Summary: Hard News, Dirty Politics & Civilized Propaganda: KoPoint makes podcasts about culture, politics, technology, and zombies.
In which Andy Bowers reveals the history of Slate podcasting, how he grew a content empire, and the true origin of Slate's anti-Panda agenda. The New Oxford American Dictionary deemed 'podcast' the word of the year in 2005. During the early, hyped days of podcasting and 'web 2.0', tech companies raised money at crazy valuations, and were poised to break semi-famous hosts in to the mainstream, finally replacing a generation of cheeseball radio DJ's. And then nothing happened. A medium ahead of it's time, early podcasting fizzled as quickly as it popped. Consumers were uninspired and confused, and traditional news organizations couldn't successfully shoehorn old advertising models on to niche and deeply-vertical content. Podcasting was largely abandoned by many of it's early evangelists and common wisdom stated that video and YouTube had won. After a career covering politics for NPR, Andy Bowers moved to public radio's cultural cousin Slate in 2003, and began work podcasting in 2005. Instead of getting lost in the hype, Bowers focused on creating shows that simply reflected Slate's sparky editorial vibe. An opinion-driven news magazine, Slate's contributors follow the same ethical standards of traditional news organizations, but are also encouraged to form and fight for opinions. The initial impetus behind Slate podcasts was to capture this opinion-creation process on tape, and record this behind-the-scenes editorial chatter in a live discussion environment. The format is simple: commentators from cultural verticals - Sports, Culture, and Politics - gather weekly in a round-table environment to discuss topical news. Slate hosts know the audience well, and programs often emphasize nuanced discussion over shocking clickbait. Success is derived from a balance of consistency, integrated live-read advertising, and informed banter. Tight focus on smart conversation has helped Slate hosts develop intimate relationships with large audiences. During a recent live episode of the Political Gabfest in New York City fan and subscriber Stephen Colbert remarked on the personal bond between listeners and content, stating, "I'm so excited to be the fourth person at this little table." Andy Bowers' strategy has worked. Slate programs grew slowly and consistently during podcasting's post-hype years. Over the past decade, podcasting has matured organically. Like Slate, personalities like Marc Maron, Jesse Thorn, Kevin Smith, and Leo Laporte all leverage the the medium's inherent intimacy to talk with large audiences. And Slate has become a cultural proving ground for ambitious personalities, professional athletes, politicos, and fellow podcasters. In conversation, Andy is as cool and consistent as his content strategy. He's somehow managed to grow an innovative product by avoiding the hype and hyperbole of technology. Listen, as we discuss his formula for success. Thanks for listening. Follow.
"Comic books are about presenting the illusion of change," once said Stan 'The Man' Lee, "without ever actually changing a a thing." ...Or maybe he didn't. The origin story of attribution for this portentous quote has been as ambiguous as Wolverine's. And that's kind of the point. The illusion of perpetual change without ever actually changing reveals the contemporary state of the comic book industry, and of the institution that is Marvel Comics. In his extensive history of the company, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story author Sean Howe reveals the story Marvel never could: of it's own origin and the commercial weight of ideas. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is about the mechanics of myth-making. Packed with McFarlane-like detail, Howe reveals the joyous hyperbole of Marvel's super-sausage-making process. While the human characters are sometimes as mundane as the Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods where they lived, the story of Marvel is as exciting as the comics themselves. The House of Ideas has always been home to scrappy innovation. From the early Golden Age pulp days of Timely Comics, through the creation of historic character archetypes like the Fantastic Four in the 1960's, Lee's Marvel was a boisterous, break-neck bullpen that helped birth contemporary myth. And, somewhere along the way, emerged the Marvel Comics story, a fascinating tale about a cast-off company comprised of forgotten geniuses, creative malcontents, and business bamboozlers. By the 1970s, in an attempt to either escape or sell the characters he helped create, Lee escaped from New York City's publishing industry to the film business in Los Angeles. In his wake Lee left a hole in Marvel filled by business innovation and a creative renaissance. In a sage-like move that would make today's Apple proud, Marvel embraced the burgeoning Direct Market, an innovative approach to fostering the independent retail stores across the country. The Direct Market allowed retailers to obtain non-returnable product at deeply discounted price. The deep discounts allowed comic book retail stores - and Marvel itself - to focus on more specific, target markets. Of target marketing attempts fell flat and lead to silly pulp stores. While silly and cynical products failed, the Direct Market helped foster the burgeoning fandom industry, and lead to a creative boom by some of Marvel's writers and artists. Creators, some famous, many now long-forgotten, were left to invent wildly imaginative stories, and to adapt characters from a previous generation. Creative muscle flexed on cast-offs like Wolverine and Daredevil lead to a commercial explosion that helped define the industry through the 80's and 90's. Marvel's true identity today is as a company trapped somewhere between blockbusters movies and the old retail Direct Market. As comic book store across the country shutter, the intellectual property of the characters and stories has never been more valuable. The Direct Market threatens to choke digital evolution, and young fans are just that: fans, not consumers, of the core product. Last week I sat down in the studio with Sean to discuss where the Marvel story began, and where it's going.
