5 Top Takeaways From the Winter Podcast Upfront

Wednesday's L.A. gathering featured news from Stitcher, NPR and more

Several podcast networks announced new programming during Wednesday's upfront in L.A. Getty Images

TV upfront presentations don’t start until next month, but the podcast industry got an early start on upfront season yesterday in L.A. Buyers and advertisers gathered for the Winter Podcast Upfront, which featured a look at new and upcoming podcasts from some of the industry’s biggest players.

The event, hosted by Stitcher and other podcast networks, comes weeks ahead of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s official NewFronts event in New York. The IAB also recently expanded West with its first NewFronts West, which was held in October.

The percentage of Americans above the age of 12 who say they have listened to a podcast in the past month has continued to grow over the years, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2008, the first year it was measured by Pew, 9 percent said they listened. In 2017, that number jumped to 24 percent.

Here are some of the top takeaways from the presenting networks at yesterday’s Winter Podcast Upfront:

Get ready for more laughs

Networks will start offering more lighthearted content in the coming months.

WNYC will offer a podcast version of Michelle Buteau’s live Brooklyn show with Jordan Carlos, #Adulting. Buteau, of course, has already appeared on WNYC’s 2 Dope Queens as a featured comic. The network will also release a new series from Chris Garcia, a stand-up comedian who recounts the story of his father’s death.

Stitcher will also release a new podcast called Just Between Us, hosted by New York Times best-selling authors Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn. Based on their YouTube series that features the besties talking about a range of topics, from mental health to dealing with your family, the podcast will debut (with the same name) on March 13.

And there will be more from Team Coco: A new Conan O’Brien-centric show, called Inside Conan: An Important Hollywood Podcast, will be released on March 1, in partnership with Earwolf.

Recode is joining the podcast world

We’ll soon get a new technology podcast from Vox Media’s Recode in partnership with Stitcher, though the project is yet to be named. Vox Media’s Today, Explained host Sean Rameswaram was on stage to announce the news on the week of the podcast’s one-year anniversary.

The true crime trend will continue

Described as a true crime, rock ‘n’ roll podcast, Disgraceland takes deep dives into celebrities who have made controversial headlines in the past. It returns for a third season to iHeartMedia for 10 episodes on March 14, beginning with a two-part episode on Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.

“[Fans] can expect more of the same highly entertaining stories from the seedy underbelly of rock and roll past and present, but with a whole new cast of characters: Kurt and Courtney, Ike and Tina, Johnny Cash and Amy Winehouse to name a few,” said host and creator Jake Brennan in a statement. “More death, self-destruction, scandal, amazing music and pre-set mellotron loops.”

The network will also release a new series in partnership with Brennan, called The 27 Club, spotlighting celebrities who died at age 27.

NPR is bringing back several favorites

Several of NPR’s top podcasts are returning for a new season, including Invisibilia, Embedded and Rough Translation. A new season of ESPN’s popular series, 30 for 30, will also be coming soon.

Make room from more celebrity voices

Bill Nye will be on a new Stitcher podcast, to be released in May, where he and co-host Corey Powell will answer all your science questions.

Actor Justin Long will also get his own podcast, called Getting Along With Justin Long, from Wondery.

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.