Zack Reneau-Wedeen leaves Google Podcasts on a high

We look back on the world's #3 podcast app. Amazon to build a Clubhouse-a-like. Rabia Chaudry partners with Kast Media
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  • The founder of Google Podcasts, Zack Reneau-Wedeen, has left Google. He’s now working on cryptocurrency for investment platform Robinhood - though we understand he hadn’t been working on podcasts within the company for some time. Gabe Bender, Google Podcasts’ product lead, left in April. So who’s driving Google Podcasts today? Steve McLendon, a former co-founder of 60dB (which Google bought in 2017), describes himself on Twitter as “working on podcast stuff at Google”. The team is also working on a tech refresh of Feedburner.

  • What did Zack achieve? The Google Podcasts Android app hit 100m downloads in April; and in July, Buzzsprout reported that it was the world’s third largest podcast app, hitting 3% of all podcast plays. Podcasts are also highlighted within the main Google search; and a Google Podcasts link works on every single Android phone since the player is built into the always-present Google app, and the same link also works on iOS and desktop as well. Here’s where to get badges.

  • The mass-market Android phone from Google, the Pixel 5a, launched last week, appears to have Google Podcasts as a suggested preinstalled app, according to this unboxing video - it was also preinstalled in the flagship Pixel 5 when that phone launched last year. The Android 12 setup also appears to suggest the app as standard. Google sold 7.2m Pixel phones in 2019, up more than 50% year-on-year, but Samsung sold 295m: and Apple sold a similar number. Pre-installed apps are mostly chosen by phone manufacturers and cellular operators.

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"King of the World" releases today! — Rifelion's King of the World: a 7-part narrative about a Pakistani American Muslim teen who comes of age post-9/11 & 20 years later, tries to figure out what it means to belong as a Muslim in America.

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Nighty Night with Rabia ChaudryRabia Chaudry has partnered with Kast Media to release Nighty Night, an anthology series featuring bedtime stories to keep you awake at night. The first two episodes launch next week: one original story, and one from Edgar Allen Poe.

Everybody KnowsSchwartz Media has launched Everybody Knows, an investigative series exploring the rise and fall of the MeToo movement in Australia, and investigating serious allegations in the Australian music industry. It’s hosted by Ruby Jones.

ResistanceGimlet’s Resistance returns for a second season, starting with a live show recorded at the Tribeca Festival earlier this summer, honoring lesser-known Civil Rights heroes. The podcast, hosted by Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr., brings a fresh perspective from those on the frontlines of the ongoing fight for racial justice.

Up and VanishedUp and Vanished returns with a new case, following the disappearance of 20-year-old Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, a young indigenous woman who went missing from the Blackfeet Nation Indian Reservation in 2017. The third season aims to sheds light on the growing number of cases involving communities of color that are too often overlooked, and the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women across the United States.

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