…As more radio stations create podcasts, there’s more honors for the best shows. The Alabama Broadcasters Association has announced it will add one podcast award to its annual Abby Awards in 2020. “It will be open to both radio and television stations,” the trade group says, explaining, “Because podcasting is a totally separate platform/medium that allows for a level playing field – regardless of station resources – we believe this makes sense.” The ABA says to qualify a show must originate as a podcast, although it will allow the content to later be broadcast.

…Google has released an interim update to Google Podcasts ahead of a bigger redesign said to be in the works to the bottom navigation bar on the app. According to 9to5google, a Material Theme account switcher has been enabled to let users quickly switch accounts. The report notes it’s a “small addition” since most users don’t likely use the app in that way. 9to5google first reported last month that it had picked up early signs of a larger redesign of the bottom bar. The company itself hasn’t said if or when a redesign will be rolled out publicly. 

…The sports podcast battlefield may be about to get a bit more crowded as Spotify is reportedly aiming to push deeper into the genre. Bloomberg reports Spotify is developing a daily sports show that would be similar to daily news recap shows, giving all the top highlights from sports in about ten minutes. Spotify had already been signaling it wanted to do more with sports. Last year it recruited former Facebook head of sports media partnerships Amy Hudson to take over as head of the company’s effort to build a lineup of sports podcasts. That’s already resulted in one new show. The Ringer produces a show exclusively for Spotify. The Ringer’s Hottest Take will be hosted by Ringer founder Bill Simmons and is published several times a week. Spotify’s sports efforts face tough competition from several existing sports podcast producers including ESPN, Barstool Sports and LockedOn, among others. 

…Jody Avirgan has exited as host and producer of ESPN’s 30 For 30 podcast. “Up next: a few projects I'm developing, a chance to work with people I admire, and who knows,” he announced in a Twitter post. Avirgan previously was the host and producer of FiveThirtyEight’s at ESPN and worked at New York Public Radio’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” as a producer. ESPN is now searching for his successor.

…PodcastOne says three more of its shows have crossed the 100-episode threshold. The latest to hit that mark are House of Kim featuring Bravo TV personality Kim Zolciak, Make Speidi Famous Again with reality TV couple Spencer and Heidi Pratt, and Cold Case Files, the true crime show that PodcastOne produces in a partnership with A&E. “PodcastOne’s great strength has always been picking the hits and future hits, while building our network and creating financial success for our partners,” founder Norm Pattiz said in the announcement. 

… Love And Matchmaking, the matchmaking service, has announced its annual Golden Pear Awards honoring Hollywood's most noteworthy couplings and pop culture love trends of 2019. This year it added a podcast category. The winner is Modern Love, the show that’s an extension of the New York Times column that’s produced in a collaboration with WBUR Boston (90.9). Three other shows were nominated: Sex With Emily, Savage Lovecast, and Project Love. Read all winners highlighting Hollywood's most memorable relationships HERE.