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The adoption was so swift that when NPR decided to end Day to Day, Bowers was in a position to shift all his efforts to growing Slate’s podcast network.

What astonished him was the level of intimacy inherent in the form.

Even with this rudimentary offering the publication was able to amass about 10,000 regular listeners.

“And I got a call from an editor who said, ‘Why don’t we just record these discussions we’re having and do a podcast about the podcast?

’ And I was like, ‘That’s a great idea.’ And two days later, we launched it.” Some found the idea of a podcast about a podcast a little too meta and absurd.

“And I thought, ‘If I just put microphones in the conference room, this would be really entertaining.

People would hear the honest conversation that reporters have.'” That insight eventually became the Political Gabfest, an hour-long show — hosted by Dickerson, former editor David Plotz, and Emily Bazelon — that’s among Slate’s most popular podcasts.

But Bowers’s real insight came while listening in on weekly editorial meetings.

“John and his colleagues in Washington had hilarious conversations that sounded like how I was used to hearing reporters talk at the bar or after they appeared on the Sunday talk shows,” he said.“A ton of people who were Serial fans started listening to it and so it brought a whole new set of listeners into the Slate podcasting orbit, which was terrific,” said Julia Turner, Slate’s editor-in-chief.That orbit of which she speaks has grown substantially in recent years.“He said, ‘Political Gabfest is sponsored by…well, you know who it’s sponsored by,’ and the whole audience yelled ‘!’ When that happened I was like, OK, that’s pretty effective advertising.” Because Slate doesn’t have to deal with the constraints of traditional radio broadcasting, it’s been able to experiment with the form over the past decade.“I believe the first one was right around the inauguration of Obama in 2009,” he recalled.“We decided to do a live show thinking there would be a lot of people in town for the inauguration.A funny video uploaded to You Tube poked fun at Serial fans for their level of obsession and willingness to travel ever deeper down that rabbit hole.“Dude, don’t tell me about that Slate podcast — I love that Slate podcast,” says one character in the video. In fact I’ve even started listening to a podcast that’s about the Slate podcast, so every week when the Slate podcast comes out, this podcast also comes out and talks about what they’re talking about on the Slate podcast.” As absurd as it may have sounded to non-Serial fans, the Serial Spoiler Special was a huge hit, generating hundreds of thousands of downloads per episode.Tempted by the high CPM rates on preroll ads, several print media stalwarts have invested significantly in beefing up their video staffs.In 2013, both Meredith and Scripps launched several original web series, and that same year The New York Times hired Rebecca Howard, a former vice president at 20th Century Fox, to head up and expand its video department.

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