Your Passport to Great Conversation: An Interview with App.Net Founder Dalton Caldwell In which I discuss social platforms and technology culture with entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell. Originally from El Paso, Texas, Dalton cut his tech teeth by building streaming networking imeem. At imeem Dalton experienced great success, and tremendous setbacks. At it's peak, imeem had close to 30 million users. After years of legal battles, the company folded in to Myspace. Dalton was discouraged, but learned how to adapt in Silicone Valley. In addition to being a passionate evangelist for transparent business, Dalton is the founder of App.Net, a developer and community-focused social platform. After observing Twitter's shift from a developer model to an advertising model, Dalton launched App.Net as a for-pay platform. Today, App.Net supports a vibrant community, and more closely resembles a social app ecosystem than a Twitter clone. In this interview, recorded initially as a Google+ Hangout video, Dalton and I discuss his evolution as a technologist and business owner, and dive deeply in to his feelings about the current state of the social web. Learn more about App.Net. Find more great shows like this on KoPoint. Thanks for listening.
Ready Check: Inside World of Warcraft Raiding with Gaming Researcher Ladan Cockshut Every night, massive teams of battle-worn experts gather, organize, and battle through intense and complex challenges. Often they die. Sometimes they win. World of Warcraft is nothing if not massive and complex. While the world at large has a perception of video games as simplistic pastimes, raiders define an intense pursuit of excellence. Yes, Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games can be fun, undoubtedly. But as experienced players know, the play style, challenge, and commitment to excellence of gamers closely resembles the values of competitive and collaborative sports. Even the world 'casual' in World of Warcraft simply refers to those not entirely devoted to pursuing end-game content. Raiding refers to act of completing difficult content only available to players who have completed an arduous and time-consuming leveling challenge. Leveling a character typically takes seven through nine days (24 hour cycles) of in-game play. Once a character reaches a level plateau, a series of far more difficult challenges known as Dungeons are unlocked. In an elaborate dance, these dungeons can require up to 40 players to coordinate performance for several-hours. Raiding typically occurs a few nights per week and the most hardcore raiding guilds will often treat raiding like a professional job. Researcher Ladan Cockshut of Durham University studies these guilds and is attempting to quantify the act of Raiding. In this episode, Ladan introduces the basic mechanics of massive games, and explains why raiders matter. About Ladan: Raiding Research The Raid Observer Podcast More on MMOs: A Conversation on Games and MMOs How Stuff Works: The Story of MMOs Race to World First Thanks for listening. Audio Enclosure
RSS is dead! Long live RSS! This interview was recorded the week after Google announced the death of beloved feed parsing app, Google Reader. The headlines regarding Reader's demise have been predictably and wonderfully hyperbolic. Elena Bulygina and Anton Tolchanov, two of the three co-founders of The Old Reader, help us make sense of a post-Google Reader world. Props to @ChazFrench for his help in understanding the true power of the old Google reader. Thanks for listening. Audio Enclosure
KoPoint: Interview with Maciej Ceglowski of Pinboard.in Maciej Ceglowski is the founder of Pinboard.in, an "anti-social" bookmarking site. As the social web evolves, some trends mature past the initial commodified service value to become strong cottage industries. A for-pay service inspired by the original del.icio.us, Pinboard.in takes a holistic approach to personal data tracking. The service integrates smoothly with the contemporary web of indie apps, and excels at truly frictionless clickstream cacheing. Dan talks with Caciej about the vision behind a truly personal, counter-social service. Find more interesting podcasts onKoPoint. Thanks for listening.
The Murdoc Jones Show, EP 6 - Carl Blake Invents Pigs Our first by phone guest, Carl Blake. Giddy up kids, as we head to the farm. Carl runs Rustik Rooster Farms and is re-inventing the pig. That’s right – he reinvented a PIG. In an effort to rid the world of confinement and genetically modified awfulness – Carl is a backwoods, redneck computer genius turned heritage pig farmer. Learn How to break your neck in 3 places and almost die – only to rehab yourself with tomato farming, Also learn how to: survive an attack from a Russian Boar named Atlas, how the man has modified your meat, that hydroponics is not just for weed, and a special note the for the Ladies… How to attract famous pig farmers. Carl is a fantastic dude, and we’re not the only ones who think so. He is appearing on the Colbert Report (link coming when the episode airs) and The New York Times thinks he’s pretty cool as well. Find more shows like this on KoPoint. Thanks for listening.
Win the Room, EP 6 - Brand Anthropology With Mary van de Wiel In which host Kelly Hadous of Win the Room dives deep in to organic branding with Mary van de Wiel of Zing Your Brand. Find more great shows on KoPoint. Thanks for listening.
