Podcast Playlist: Industry Executives Team to Launch Podcast Academy, Awards Show

Podcast Headphones Generic - Getty - H 2019
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The Golden Mics will be held in early 2021.

A group of podcasting executives have teamed up to establish the Podcast Academy as they look to create an awards show to honor the industry's best work. 

The member-driven, nonprofit Podcast Academy will consist of independent podcasters and industry processionals. The founding team is made of up executives from across some of the largest and most influential companies in the podcast industry. They will work to establish the Golden Mics, a peer-based awards show that will recognized achievements in podcasting. The first Golden Mics ceremony is expected to be held in early 2021. The group has yet to announce whether that ceremony will be televised or streamed. 

"Film, television, music — all other major forms of art have long ago established a member-based Academy with the goal of fostering and celebrating creative excellence," Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez, a founding member of the Podcast Academy, said in a statement. "It's time for podcasts to establish their own. I am delighted to be joined by a diverse group of people who really care about excellence, from across the country, representing all kinds of podcasts, from public radio to independents and networks."

Kerri Hoffman, CEO of PRX and another founding member of the academy, added, "I welcome the opportunity to celebrate the excellence throughout podcasting — at the mic and the amazing talent behind the scenes."

In addition to Lopez, the Podcast Academy founding team includes Tenderfoot TV co-founder and president Donald Albright, Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn, NPR executive Anya Grundmann, PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman, Spotify head of studios Courtney Holt, Sony vp marketing Christy Mirabal, consultant Rekha Murthy, UTA head of emerging platforms Oren Rosenbaum, Criminal co-creator and executive producer Lauren Spohrer and Spoke media content chief Alia Tavakolian. 

The academy will be overseen by a board of governors. Members will be sorted into peer groups that will vote on their respective categories for the Golden Mics, a system similar to that of the Oscars and Emmys.  

The Podcast Academy also plans to offer monthly webinars and networking events and says it will publish white papers on industry best practices. It will also offer a directory that will allow members to connect with each other. 

"As an independent content creator and podcast producer myself, I'm honored to join my peers from all areas of our industry on the board of governors of the Podcast Academy," said Tenderfoot TV's Albright. "This is an imperative move in podcasting, allowing us to recognize those who continue to elevate all sides of the industry."

In other podcasting news: 

— Wondery's 2020 slate will include original series Even the Rich, a look at some of the wealthiest families in the world, and Bunga Bunga, a deep dive on former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The company will also launch true crime series The Dating Game Killer and Guru. Meanwhile, it is bringing back Laura Beil-hosted Dr. Death for a second season tied to the launch of the adaptation for NBCUniversal's Peacock.

— IHeartMedia is expanding its Spanish-language podcast offering with the slate of new shows hosted and co-produced by Enrique Santos. It has also inked a multiyear development, co-production and distribution deal with digital audio network reVolver, which will be focused on creating shows for the Hispanic community. As part of the deal, the existing reVolver shows, including El Show de Piolín, will join the iHeartPodcast Network. 

— Cadence13 is launching a new sports podcast franchise that, in its first season, will cover the Houston Astros cheating scandal. The podcast company has teamed up with Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter and producers Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons, co-creators of Slate's Slow Burn, on the season.