Hot Pod Summit is back

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We’ve got a bunch of news in podcast world, but first, an announcement: Hot Pod Summit is BACK, baby! We have some really great stuff cooking that I can’t wait to share. 

I’m excited to announce that Hot Pod Summit is returning to Brooklyn on February 28th, 2024, as part of On Air Fest for a day of in-depth talks, intimate conversations, and industry networking. The invite-only summit is our way of kicking off the year in podcasting and talking about what’s on everyone’s minds — I’m eager to see you all, catch up, and hear what everyone’s thinking.

We’ll have more to share about programming in the new year. For now, let us know if you’re interested in attending right here. We’ll be sending out our first invitations early next year.

The summit will kick off On Air Fest Brooklyn and is hosted in conjunction with our friends at work x work. Both events will be held at the Wythe Hotel, with On Air Fest running from February 28th through March 1st. (It’s a leap year!)

On Air Fest has a fantastic lineup planned, including a live story from Twenty Thousand Hertz creator Dallas Taylor, The Allusionist with Helen Zaltzman, Design Matters Live with Debbie Millman, Talkhouse Live, Sing for Science, and appearances from a bunch of other familiar faces. The festival is also planning sonic art installations, networking moments, and parties — you can see the full lineup and buy tickets here.

There will be more details on both Hot Pod Summit and On Air Fest soon. Looking forward to seeing you all next year!

SiriusXM is simplifying its stock structure as part of its company makeover

More changes are coming to SiriusXM as company leaders attempt to drag it into the future. SiriusXM is merging with its largest shareholder, Liberty Media’s SiriusXM tracking stock group, to form a new public company with one class of stock and no majority shareholder.

Wall Street appears to approve, with the stock up about 4 percent on the news. “We view the conclusion as constructive to SIRI due to benefits from higher liquidity, lower complexity and potentially future index inclusion,” Wells Fargo analyst Steve Cahall wrote in a note. There is not much happening in a way that directly impacts consumers, but the move hopefully makes it easier for investors by giving SiriusXM a normal, straightforward structure versus the weirdo setup it has now.

It appears to be another attempt by the company to modernize. Last month, SiriusXM previewed a revamped, consolidated app that looks and acts much more like other streaming apps on the market. Having hemorrhaged subscribers this past year, the pressure is on for the company to attract younger, paying customers.

Spotify cuts ad and distribution deal with Warner Bros. Discovery

Good news is hard to come by at Spotify right now, but Megaphone just got a big new client. The podcast host cut a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, which includes TV brands like CNN and HBO that have produced popular podcasts in recent years like All There Is with Anderson Cooper and The Official Game of Thrones Podcast: House of the Dragon.

WBD will also use Spotify Audience Network as one of its ad sales partners. The deal includes shows from the WB part of the WBD portfolio, including Turner Classic Movies’ The Plot Thickens and WBD Sports’ The Steam Room. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, this announcement comes shortly after WBD cut a deal with Acast to host and monetize shows from the brands formerly of Discovery, like Food Network, Travel Channel, and HGTV.

Layoffs at TWiT, buyouts at KCRW

The industry’s tough year isn’t over yet. Podnews reports that This Week in Tech (TWiT), one of the earliest podcast networks, announced that it had laid off longtime hosts Jason Howell and Ant Pruitt and editor Victor Bognot. TWiT founder and host Leo Laporte said the network has suffered from a downturn in advertising and had an ominous message for listeners: “Radio got about 100 years, podcasting got a decade. That’s about it.”

Meanwhile, NPR member station KCRW in Santa Monica is facing a $3 million shortfall, according to the Los Angeles Times, and is attempting to stave off layoffs with voluntary buyouts. Staffers have until December 18th to decide whether to take the deal.

As we approach the end of this bleak year for podcasting, I would be shocked if this were the last of the layoffs.

I’ll be back Thursday for Insiders with an interview with Laporte looking at how we got here and what comes next.

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