PodcastOne, the celebrity podcasting network from the founder of radio powerhouse WestwoodOne, is launching a free hosting platform for podcasters.
The Los Angeles-based syndicated podcasting platform — which counts athletes, politicians, talk radio and reality television stars like Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Dan Patrick, Spencer and Heidi Pratt, Jim Harbaugh, Ladygang, Dr. Drew, Chael Sonnen, Rich Eisen and Barbara Boxer — is angling to get insight into potential new talent through the venture.
“We will see which podcasts are performing well and offer them the opportunity to partner and grow with PodcastOne, and provide them with all the resources the network offers, including production, talent booking, promotion, a dedicated sales team and more,” said PodcastOne chief executive Peter Morris in a statement. “As the leading ad-supported podcast network, we are embracing the over 700,000 podcasts out there, and are here to support the long-term growth of independent podcasters.”
Called Launchpad Digital Media, the new hosting service is pitching podcasters a free platform, including unlimited hosting; access to analytics including listenership, geography and device data; total ownership of direct monetization channels for a podcast’s subscriber base; and complete control over how podcasts are distributed via Apple, Spotify or other services.
The company is also billing itself as a discovery platform, offering free promotion for the service’s various podcasts across its own network of popular podcasting talent.
“Over the years, people have shared with us how hard it can be out there in the desert of independent podcasting: you have to pay to host and get your podcast heard; you get no help in discoverability; you’re scared to leave and stop paying your hosting platform because you might lose your subscribers; and it’s virtually impossible to get noticed by a major podcast network who can help you take your hard work to the next level,” said Morris, in a statement. “Launchpad was built with the independent podcaster in mind. We wanted to help solve these problems… for free.”
Because nothing is actually free, and because PodcastOne wants to get paid, the catch is the company’s own ability to insert pre- and mid-roll advertising into podcasts that are hosted on the new service.
So podcasters can manage their direct advertising, but they give PodcastOne the ability to slot in ads that the company chooses across any of the podcasts that agree to be hosted on the service. It gives the company access to both marquee talent for high value, big-spending advertisers and a way to flood other podcasts with whatever ads the company wants.
Ads that LaunchpadDM inserts won’t be longer than two total minutes per episode and podcasters can determine the location of the mid-roll spot when uploading the episode.