This Week in Podcasts is a weekly roundup of the goings-on in podcasting, from highlights to pitfalls to updates and more. Have updates or crowdfunding campaigns you want listed? Check here for directions on how to get in touch.
The Heart returns with new hosts and renewed energy
“Lesbian Separatism Is Inevitable”
Runtime: 26 minutes
Transcript not available
Award-winning Radiotopia and Mermaid Palace podcast The Heart has returned after a long hiatus with two new hosts, Phoebe Unter and Nicole Kelly, formerly of audio zine bitchface. Told in the second person, the episode details how these two new producers met, and what lead them to The Heart. In the podcast’s iconic style, the episode feels like classic creative nonfiction, giving a fiction feel to the true story of how they met.
VALENCE releases first episode, Scoring Magic completes its first season
Our team at Hug House Productions have released the first episode of our fiction podcast, VALENCE, on January 11th, 2020. The second episode will debut this upcoming Saturday, January 25th, 2020.
In the city of New Candler, magic is scarce by design. A tech mogul wants to keep it that way. And a magic user wants freedom. Welcome to New Candler, cultural epicenter of the United States.
Scoring Magic, the making-of documentary behind the scenes of VALENCE, has completed its first season. The podcast will continue to update each Saturday opposite VALENCE release weeks, but with shorter episodes.
The Adventure Zone‘s “Balance” arc being developed as an animated series for NBC’s Peacock
The McElroys, in partnership with producer Adam Higgs, are developing The Adventure Zone‘s “Balance” arc as an animated TV series for NBC’s upcoming online platform Peacock. The full news update can be found here.
iHeartMedia’s Podcast Awards occurred
Podcasts In Color is curating POC podcast playlists on Spotify
Berry Syk, creator of Podcasts In Color, is curating podcasts and podcast episodes by creators of color using Spotify playlists. You can follow individual playlists, like this playlist of audio dramas by people of color, or find the full profile for Podcasts In Color here.
Newton’s Dark Room returns for a second season with new music, physical media
Newton’s Dark Room, which has transitioned from podcast to network, will return with a new season of Newton’s Dark Room Presents featuring original music each episode.
For the entirety of 2020, each episode of Newton’s Dark Room Presents will feature new original music. This music will also be released as an EP on Spotify, iTunes, and other major streaming platforms. New episodes will be released on the last Monday of each month. This change in format is following a major rebranding for Newton’s Dark Room, which has recently made the transition from show to podcast network.
The music will be produced by Newton’s Dark Room creator Talon Stradley under the moniker A Mighty Rabbit. Each EP will feature songs from the episode with added production, vocals, lyrics, and more.
In addition to major streaming services, the EP’s will be released on cassette featuring the music, podcast episode, and extra bonus sounds. Listeners can get these cassettes each month by becoming a $5 supporter on Patreon. Other cheaper tiers include DIY zines, linocuts, and buttons. “I like tactile things, physical souvenirs,” Talon said. “The new Patreon tiers were designed with that in mind. Every tier gets you goodies in the mail.”
Parcast’s new Secret Societies launches in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico
Parcast’s new podcast about “the mysterious world of assassin sects, debaucherous high society clubs, and powerful political cabals” has launched simultaneously in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico.
They’ve been around for thousands of years…orchestrating some of history’s most controversial events. And if not for their radical actions, you may never have even known they existed. Every Thursday, take a journey through hidden passageways and become a member of Parcast’s diabolical series, Secret Societies. Each society is explored in 2 episodes—exposing the people and context responsible for its founding, and analyzing the psychology behind their beliefs.
The first episodes will discuss Yale’s Skull and Bones. Upcoming episodes will discuss The Carbonari, The Black Hand, and, yes, The Illuminati.
Accession launches its second season
Art podcast Accession has launched its second season, “Homeward.” The season is structured parallel to the host, T. H. Ponders’s road trip, “to explore the ways that we connect with art while also telling the story of [their] road trip around the country this summer in search of art to help [them] understand how where we live affects who we are.”
The enchanting beauty of the art museum. The secret stories only a personal guide knows. All in the palm of your hand. Welcome to Accession.
Fictional investigative podcast What the [Bleep] Happened to Breezy Blue? launches
A new fictional investigative podcast about a 1960s stand-up comic, Breezy Blue, has launched its six-part mini-series.