Win the Room, EP 5 - What If With Miggs Burroughs Kelly: Miggs Burroughs is a known and well-loved multi-artist, he has talent in many mediums. Miggs is an artist based in Westport CT - my home town! We discuss over a glass of wine about how he wins his room, and all things artsy. I delve into the value of his provocative book, a collection of “What If” a series of rhetorical questions that stirs up the mind, and asks us to imagine endless possibilities. This podcast is for anyone who does or wants to think outside of the box. Find more shows like this on KoPoint. Thanks for listening.
Beer Diplomacy, EP 119 - Jesus & Tyrion Lannister Recorded on March 18, 2013 at KoPoint Studios in NYC This week, Stuart welcomes New York Times best selling author & comedian Baratunde Thurston and host of Tell Your Friends! & comedian Liam McEneaney. We discuss what's going on in our lives, the virtues of SoundCloud, gerrymandering, the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, why Republicans don't win elections, and more! Thanks, as always, to Dan Patterson for engineering and to SumAll for hosting us in their offices. Topics can be found here. Find more great shows like this on KoPoint Thanks for listening.
Recorded on March 11, 2013 at KoPoint Studios in NYC The first foursome at KoPoint Studios, featuring Ty Francis, Alison Leiby, host Stuart Tracte, & Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling! Topics include the caloric value of a mouse click, the Bloomberg soda ban, the North Korean nuclear threat, gun ownership & the appropriateness of comedy. We spent time hearing some great anecdotes from Jackie and just had an all-around good time. Thanks to Dan Patterson & Sum All for engineering & hosting the show, respectively. This week's topics can be found here. Thanks for listening.
Ken Segall Keeps it Simple | Win the Room Kelly Hadous Recorded live at KoPoint Ken Segall Keeps it Simple: Ken shares how win your room with simplicity. Bio From KenSegall.com: My story is a simple one. I'm a writer who worked at ad agencies with high standards, then met a client with absurdly high standards: Steve Jobs. From 'Think Different' to iMac and beyond, I found that Steve's love of simplicity was at the core of Apple's every success... Kelly: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work closely with Steve Jobs or name a product so brilliantly that it’s etched forever in the pages of history. Well I was, and that’s why I had to bring my dear friend Ken Segall on WTR radio. Ken Segall worked closely with Steve Jobs at Apple. Ken is that guy we can thank for coming up with the name iMac, and the rest my friends is naming history. That cute little “i” became the foundation for naming all the other Apple products that followed. We also chat about marketing ideas, and Ken says just “be yourself” I love it! How many times in a day do we worry and agonize about how we’re perceived, but if we just get out of our own way, then magic starts to happen! Ken talks to moi at KoPoint, about his behind closed meetings with Steve Jobs and shares some awesome insights on his marketing strategies in Insanely Simple. Finally, Scoopertino, Ken’s blog about all things sardonic in the unreal apple world is a hoot to say the least, and it always causes quite a stir not only for apple lovers, but the entire produce section. I just adore Ken and I know you will too! Share your comments, they’re always appreciated. Kelly and WTR team! Thanks for listening.
Beer Diplomacy, EP 117 - Imagine Your Job, Without Lube Recorded on March 4, 2013 at KoPoint Studios in NYC. This week, Stuart welcomes comedian Dan Soder and comedian/head writer of Totally Biased w/ W. Kamau Bell, Kevin Avery. We put on our radio voices and discuss a bit about comedy and when you know you've found your comedic voice, horse meat, actually going to work, and hollering at women. Keep an eye out for Dan Soder's upcoming Comedy Central special and be sure to watch the return of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on May 9th. As always, thanks to Dan Patterson & SumAll for engineering and hosting, respectively. This weeks topics can be found at http://bit.ly/BD117Topics Find more great shows like this on KoPoint. Thanks for listening.
Parenting | Managing the Gray CC Chapman My parenting philosophy is pretty straight forward. Be an honest person and treat other people as you want to be treated. That is how I live my life and how I want my children too. But, I also believe that you should stand behind whatever you say. In today's world where anyone can hide behind their keyboard and screen, it feels to me that the Internet is making too many people soft. If they get challenged in the littlest ways they back down, run away or try to pretend that it never happened. THAT is what is discussed on this episode of Managing the Gray. A bit of a rant, laced with encouragement to not be soft and to stand up for what you believe in. Find more great shows like this on KoPoint. Thanks for listening.
Who'd Believe It? | Digital Flotsam PW Fenton You are hearing this story for the first time. No one in my family has heard this story before either. I don’t know why. I just never told it. Most of the music is by The Beau Hunks, those wonderful purveyors of glorious music from the past. And there is a bit of music by Randy Newman from the film “Avalon“. And of course the theme music comes from my favorite band “3 Blind Mice“. Find more great shows like this on KoPoint. Thanks for listening.