Podcast Playlist: The Ringer to Chart HQ Trivia's Rise and Fall in New Podcast

Courtesy of HQ
The HQ Trivia app in 2017

Meanwhile, some of iHeartRadio's podcasts are becoming books and 'This American Life' host Ira Glass will be honored as an audio vanguard.

The rise and fall of startup HQ Trivia will be the subject of a new podcast from Bill Simmons' The Ringer, a source familiar with the plans tells The Hollywood Reporter

Staff writer Alyssa Bereznak is reporting and will host the multipart podcast, which is expected to feature interviews with former HQ employees as well as the journalists who covered the company's short history. 

The series, which will launch in spring 2020, had been in the works for several months before CNN reported Feb. 14 that HQ was shutting down and laying off its 25 full-time employees. The project will join a growing slate of narrative nonfiction podcasts at The Ringer, including Sonic Boom: How Seattle Lost Its Team and Break Stuff: The Story of Woodstock '99, both made exclusively for Luminary. 

The technology industry has become common fodder for podcasters, inspiring projects about the Theranos scandal (ABC Audio's The Dropout) and the WeWork crash (Wondery's WeCrashed).

HQ's story also lends itself to a narrative podcast: Founded by the creators of the Vine app in 2017, its mobile-first game show took off with users. A year later, as use flagged, co-founder Colin Kroll died of a drug overdose. While co-founder Rus Yusupov worked to revive the business, viewership continued to decline and the company ultimately ran out of cash. Despite tweeting Feb. 14 that the company was shutting down, Yusupov gave an update four days later indicating that he had found a new, unnamed buyer to keep the business running. 

In other podcasting news: 

– Some of iHeartRadio's podcasts will soon become books. Flatiron Books is launching a new imprint, Stuff You Should Read: An iHeartBook, to publish one book per year based on iHeartRadio shows. The first, Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things, will be released Sept. 29. Written by Stuff You Should Know hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, it will delve into topics like the origin of Murphy beds and the history of facial hair. The imprint will be run by Flatiron executive editor Sarah Murphy and will start with four books based on iHeartRadio's curiosity shows.

– This American Life host Ira Glass will receive the Audio Vanguard Award at the On Air Fest this spring. The announcement about the honor describes Glass as "a driving, innovative force whose radio show, This American Life, pioneered a new form of audio storytelling that sparked the podcasting boom and shaped a new generation of producers, reporters and artists." He will receive the award in Brooklyn on March 8. 

– HLN true crime podcast Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders has hit 1.6 million downloads since its launch Feb. 5. The project, hosted by HLN producers Barbara MacDonald and Andrew Iden, looks at the 2017 murders of teenage best friends Abby Williams and Libby German in their Indiana town. HLN is dropping new episodes every Wednesday until March 18.