In the early 1960s, bawdy comic Breezy Blue awakened America’s dormant sex drive as the first woman to utter “boobie” on regional television. [. . .] On the brink of international stardom, Breezy vanished without a trace in 1965. Was she murdered? Co-opted by a cult? Abducted by Bob Newhart?
In the six-part podcast What the [Bleep] Happened to Breezy Blue?, radio journalist Liz Ziegler travels America to discover what happened to one of the Sexual Revolution’s most scandalous comediennes. Interviews with sock puppets, Hollywood gossip columnists, wackadoodle comedy historians, obsessive Breezy fans, Instagram gator rasslers, righteous demagogues, and members of the Norwegian mafia lead listeners ever closer to solving the mystery. It’s Liz’s first investigation, and by all accounts, her best one yet.
Catch-ups are podcasts that aren’t new, but ones I caught up with during the week.
Specifically, I listened to Archive 81‘s third season.
You should, however, listen from episode 1 of season 1.
An All-New, All Original Musical! Dante, a college student in NYC, becomes an RA in order to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Childish Gambino. While he hopes this will be the next step toward becoming a famous rapper, his delusions of grandeur are shattered when he realizes his dweebish co-workers are hellbent on making his life miserable.
You can read my First Impressions review of Childish here.
BLACK FRIDAY is a strange phenomenon that turns white people into black people. America freaks out. Written, produced, & directed by Tycho Newman.
The Godshead Incidental
An audio drama about a reluctantly intrepid advice columnist and the letter she didn’t answer in Godshead, a city of 130,000 people, one million pigeons, and countless gods that may or may not exist. Featuring a theatrical thief, an agoraphobic landlord, and the God of Grammar.
Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services crowdfunding its third season
Fiction podcast Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services is crowdfunding its third season via Seed & Spark. The campaign has a goal of $7,000 USD and will be running until February 15th, 2020:
Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services is an ongoing urban fantasy podcast written by Lisette Alvarez and produced by Stormfire Productions.
The story centers around Kalila Stormfire, a young woman and business owner working out of her basement studio apartment after a controversial fallout with her coven. While she attempts to get established as friendly neighborhood witch, she begins to hear rumors of someone dissuading clients from seeking her services.
[. . .] For two seasons, Kalila Stormfire has managed complex clients in her magick business and her own shadows. Now her community must face both the light and darkness that dwells in the heart of the city itself. Will Brushland survive this liminal state? Support the finale season to find out.
This campaign is currently about 35% funded at time of publication.
Whispering crowdfunding its first season
Upcoming fiction podcast Whispering is crowdfunding its first season via IndieGogo. The campaign has a flexible goal of $2,000 USD and will be running until January 31st, 2020:
Whispering is a story I’ve held safely in my mind for a long time. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was there until I sat down to write one day! As the words poured out of me, I realized that this story was simply waiting for me to find the right medium to tell it. And that medium, lo and behold, is audio.
The story unfolded before my eyes in the form of a very detailed outline. After that came the writing and the editing. And after that, the rest of the creative team! Now, many tears and stressful months later, I would love to present Whispering: the tale of Kore’s ascent to her throne as the Queen of the Underworld. Join me and the rest of the creative team for laughs and tears as you witness the Greek pantheon through a new perspective!
This campaign is currently about 50% funded at time of publication.
Arden crowdfunding its second season
Fiction podcast Arden is crowdfunding its second season via IndieGogo. The campaign has a flexible goal of $6,000 USD and will be running until February 19th, 2020:
Season One of Arden debuted in the fall of 2018 to rave reviews in The A.V. Club, Discover Pods, and elsewhere. It was featured by Apple Podcasts, Buzzfeed, Spotify, and Radio Public. That season was also a labor of love on the part of creators Emily VanDerWerff, Christopher Dole, and Sara Ghaleb, the culmination of two years of incredibly hard (and often volunteer) work from our incredible cast and crew.
Season Two of Arden is going to be bigger, more ambitious and (we hope!) even better. We’re putting everything we learned making Season One into action to create the greatest audio fiction podcast season of all time. Or just something really special. Either/or.
This campaign is currently about 20% funded at time of publication.