…The Podcast Studio Kaleidoscope signed a representation agreement with WME. The company launched by iHeartMedia’s former SVP for podcast development Mangesh Hattikudur and Oz Wolochyn, the host of the Sleepwalkers podcast. The Hollywood Reporter says Kaleidoscope has a six-show deal with iHeartmedia, which will air its first shows later this year. The company’s investors include author John Green, former Cosmopolitan magazine editor Joanna Coles and former MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston, as well as venture capitalists North Media and The Raine Group.
…Vox Podcast Network parent company Vox Media institutes a series of layoffs. This time, it plans to cut its workforce by 3%, or about 60 people, once it finalizes a pending merger with Group Nine Media. “These changes are necessary because the combination of our two organizations has naturally created duplication in some jobs, particularly at higher levels, as well as a need to reprioritize a few select initiatives,” said Vox Media CEO, Jim Bankoff, in a memo to staff.
…PodcastOne co-creator and co-host of the LadyGang podcast Becca Tobin is on maternity leave after recently welcoming her first child earlier this year. But the show must go on. “With Becca on maternity leave, we’ve invited some of our famous friends to host with us,” her co-hosts said, Keltie Knight and Jacques Vanek. Guest hosts include Heather Dubrow, Danny Pellegrino, Jackie Schimmell, TINX, Jason Tartick, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Yo and Josephine Skriver. “We wish Becca well and can’t wait to have her back full time,” Knight and Vanek said.
…former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevitch ended his Lightning Rod podcast produced with his former radio house, Cumulus Media news-talk WLS Chicago (890). “His deal with us has ended and both parties have mutually agreed to end our relationship,” market manager Marv Nyren told blogger Robert Feder. The last episode was released in September. Blagojevich hosted a weekly radio show on WLS in 2009, but the station ended the program when Blagojevich went on trial for corruption. After President Trump commuted Blagojevich’s sentence, he launched the podcast two years ago.
…Actor Ricky Gervais has released a third season of its self-published podcast series Absolutely Mental and it will once again be priced at $15. Gervais launched the show’s first season in May 2021 with a co-host, neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris. This time, they’ll be offering all three seasons for a combined price of $25. All ten episodes of the new season are available for binging. During the third season, Gervais and Harris discuss topics such as vaccines, what is deja vu, and what are memories. Each episode is approximately 40 minutes long, and subscribers will be able to access the podcast on any podcast app they use. Listeners will be able to hear approximately 15 minutes of each episode for free as a teaser.