Gimlit Media: The new NPR?
I have been listening to and writing about the podcasts from a relatively new media enterprise, Gimlet Media. I can’t help but wonder if the main reason why I am so inclined to like Gimlet Media and their podcasts is due to bias I already have. Really, bias in podcasting? Yup. Bias is everywhere.
The bias towards Gimlet Media comes in how I was introduced to this new media company for the first time. For at least 6 years now I have been a fan of NPR radio and the podcasts they produce as well. One of my favorite podcasts has been Planet Money an NPR podcast. I was a fan of the work that Alex Blumberg was doing on Planet Money which he co created. The first podcast created by Gimlet Media, before there even was a Gimlet Media, was StartUp. StartUp was introduced to me on Planet Money. I already liked Planet Money and Alex Blumberg from my previous experience so my introduction to StartUp in this manner predisposed me to like StartUp. Would I have liked StartUp if I had just come across it randomly in a podcast feed? Would I have even chosen to listen to it if I didn’t already know something about the creator? Would I have ever even discovered it if Planet Money didn’t give it to me? I’m inclined to say no to all of the above because at the time Planet Money was one of a very few business/financial podcasts I was listening to. I was not likely to go out in search of a podcast about starting a business. (Read my previous article about Gimlit Media here)
The bias goes even further. Alex Blumberg recruited to his team on Gimlet hosts of other podcasts whom I was already familiar with from their other work. Each of these new recruits with their new podcasts had this air of familiarity. They felt like a known quantity in a way. Something that I could trust to be high quality because of my prior experiences with them. Gimlet’s second podcast Reply All features PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, whom I had heard previously on a podcast called TLDR. I did not have as much experience with them on TLDR as I did with Alex Blumberg on Planet Money but the known quantity off Blumberg combined with the lesser known quantities of PJ and Goldman to create more credibility for Reply All. Reply All was also about a topic that I didn’t really listen to podcasts about. It is about the internet and is probably the only podcast that I listen to that is specifically about that subject. But due to my familiarity with them on their previous podcast covering similar topics I wanted to tune in and give it a try.
When the third podcast installment from Gimlet came to life the person breathing their life’s breath into it was Starlee Kine. Starlee Kine also comes from the world of public radio and previously worked on This American Life and Marketplace. While prior to hearing her on Mystery Show I don’t know that I could have identified Starlee Kine’s voice but I was familiar with her name. I had heard it in reference to programs I was already familiar with and that I enjoyed. This continued to build on the sense of familiarity that I was building with Gimlet Media and its podcast offerings. Starlee Kine and Mystery Show were probably more unknown to me that other aspects of Gimlet but I still wanted to check it out because I trusted this “familiar” entity to create content that I would enjoy. I didn’t really know what Starlee Kine would bring to the table or what Mystery Show would be like but I wanted to find out. (Read my article on Mystery Show here)
The fourth and recently launched podcast Surprisingly Awesome is co-hosted by Adam Davidson who along with Alex Blumberg (CEO of Gimlet Media) previously co-founded NPR’s Planet Money. Planet Money has been one of my favorite podcasts teaching me about financial and economic issues in ways I never imagined. So when I learned Adam Davidson was co-hosting a podcast where the main objective was to take a “boring” topic and dive into it in a way that by the end listeners would decide that the topic was actually interesting after all I was pretty sure it would be as advertised. After all, Adam Davidson had already been doing that on Planet Money so it seemed like a no brainer to check out this podcast too and it has not let me down. (Check out my article on Surprisingly Awesome)
To date I believe I have listened to every episode of of every podcast that Gimlet Media has produced. I did not do this with the intention of writing about it at some point. I simply found their content appealing. Their podcasts are informative and entertaining.
It will be interesting to see how my interest in Gimlet Media podcasts evolves as the company grows and has more offerings. Will I continue to consume every episode of every podcast? There have been other podcasts that I used to listen to regularly but as my world of podcasts expanded I listened to those less and less and others more and more. So it seems likely that at some point There will be some Gimlet Media podcasts that take a backseat to other newer Gimlet podcasts or perhaps podcasts from other sources. One thing is clear. The more I learn about all the podcasts out there is that there is not enough time in the day to listen to every episode of every podcast just out of the ones I am aware of and receive in my feed. New podcasts are created all the time and some of these are likely to interest me. I am frequently adding podcasts to my playlists. I hope I can find time to listen to everything I enjoy.
I am looking forward to the upcoming releases of podcasts from Gimlet Media.