News Bites 220

....Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio is producing another podcast as part of its alliance with iHeartMedia. The newest entry is called The R Spot. Set to launch early next year, the weekly series will feature TV personality and life coach Iyanla VanzantDeadline says the podcast will examine, explore, dissect and investigate relationship issues, before and after a crisis with topics covering all kinds of relationships, not only those of the romantic nature. Vanzant just wrapped up production of her TV show “Iyanla: Fix My Life” on the OWN network after 10 seasons. 

... timed to coincide with International Overdose Awareness Day. Episodes 2 to 12 are titled Last Day Revisited: The Opioid Crisis and feature new updates from previous guests and fans of the show. Podcaster Jessica Cordova Kramer and author Stephanie Wittels Wachs bonded after both women lost their brothers to opioid overdoses. It led to the creation of Last Day, and their company Lemonada Media. They note opioids are killing more people than ever. 

In 2020, overdose deaths in the U.S. spiked nearly 30% to a record high of 93,331 – the sharpest annual increase in 30 years. 

...Osiris Media has made the focus of its podcasts music, but for the first time it is releasing a podcast that is a companion to an album. It will release the podcast Highway Butterfly: The Stories of Neal Casal on Sept. 10. It drops ahead of the release of a new 41-song tribute album “Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal” set for release on Nov. 12. The podcast includes interviews with Billy Strings, Dave Schools, and co-producer Jim Scott, among others. Each contributor to the album will be interviewed about the song they chose and their relationship with Neal. Episodes will be released throughout the fall. All proceeds from sales and streams of the record will benefit The Neal Casal Music Foundation, which provides musical instruments and lessons to students in New Jersey and New York.

...ESPN has signed sports anchor Elle Duncan to a new multiyear contract. Duncan not only co-anchors the 6pm ET edition of “SportsCenter,” but she is also the co-host of the weekly podcast First Take, Her Take alongside Kimberley A. Martin and Charly Arnolt. Duncan joined ESPN in 2016. “For over five years, ESPN has given me the opportunity and space to be myself. And in my experience that is worth holding on to,” she said.

 ...The cast of the TV adaptation of the NBC News podcast The Thing About Pam continues to grow. Actresses Judy Greer and Katy Mixon have joined the cast of the limited-run series. . It stars Renee Zellweger and Josh Duhamel. Zellweger’s Big Picture Co. will also produce the series along with Blumhouse Television and NBC News Studios. The 2019 podcast tells the story of the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria, who will be played by Mixon. Faria’s husband was convicted of the crime, but later twists to the story emerged and his conviction was overturned. Deadline reports Greer will play Leah Askey, the former Lincoln County prosecutor who tried Faria twice for his wife’s murder.

...Although 36% of U.S. Latinos aged 18 and older now listen to podcasts monthly, Edison Research has been digging into the segment that does not yet listen. It will release a report Sept. 16 examining Hispanic listeners that do not consume podcasts. The Latino Podcast (non)Listener Report will be presented in a webinar scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 16 at 2pm ET. Register HERE.