Podcast app

Public radio group acquires Pocket Casts podcast app – TechCrunch

NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago and This American Life announced today that they have acquired Pocket castsa podcast app created by Australian developer Shifty Jelly.

It might seem like a lot of owners for a single app, but the idea is to run Pocket Casts as a joint venture. And while former iHeartRadio executive Owen Grover becomes CEO, NPR says the existing Pocket Casts team will remain in place, with founders Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic serving in senior roles at the company.

All four acquirers have already released their own apps, but the purchase of Pocket Casts should give them another way to get more involved in distribution and reach listeners directly. (This seems to be a growing concern among all public radio organizations – in 2016 public radio market PRX created a for-profit company called RadioPublic to focus on mobile apps.)

At the same time, NPR says Pocket Casts will continue to feature podcasts from a wide variety of producers.

Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio (which includes WNYC Studios), said in the announcement:

Public radio has been at the forefront of audio innovation and podcasting, attracting new listeners, experimenting with new forms and topics, fostering engagement and community, and cultivating new talent in the industry. And yet, despite this remarkable renaissance, the listening experience – particularly around discovery – has remained virtually unchanged. Pocket Casts will allow us to forge a closer relationship with our listeners, provide audiences with more ways to enjoy audio programming, and create a more personalized discovery experience that helps listeners find their next must-watch podcast.