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(Original link: theguardian.com)
Talking points Podcasts continue to provide a lifeline to a struggling online news industry, with Digiday reporting that US site Slate now makes half of its overall revenue from the advertising on its audio shows. The company’s pod-focused strategy, including publishing excerpts from the shows online, saw the most recent run of its hit series Slow Burn – pivoting from Washington scandals to the murders of rap icons Biggie and Tupac – attract 300,000 downloads in just 24 hours.
Another huge pod success story this week is The Missing Cryptoqueen, the eight-part BBC Sounds tale of a multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency scam and the mysterious figure at its heart which reached No 1 on the iTunes chart following the release of its final episode. The Guardian spoke with its creators this week.
Picks of the week Hunted (out Tuesday)
‘By the end of the first episode, the bodycount is already rising’ ... Parker Posey stars in new podcast Hunted. Photograph: Wolf Entertainment
Parker Posey is deputy marshal Emily Barnes, the woman investigating a breakout from a maximum-security prison, in this new scripted podcast masterminded by Law & Order’s Dick Wolf. Four men have escaped, killing a guard in the process, and so begins a dangerous manhunt. One minute Barnes is briefing her team, the next she is juggling her childcare options. By the end of the first episode, the bodycount is already rising and the script is tight, allowing the fast-moving plot to grip listeners. Hannah Verdier
Have You Heard George’s Podcast?
The winner of an impressive five British Podcast awards, spoken-word performer and writer George the Poet returns for a second series of experimental, stereotype-busting, immersive audio shows. In the first episode, he considers in verse how mainly white audiences are used to mining black artists’ trauma as if it were “a fossil fuel”, before taking a look at a test case via Reaganomics, rap and blaxploitation. Music from Grandmaster Flash, Bobby Womack and “Sabrina’s Boy” help to tie it all together. Hannah J Davies
Guardian pick: Politics Weekly If you’re looking to make sense of the forthcoming election on 12 December, the Guardian’s daily podcast Today in Focus will have election coverage every day between now and the election results, as well as continuing to cover a wide range of politics-free subjects as well. Meanwhile, Politics Weekly will be giving nuanced discussion and analysis throughout with commentators from a range of political persuasions. This week, as the campaigns kick off, Guardian Political Editor Heather Stewart is joined by the deputy political editor of the Spectator, Katy Balls , the Britain editor of the New Statesman, Anoosh Chakelian , and Jon Mellon, co-director of the British Election Study . Plus, the Guardian’s Peter Walker is at the launch of the Brexit Party’s campaign.
Listener pick: Odd Ball
‘More than just a weird ball’ ... Wayne Betz with the sphere his family found. Photograph: Florida Times Union Archive
Chosen by Katherine Godfrey, Head of Audio
“Somehow word got out, there’s a weird ball in town.” Ancient aliens, Navy investigations and a Florida mansion all play a role in the story of a strange, vibrating ball that silenced a family. This is a quirky addition to the investigative genre, based on the mysterious arrival in 1974 of a metal sphere that, witnesses say, rolled around on its own. I’m new to the show but, as host Lindsay Kilbride tell us in episode one, this is about a lot more than just a ‘weird ball’. It seems to have captivated anyone that came into contact with it and, ultimately, taken over the life of the Betz family. With its shades of Stranger Things soundtrack and the media frenzy surrounding the strange ball, it feels like an X Files Monster of the Week episode....