The Podcast Academy220

The idea of requiring a recommendation letter to join The Podcast Academy was simple – make sure those applying to join the new industry group are really part of the business. But those good intentions flooded the inboxes of some podcast executives with requests. Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane, for instance, said that he got more than 150 requests. To address that, The Podcast Academy is revising its rules. Rather than submitting two recommendation letters, board chair Rob Greenlee announced in a Twitter post over the weekend that applicants will now only need to provide either a name of someone who is already a member to vouch for them – or the name and email of two podcast industry peers.

The Podcast Academy last week began signing up podcasters to the newly created, not-for-profit industry group, whose mission is to foster education and idea sharing, as well as celebrate the best of what the medium has to offer during an annual awards show. Unlike many industry groups that work to enlist memberships from companies, The Podcast Academy aims to bring individual podcasters onboard. It will do that by offering a discounted $50 annual membership fee through Sept. 30, when the annual rate will be increased to $100.

“There are two main focuses,” said Greenlee, who is also VP of Content and Partnerships at Libsyn, during a recent webinar. “That is education — sharing of ideas, doing webinars, getting involved in conferences and events — and then the awards to reward excellence in podcasting.”

Seventeen companies, including most of the biggest players in podcasting, have formed The Podcast Academy’s initial board of governors, with many contributing seed funding to help the organization get off the ground. The startup funding has allowed The Podcast Academy to hire two part-time employees — Executive Director Michele Cobb and Account Manager JoAnna Laskas, who previously worked with the audiobook industry.