Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Attention audio producers:  If you are in the Washington, DC area WAMU is doing something you should know about.   

On Monday (6/11) WAMU announced the creation of The Pod Shop [link], a local podcast development program like no other we’ve ever seen.

The Pod Shop is a three-month intensive workshop that includes creative guidance, $2,500 in funding, and pilot development assistance. As many as five producers or production teams will be chosen by WAMU to participate.

Andi McDaniel
The purpose of The Pod Shop is to generate ideas for new content according to Andi McDaniel, WAMU’s Senior Director of Content and News.  McDaniel said in a press release:

“We are inspired by the wealth of creative and diverse talent across the Washington, DC region. As a leader in audio storytelling, [WAMU] wants to help support and connect future podcasters -- and The Pod Shop is designed to do that.”

WAMU wants to have a bigger presence in the podcast space. They have lagged behind other public media shops such as WNYC Studios, WBUR, KCRW and American Public Media (APM) in publishing hit shows.


First, go to The Pod Shop page on the WAMU website [link] for more information and info about what WAMU is looking for. 

Also, check out the application procedure here.
The deadline to apply is Friday, July 6th.  Only people age 18 and older and who live in the District, Maryland and Virginia can apply.

After the applications have been received, an internal review committee will consider them. They will choose up to five applicants be a part of The Pod Shop process.  Applicants may be individuals or a small team of people.

Applicants that are chosen to be participants will be contacted by WAMU around July 25th. The first meeting of participants will be on August 7th. The group will continue to meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30pm until 9:00pm at WAMU, 4400 Massachusett Avenue NW in DC. The final meeting will be November 6th.

Each participating individual or team will receive $2,500 in funding and will develop a pilot podcast. Pilots developed during the process will be distributed in a single podcast by WAMU. Selections from the podcasts will air on WAMU-FM as part of a special program on a date to be determined.

There’s no final contest or ultimate winner. At the end of the three months, The Pod Shop participants will have the chance to pitch their projects to WAMU for further development. If WAMU passes on a pitch, the producer(s) are free to “shop” them elsewhere.

KEN SAYS: One provision in The Pod Shop FAQs astounded us. Quoting from the guidelines, it says: You retain the right to your idea.

In this day-and-age when content is king and coveted, most organizations want a piece of your original good idea.  We did consulting for a major public radio content producer a few years ago. This organization solicited new program pitches from independent producers.  In order to submit an idea, applicants were asked to sign a lengthy agreement that included this CYA nugget [paraphrasing]:

The applicant agrees that someone else may have thought of the same idea independent of the applicant.

In other words, your idea may not be your idea and they can take it if they want to.


In yesterday’s post we were talking about how KOPB in Portland punches above its weight. 

If you combine KOPB’s broadcast audience and streaming audio audience, they reached over 400,000 estimated weekly listeners in May 2018. 

Portland is Nielsen’s 23rd largest metro market with a 12+ population over 2.3 million.

WAMU’s “other metro” is Baltimore. Because of the close proximity of the two cities, WAMU – 88.5 FM – puts a city-grade signal into a large potion of the Baltimore metro. The 27% drop in estimated weekly listeners by WYPR in May 2018 compared to May 2017, is the largest we have seen by any NPR News/Talk station in a PPM market.

In Houston, Educational Media Foundation’s (EMF) Air1 repeater lost a big chunk of listeners. 

Since it costs about $1.98 a day to operate a satellite-fed automated EMF station [we are joking], EMF can still show a profit.

We often wondered why more noncom stations don’t try 24/7 a “public radio talk” format. WHAD is part of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Ideas Network.   

The Ideas stations don’t carry NPR news magazines but they do carry a nice mix of Wisconsin talk and interview programs along with proven national favorites such as 1A, On Point, Wait, Wait… and This American Life.  Check out their weekly schedule here.

WHAD always does well in Milwaukee and the Ideas flagship, WHA in Madison, is often the top noncom station in that market. 

Look at it this way, Ideas is much, much cheaper to operate than a NPR News station.  Plus, it has the same appeal as NPR News programming.  Plus, with lots of local shows, there are more local underwriting “avails” and fewer network-required funding credits.


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