NEW YORK – NBC News is giving an ambitious boost to the podcast market, with audio series on conspiracy theories, British royalty, and the Title IX legacy in school athletics planned for the coming months.
The extra episodes of two popular recent podcasts, “Southlake” and the spin-off “Dateline,” “The Thing About Pam,” will also be released in early March.
NBC News was ranked 11th on Edison Research’s list of major podcast networks by reach, the only company known primarily as a television news station among the company’s top 18. NBC News said the audience for its podcasts in 2021 has grown 19% more than the previous year.
“One of our top priorities remains the generation of unique and distinctive properties and dissemination across a variety of platforms,” said NBC News President Noah Oppenheim. “Podcasts are a new format to play, but it’s rooted in the very fundamentals that drive all of our work.”
The NBC podcast unit started with two people in 2018 and now has more than a dozen people dedicated to the form. It was a key moment when one of the chain’s most popular personalities, MSNBC presenter Rachel Maddow, presented the podcast “Bag Man” about former Vice President Spiro Agnew, which is now becoming a movie.
Maddow is currently on hiatus from his daily MSNBC program, in part to work on another podcast. Neither she nor Oppenheim would reveal what it is. (Maddow is expected to appear on MSNBC during coverage of major events).
“Southlake” is an example of how NBC used its experience as a news division to create a podcast. The series on Texas community debates about teaching racial issues in public schools began when one of the chain’s regional journalists, Mike Hixenbaugh, pointed out what was going on there and produced a short film about it. He teamed up with correspondent Antonia Hylton to turn it into a podcast.
The more reporters NBC has incorporated into the communities, the greater the chance of finding such stories, Oppenheim said.
“People like research,” said Madeleine Haeringer, senior vice president of NBC News in charge of the podcast unit. “They like to be in a story as it unfolds.”
A well-received series, “American Radical,” featured MSNBC presenter Ayman Mohyeldin returning to his hometown to report on a woman who had become politically radicalized.
Not all TV stories fit well with the podcast format, as they need considerable time and reports to develop characters and include enough twists to keep listeners interested. NBC had people with experience in the format of its unit, Haeringer said.
NBC News’ success in podcasting is driven primarily by “NBC’s Dateline,” which has cleverly positioned itself in a brand of its own with real crime projects, said James Cridland, editor of the commercial publication Podnews. On Edison Research’s list of the top 50. last year’s podcasts, “NBC Dateline” and “The Rachel Maddow Show” are the two NBC entries.
“Much of NBC’s podcast production is overheated television shows,” Cridland said. But with research showing the new audience attracted to audio formats, it’s a strategic move to aggressively enter the podcast business, he said.
Podcasts are also an incubator for ideas that could be translated elsewhere, he said. In addition to the upcoming “Bag Man” movie, NBC is turning the story of “The Thing About Pam” into an entertainment series starring Renee Zellweger.
As a new format, podcasts are very open to companies of all kinds. Spotify is a big player in the industry, as are other big audio-based companies like iHeartRadio and SXM Media. There are those who focus primarily on podcasts, such as Wondery and Kast Media, corporate giants like Disney and ViacomCBS, and the best known in other media, such as NPR and The New York Times.
Oppenheim called it a “nascent” business and declined to discuss what podcasting meant to NBC News’s results.
Reporter Brandy Zadrozny is behind “Truthers”, the upcoming podcast on conspiracy theories on the Internet, and American saber-wielding Olympic fencer Ibtijah Muhammad reports on the history of Title IX and the idea of equal sports opportunities for both sexes.
“Dateline NBC” reporter Keith Morrison is also working on a new podcast, while MSNBC’s Chris Hayes podcast, “Why is This Happening,” will have episodes on money, entertainment and friendship, he told NBC.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
NBC News, known for television, makes an aggressive push for podcasting
Source link NBC News, known for television, makes an aggressive push for podcasting