… Apple has released iOS 14, its new operating system that will offer new recommendation and personalization features for podcast listeners. The Up Next section will now include more than just shows someone has subscribed to. It will also recommend podcast episodes that a user may like. The recommendation is based on what the person has listened to in the past. Apple also announced it has made improvements to AirPods that will make podcasts sound crisper and clearer. “By applying directional audio filters, and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience,” the company said.
… Paramount Pictures executive Jean Chi is making her move into podcasting. Chi has been hired by Spotify as Global Head of Podcast Business Affairs. She will oversee deal-making for Spotify Studios, Gimlet Media, Parcast and The Ringer. She will also lead the worldwide business affairs team. Chi most recently was EVP of Business Affairs at Paramount. She previously worked at entertainment companies including Disney/ABC, Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment.
… Audible, which is moving into podcasting, has hired Pat Shah as its new Head of Content Acquisition and Development. Variety reports the veteran of Spotify and Twitch will steer Audible’s content acquisition strategy. “From driving music strategy at Twitch to heading Spotify’s original content division, Pat has consistently pioneered customer-centric content acquisition strategies, and his deep wealth of leadership expertise will be invaluable as Audible continues to expand its best-in-class audio storytelling and audiobook portfolios,” said Rachel Ghiazza, who heads U.S. Content at Audible.
… WNYC Studios will celebrate the tenth anniversary of Freakonomics Radio, the podcast and public radio show, with a pair of live tapings this week at New York Public Radio’s Greene Space. On Wednesday night, Stephen Dubner will be joined by his “Freakonomics” co-author Steven Levitt to discuss why the best-selling authors have moved from books to podcasts. Then on Thursday night, Dubner will sit down with three leading neuroscientists to discuss how drugs like ketamine, MDMA and cannabis may provide alternative therapies for illnesses like PTSD, addiction and depression, and why they still face so much resistance. Dubner has hosted Freakonomics Radio since its inception, growing the show to be one of the biggest podcasts in the business. Levitt also just launched his first podcast, People I (Mostly) Admire, on the new Freakonomics Radio Network last month.