Could you describe the ruckus, sir: this week on Fresh Powder

The lede

It feels almost impossible anymore to imagine a world in which we don’t have podcasts to listen to. I’m listening to one right now; that is, both as I write this and later as you read this. But it wasn’t all that long ago when options were limited and Pandora with commercials was your best option for background noise. In the last decade, the podcasting industry has blossomed from a series of booms. For example, the true crime genre was born out of the Serial boom, and the daily news genre (The Daily launched in 2017), like political podcasts, can be tied to the 2016 election. Now the question is what comes next. Vulture: “The 2016 presidential elections kicked into high gear about a year after Serial’s myth-making debut season, and the news moment offered a wide spectrum of media companies an opportunity to try and catch the emergent podcast wave. The producer Jody Avirgan, then with the stats-driven FiveThirtyEight, had described the situation pretty succinctly at the time: ‘There’s this perfect storm of people who think that podcasting is an easy money thing, and there’s big news cycle event coming, and so they just put the two things together. I’m sure if this was Brazil and the World Cup was coming up, you’d see a lot of World Cup podcasts.’ Such were the conditions that led to the flourishing of the election podcast subgenre. But while the 2016 presidential election cycle was consequential to podcasting, the impact going the other way around is less clear. Has podcasting become big enough to shape election politics?”

. . . Crooked Media, a political podcast juggernaut, is planning to expand its empire with shows on sports, race and religion. (The Hollywood Reporter)

. . . Is The New York Times about to buy Serial? (The Wall Street Journal)


Ben Smith, the BuzzFeed News editor now writing for NYT: “The Times so dominates the news business that it has absorbed many of the people who once threatened it: The former top editors of Gawker, Recode, and Quartz are all at The Times, as are many of the reporters who first made Politico a must-read in Washington. I spent my whole career competing against The Times, so coming to work here feels a bit like giving in. And I worry that the success of The Times is crowding out the competition.” (Big numbers: NYT has more digital subscribers than The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and 250 local Gannett papers combined and employs 1,700 journalists of a national industry total between 20,000 and 38,000.)


It’s election season. Have you been catfished? “Andrew Walz calls himself a ‘proven business leader’ and a ‘passionate advocate for students.’ Walz, a Republican from Rhode Island, is running for Congress with the tagline, ‘Let’s make change in Washington together,’ or so his Twitter account claimed. But there’s just one problem: Walz does not exist.” A high school student created a fake 2020 candidate. Twitter verified it. (Tough look for Twitter; tougher look for Michael Bloomberg’s spending strategy.)


“It is nostalgic to think about it, until you start playing.” BBC: How to win Monopoly in the shortest possible time. (I don’t know, the longer games sound more fun.)

This also happened last week: Jill Biden sent those stage-rushing vegans packing.