a partnership with PRX, Oakland-based Snap Judgment Studios began offering Spooked for free, on-demand listening this spring.

“If Snap Judgment is about empathy, Spooked storytelling is about wonder,” Washington said in the news release. “We are proud that millions of listeners go on audio adventures with us every week, and are thrilled that our partnership with KQED allows us to bring audiences into someone else’s shoes.”

As part of the agreement, all productions of Snap Judgment Studios become part of Snap Studios LLC, a subsidiary of KQED. Snap Judgment and Spooked will be produced independently by Snap Studios’ creative team. Both programs will continue to be distributed by PRX to public radio and for free across all major podcast platforms.

“We’re so proud that PRX has been a part of Snap Judgment’s journey since the beginning. Snap Judgment and Spooked represent the creative ambition, audio inspiration and innovative storytelling that captures the spirit of public media,” said PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman. “As we congratulate Glynn and the team on this exciting new chapter, we’re also pleased to continue deepening our enriching partnership with KQED.”

Snap Judgment was born from public media, and our partnership with KQED means that Snap storytelling will stay in public media — where it belongs,” said Washington.

With the acquisition, KQED expands its portfolio of radio programs and podcasts, which includes shows focused on California and the Bay Area, such as Forum, The California Report and Bay Curious.

“KQED has a reputation both locally and nationally as an innovator and leader in public media,” said CCO Holly Kernan in the release. “We couldn’t imagine a more well-suited partner than the Snap Judgment Studios team to help us become one of the names audiences think about when they think of podcasts – one that is locally rooted and nationally relevant.”

KQED and Snap Judgment Studios partnered last year on the Snap Judgment Live stage show at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. And Washington has hosted in-person events at KQED’s newly refurbished headquarters. This fall, the two partners plan to culminate their “Summer of Spooked” partnership with an Oct. 13 event at the historic Fox Theater in Oakland.

The newsletter Hot Pod, which first reported on the acquisition, confirmed that no layoffs will occur as a result of the acquisition. Washington and Mark Ristich will continue to work as co-EPs for Snap Judgment Studios and KQED will provide organizational support. Hot Pod reported that the studio plans to launch a podcast featuring stories from an African perspective hosted by Lupita Nyong’o later this year.

Correction: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized Washington’s description of the forthcoming podcast from Lupita Nyong’o. It is a narrative-driven podcast, not a game show.

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