Meghan Markle interrupts podcast to mourn the Queen, but it’s still a huge hit

We have a lot to do, so I’ll be brief. Today: Meghan Markle takes a break from her hit podcast during the time of royal mourning, Brookings breaks down the political podcast ecosystem and some exciting announcements about our upcoming Hot Pod Summit in Los Angeles.

Hot Pod Summit LA will feature guests from Spotify, Crooked Media, Team Coco, and more.

The Hot Pod Summit in LA is less than two months away, and we’ve put together a killer lineup. I’m really excited to see who we have so far, and I hope you will be too! Summit headliners include:

  • Pod Save America host and founder of Crooked Media Tommy Vietor
  • The head of Spotify’s chat studios, Julie McNamara
  • Head of Television and Film Development at Pushkin Industries, Meghna Rao
  • A trio of Team Coco, whose president Adam Sachs and Inside Conan hosts jessy Gaskell and Mike Sweeney.
  • Vulture podcast review and hot capsule founder Nick Quah

I look forward to digging into the evolving relationship between Hollywood and the podcasting industry. The summit will take place on November 3 at KCRW, and we will announce more information on the lineup as it becomes available. The invitation-only event is hosted in conjunction with work x work and the LA appendix of On Air Fest, which runs November 3-5, and is co-presented by KCRW, Audible and Patreon. You can learn more about the On Air LA Annex lineup and get tickets here.

Invitations to the summit will be sent out this week and we plan to run a ticket raffle for additional seats next week – stay tuned for details!

Meghan Markle suspends her podcast after the death of Queen Elizabeth

In observance of Queen Elizabeth II’s official mourning period, which will end on September 20, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is suspending her podcast. Archetypes, which debuted at number one on Spotify’s podcast chart three weeks ago, is perhaps Spotify’s biggest talk show to date. It still sits at number two on Spotify’s podcast chart behind The Joe Rogan Experience.

If the podcast’s current chart is any indication, a two-week hiatus shouldn’t do much harm to its listenership. If anything, there might be an increase in listening on replay. Entertainment next to Royal has picked up steam in recent days, with Netflix seeing an 800% increase in viewership for The crown.

Tabloid coverage of Archetypes also only raises its profile. Reports (true or not) that the palace takes umbrage at Markle’s recounting of events and that King Charles is asking Prince Harry to cancel the show altogether will attract listeners hoping for candid anecdotes about life. royal (which, to be fair, Markle dutifully provided). We’ll have to see if Queen Elizabeth’s death will be banned.

Twitter expands new podcast feature to more users

As I reported in August, Twitter is rolling out a new podcast playlist feature to its Spaces tab. Initially shown to only a handful of testers around the world, it is now available to Twitter Blue followers who use iOS.

The feature is at the top of the Spaces page, and it’s quite different from other major podcast platforms. Instead of a library from which listeners can choose shows, Twitter creates individualized playlists from all RSS feeds and its own Spaces conversations. It’s a new approach to discovery, and Twitter already has a factor in its favour: lots and lots of data about what users like.

Twitter Blue users, who pay $4.99 a month for perks like un-tweeting and custom interfaces, get access to experimental features. This should expand the testing pool and increase feedback on the new product, which will help Twitter polish the final version. If you’re a Twitter Blue user and have any thoughts on the new feature, let me know what you think!

Brookings data reveals conservatives dominate political podcasts

Brookings has rolled out a new data tracker for popular political podcasts, and so far the curators have it. Of the podcasts included (which are limited to those that were in Apple’s top 100 in November 2020 or April 2021 or recommended in the “You might like” section for any of these shows), conservative-leaning shows in currently produce three times as many episodes as liberal-leaning shows.

On the one hand, this contrasts quite sharply with the findings of Edison and Sounds Profitable that podcasters distort liberalism. But these liberal creators aren’t necessarily making political shows — they’re just weaving their sensibility into other genres. Meanwhile, there is a long tradition of right-wing talk radio, which the left has never been able to emulate on a large scale. It makes sense that conservative political podcasts thrive, especially by hosts too extreme for mainstream media, like Steve Bannon.

It should be noted that the total number of episodes is not automatically correlated with viewing, which the data does not track. But the charts have repeatedly revealed that there are just more popular right-wing podcasts than liberal ones.

The tracker’s weekly analysis also reveals the most used words among shows. Unsurprisingly, liberal hosts love to talk about Trump, the Justices and Mar-a-Lago, while conservative shows have discussed Biden, America and the Queen. And if there’s a particular word or topic you want to track yourself, you can create your own chart using the data.

I appreciate that Brookings takes podcasting seriously for its influence on political discourse. This is a very useful new tool and an in-depth look at the sometimes murky world of political podcasts.

Spend a relaxing week. I will be back next Tuesday.

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