Podcast News Roundup | Words to That Effect Returns For A Brand New Season & More!

Welcome back to HeadStuff’s Podcast News Roundup, your go-to place for podcast news and recommendations. This week’s roundup features HeadStuff’s Podcast Of The Week and also looks at the the return of Words to That Effect, new podcast partnerships and another open letter to Spotify.

As always if you host a podcast and want it featured as our podcast of the week, email us at [email protected] and we’ll be sure to check it out!

Podcast of the Week

Bittersweet Symphony is a new podcast from violinist Cliodhna Ryan, all about life for classical musicians during the pandemic.

She explores what happened when the music stopped, when classical musicians whose lives had centred around practicing together and performing live suddenly had to stay apart from each other. There are bitter, sweet, and bittersweet stories to listen to.


New episodes are out every fortnight.

Words to That Effect Returns for a brand new season

Season 6 of Words To That Effect is back. Conor Reid’s podcast, telling stories of the fiction that shapes popular culture, has returned for a new season. Previous episodes of The HeadStuff Network show have covered everything from zombies to vampires, utopias to pulp fiction. The upcoming season will feature episodes on the history of dragons, Victorian bestsellers, the mythology of King Arthur and plenty more. There will, as always, be a mix of bestseller and long forgotten novels, weird science and obscure history. 

Words to That Effect is part of the HeadStuff Podcast Network. You can listen to the new season on the HeadStuff website, or wherever you normally get your podcasts.

RadioLab Host Retires after 20 years

In a statement released on January 26th, host of the beloved RadioLab, Jab Abumrad announced he is stepping aside as host of the show after 20 years. Beginning in 2002, RadioLab acted as a gateway into podcasting for many audio fans and podcasters. In 2019, his long-time co-host, Robert Krulwich, also retired from the podcast. 

Abumrad said the decision came as he reached a point where he felt the team could carry on the show without him. He thanked his crew, audio team and, of course, his listeners. “As for me,” he said in the statement, “after 20 years, hundreds of episodes, several spin-offs and one pandemic, I’ll be doing some writing, some teaching, some music-making, some thinking, and frankly, some being.”

In light of Abumrad’s departure from the series and the upcoming 20th anniversary, remaining co-hosts, Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser added “We vow to keep dazzling you, our audience, for years to come. Not least of all because now the guy who made our favourite show will be one of you, listening.” 

Pod Digital Media has partnered with McDonald’s USA in a bid to diversify their audience

Pod Digital Media, the first multicultural podcast network, has joined with McDonald’s in a multi-year deal in an attempt to create new content featuring specialised McDonald’s ads which aims to target a more diverse listenership. 

About the partnership, CEO and head of partnerships at Pod Digital Media, Gary Coichy said: “My first job as a teenager was working in McDonald’s as a drive-thru cashier and to now work with the brand to amplify Black and other voices is a dream come true. We are thrilled to partner with McDonald’s especially in light of the company’s commitment to accelerate advertising investment in diverse-owned media companies that reflect its diverse customers, crew members, and communities.”

Pod Digital Media features podcasts such as Angela Yee’s Lip Service, C’Mon Son, Brilliant Idiots and The Oprah Rose Show, and they previously joined with Infiniti USA, Capital One and Ultra Beauty as new purchasers over the last 12 months as part of an ever-growing portfolio of coordinating media partnerships and title sponsors for multicultural podcasters. 

“Partners like Pod Digital Media make it possible for McDonald’s to authentically connect with our customers,” Michael Joiner, Director of US Marketing DEI Strategy for McDonalds’s USA said. 

Speaking of new creative partnerships…

TED partners with Transmitter Media 

Peabody-nominated creative podcast company, Transmitter Media, and TED Audio Collective, have come together for a multi-year strategic partnership to produce a series of ambitious storytelling and conversation podcasts for TED. As a result of the partnership, well-known TED shows like WorkLife with Adam Grant and TED Business will see new seasons, as well as curating an array of expanded and new podcasts. 

The partnership extends a pre-existing five-year working relationship between the two companies. Since they first started working together in 2017 to create WorkLife, they have co-produced a range of other projects and award-winning ad stories. 

TED’s Director of Audio, Michelle Quint said “We’ve always deeply values our partnership with Transmitter and are thrilled to be cementing our relationship with them through this multi-year agreement. They’ve been an ideal creative partner for us in establishing the Collective, and we have great ambitions to build even further. We look forward to a head-turning successful partnership. 

“The match between TED and Transmitter has been extraordinarily fruitful and generative, from day one. They bring top tier thinkers and storytellers, and a sharp and creative editorial sensibility. Our ambitious team is able to explore story, develop formats and take creative risks, and we’ve been delighted to see how the work has resonated with listeners,” said Transmitter’s founder and CEO Gretta Cohn. 

Popular musician pulls music from Spotify in a protest against Joe Rogan’s podcast

Joe Rogan continues to cause trouble for Spotify as musician Neil Young has pulled his music from the popular streaming platform. This comes after Young published an open letter during the week, offering Spotify an ultimatum – to take action against the COVID and vaccine misinformation spread through Joe Rogan’s podcast, or Young would take his music off the platform. 

The letter, originally published to Young’s website on January 24th, said, “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the misinformation being spread by them.” 

Two days later, Spotify begun removing Young’s music from the platform after Young’s record label, Warner Music Group, formally requested Spotify remove his music on Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter

Since then, several people have come out in support of Young’s decision, including the chief of the World Health Organisation. Many of Young’s fans have opted to boycott Spotify, with fans posting “I stand with Neil Young” and “#CancelSpotify” to social media.

Find more podcast related content on the HeadStuff Podcast Section – News, Reviews, Interviews and How-To Guides for all you podcasters out there. 

Featured Image Credit