NewsBites2

… Outgoing Invisibilia co-host Alix Speigel has announced via a Twitter post that she is joining the New York Times to “help with the long form audio.” Speigel had been with NPR’s Invisibilia for seven years, but NPR announced last month both Spiegel and co-host Hanna Rosin were leaving the show next winter. Back at the New York Times, The Daily Associate Producer Sayre Quevedo also used Twitter to announce he was leaving the daily news podcast. Quevedo said he is relocating to Los Angeles for a new job but didn’t reveal where that would be. Quevedo began his life in audio as a reporter with Youth Radio in Oakland, CA at the age of 15 in 2008.

…TikTok star Addison Rae is launching a podcast with her mother, Sheri Nicole. The podcast is called Mama Knows Best and is set to debut in late July on Spotify. The Parcast-produced show is described as an “authentic slice” of the relationship between the 19-year-old and her mom, using that conversation as a jumping off point to discuss topics like relationships, friends and family life. Rae is the second most-followed account on TikTok, with more than 50 million followers. She is best known for her dance and lip-sync videos.

… Fresh off its acquisition of PodcastOne, Los Angeles-based LiveXLive has announced it has reworked the company’s finances, which will result in a $17.5 million improvement in the Company’s balance sheet. LiveXLive says it has signed binding agreements with an unspecified number of investors, including one that it describes as a “substantial” and existing institutional shareholder, for the purchase and sale of a combined of $7.5 million of LiveXLive’s stock at a price of $4.14 per share. LiveXLive primarily intends to use the proceeds of the debt-for-equity swap for repayment of its outstanding debt, and to a lesser extent toward running the company and other corporate purposes. In a separate debt-for-equity maneuver, LiveXLive entered into an agreement with an undisclosed “major music partner” that was issued 2,415,459 shares of stock to settle an outstanding debt totaling $10 million. “These combined offerings dramatically improve our liquidity position, book value and strengthen our current balance sheet,” CEO Robert Ellin said in a statement. Earlier this month, LiveXLive closed an $18.1 million all-stock deal to buy PodcastOne.

The Global News Podcast remains the BBC's most popular with audiences approaching one million downloads per week around the globe. That nugget was included in the BBC’s latest update about the size of its news audience. More than half of its users are from digital, the report said, with the British brand reaching 49.5 million people in the U.S. during 2019 with only India delivering more overseas users. “We are without question one of Britain’s strongest and best-known brands, synonymous with quality and accuracy worldwide,” said BBC Director-General Tony Hall. The announcement comes just weeks after the BBC said it was cutting 520 jobs and scaling back news programming, including the end of The World This Week podcast.

Blubrry says it has stepped up the security features on its new service geared toward businesses to create podcasts intended for internal distribution. It says the encryption-at-rest service gives users the assurance that their podcast episodes cannot be redistributed, even on rooted and compromised devices. Users will be able to decide on the level of security and encryption, which Blurry says gives them control over their company IP when distributed to employees. “Some private podcasting apps imply security, our Private Internal Podcasting has multiple layers of failsafe security to protect your audio and video on both web and mobile devices,” CEO Todd Cochrane said.

… Journalist and podcaster Michael Harriot has signed with APA to represent him for film and television projects, Deadline reports. Harriot has hosted The Black One Podcast since 2013. He is a senior writer at the Black news site The Root and has two upcoming books in a reported seven-figure deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

…As far as guests go, former President Barack Obama is a pretty good get. He also doesn’t do a lot of media. But we think the host of his next podcast stop had a surefire lock on booking him. The Michelle Obama Podcast will feature a conversation with the former First Couple when the podcast launches next week. The pair will talk about how they have kept busy since leaving the White House in January 2017 and during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The podcast is a production of Higher Ground and Spotify. The Michelle Obama Podcast is now set to debut July 29. Among the other guests in the first season will be Dr. Sharon Malone MD, actor Craig Robinson, former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, late night TV host and fellow podcaster Conan O’Brien, and journalist Michele Norris.