Sensationalism, Social Listening and Audio Fiction: This Week in Podcasting

This week, insights about podcasting as a “sensational" and social medium. Also - good news for lovers of audio fiction!



Don’t worry - no one’s advocating for sensationalist podcasts in the exploitive, opinion-over-fact interpretation of the term. The Atlantic published an article this week that refers to sensationalism as something that triggers our senses to “make us feel things” while learning stuff. Their thesis is that podcasting allows for a special relationship between podcast makers and their audiences that positions them uniquely well for informing and affecting a democratic population.


  • "Technologically-enhanced journalism” was supposed to make it easier for people to understand the facts, but “fake news”, online trolls and conspiracy theories seem to be winning the attention of the masses
  • Nothing is as effective as good storytelling when you’re trying to inform and mobilize the public
  • Podcasting is the new talk radio - but without the limitations of a broadcast schedule, and with potential for more diverse voices to be heard

Check out The Atlantic's post here:

Podcasting Is the New Talk Radio


Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0

Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0

Turns out that podcasting isn’t just about putting on headphones, immersing yourself in sound and shutting out the rest of the world. This blog from The Audiosear.cher shines a light on people who are looking for ways to share the joys of listening with others. They might not be gathering around the ol' radio any more, but that doesn’t stop people from listening to and debating the merits of their favourite podcasts with other passionate listeners.


  • S-Town Hall" was held at a local bar in Chicago, where fans could debate and discuss the world’s most popular podcast, over themed drinks that celebrated the story and characters
  • “Podlucks” involve people gathering in someone’s apartment, relaxing, and listening to/discussing lesser-known podcasts after sharing a meal
  • The New York Times Podcast Club uses Facebook to help bring fans together to share their love of podcasts

Read the blog from

Audio Alive: New Forms of Social Listening




I haven’t been drawn to radio dramas as a format, but I got sucked into the storytelling of Gimlet’s dramatic podcast, Homecoming, from the first moment I heard it. It wasn’t just the great writing and editing - it was also the compelling voices of acting heavyweights like Catherine Keener, David Schwimmer and Oscar Isaac that made me wish the episodes were twice as long.

The good news is, there’s more Homecoming and more great additions to the team. And for writing fans (and writers) - Audible is offering $5 million (!) for emerging playwrights to create new works of audio fiction.


  • Spike Jonze, Chris Gethard, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat and Mercedes Ruehl are joining Season 2 of Gimlet’s Homecoming
  • Audible’s Advisory Board (including Tom Stoppard and Annette Bening, among other notables) will choose about a dozen emerging playwrights to start
  • The commissioned one-or two-person plays will be available from Audible beginning late this year


Exclusive: Michael Cera, Spike Jonze, more stars joining season 2 of Homecoming podcast

Audible Creates $5 Million Fund for Emerging Playwrights


That’s it for this week. If you have any comments, please let me know. I’d love to know if this is helpful to you, or if you’d like to see other kinds of podcast info roundups in the future!