Podcast News Bites 220

...Spotify’s The Joe Rogan Experience has once again been knocked out of its top spot on the app’s ranking of top shows. The company’s ranker shows The Always Sunny Podcast has overtaken Rogan. The show hosted by Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenney just launched a 15th seasonrewatching every episode of the TV series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” starting with its launch in 2005 and allowing them to revive their memories of creating the show. It is the second time in two months that Rogan was knocked from the top. In October the gaming podcast called Banter hit No. 1 - but that show has since slid back to No. 10.

... The Athletic has reportedly pulled the plug on some new podcasts as the subscription sports website looks to grow its business -- or secure a buyer. “When everything is paywalled, you’re limiting the audience you can reach,” co-founder Alex Mather told Bloomberg. “For us to reach 5 million or 10 million subscribers, we’re going to have to reach more sports fans, give them a taste of our product, find ways to bring them into our universe and engage them and hopefully get them to become a paid subscriber.” The Athletic has also reportedly laid off some staff and scrapped the creation of a documentary unit.

...Universal Pictures has created a special podcast to promote its new film, “House of Gucci.” The podcast features interviews and behind the scenes access to one of the year’s most anticipated films. Hosted by film critic Rhianna Dhillon and journalist Teo van den Broeke, the House of Gucci: Interview Special podcast includes interviews with Director Ridley Scott, Costume Designer Janty Yates, and actors Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Camille Cottin, and Salma Hayek. The podcast is produced by Little Dot Studios for Universal Pictures International and is being distributed worldwide via Acast.

...The deadline for submitting entries to the 2022 Ambie Awards is quickly approaching. The Podcast Academy is accepting submissions for consideration through Friday, December 3. To help any podcasters still unsure about the process of submitting a podcast, the Academy is hosting a webinar on Monday, Nov. 29 with LW Studios founder/CEO Juleyka Lantigua from The Podcasting Seriously Awards fund to talk about how producers can get support to help cover the $175 per entry fee required on submissions. Register for the webinar HERE.

...One year after it launched, Vurbl has exited beta. The company that has built a library of spoken word content led by more than one million podcasts as well as audiobooks, old-time radio recordings, and historical speeches, says it now has more than 41 million audio files available to users. “We are the sixth largest podcast directory in the world,” it says. With its exit from beta, Vurbl says it will be focusing more on increasing its advertising and monetization opportunities for creators. It tells publishers that “means you might notice a few more ads, including on your station.” It is also offering a revenue-sharing program for stations that have not yet reached a thousand monthly listeners.

...Acast has signed on as a partner to the inaugural Belgian Podcast Awards. The awards have been created to highlight the year’s best podcasts. According to research by the Reuters Institute, 26% of Belgians listen to podcasts every month and Acast Managing Director-International Megan Davies says it sees “great potential” in the region. The ceremony takes place Thursday (Nov. 25) and will be live streamed across YouTube and Facebook. But Acast says its partnership with the Belgian Podcast Awards will continue until June 2022. “It’s important for Acast to support podcasters of all shapes and sizes, in all our markets around the world — and Belgium is no exception,” said Davies.

...Duke University’s first ever Human Rights Audio Documentary Award has been presented to the podcast Leonard: Political Prisoner. The series is a dramatic retelling of the story of Native American activist Leonard Peltier who was sentenced in 1977 to consecutive life terms for killing two FBI agents. Then in 2000, a Freedom of Information Act disclosure proved he had been framed. But Peltier remains in prison. His point of view is told through the voice of actor Peter Coyote, which is woven together historical research and oral histories. Creator Man Bites Dog Films says Leonard: Political Prisoner has had more than 20,000 downloads to date. Duke’s Human Rights Audio Documentary Award seeks to support outstanding documentary artists exploring human rights and social justice and expand the audio holdings in the archive for long-term preservation and access. It is sponsored by Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.