December 22, 2016

Go inside one of the most talked-about new entrants in podcasting with Hernan Lopez, a cable television veteran who founded Wondery at the start of the year. He joins the Wolf Den to discuss that transition from video to audio with hosts Chris Bannon and Lex Friedman. In fact, Hernan draws parallels between the early days of cable and podcasting, especially with regard to educating ad buyers. He explains why he started Wondery as a full-service network, and why they focused on fiction shows–including one musical–for their first full productions, reflecting on what TV’s transition to character-driven serials means for podcasting. Hernan also shares keen advice for podcasters while assessing the landscape for independent producers in 2017.

Listen to “The Gift of Listening” here:

This episode is brought to you by Podcast Movement ( code: WOLF)

November 24, 2016

The podcasting industry is often characterized as being like the “Wild West,” which is very similar to how digital publishing was regarded in the 1990s. Media analyst Ken Doctor was at the forefront of journalism’s first online forays while working at Knight-Ridder Digital, and now he turns his lens to podcasting. He sees parallels with early internet publishing, but also important differences. On this episode of the Wolf Den he tells Chris and Lex what he thinks podcasters and the podcast industry need to do in order to grow smartly and sustainably. He analyzes Apple’s current position as the still-dominant platform for finding and listening to podcasts, and offers his thoughts on how Apple could best support the medium. Ken also weighs in on the viability of subscriber-funded models and what podcasters should focus on in 2017. You can follow Ken at

October 13, 2016

Max Linsky has the rare opportunity to spend time making a podcast with Hillary Clinton while she’s on the campaign trail. On this episode Max gives Chris and Lex a behind-the-scenes glimpse at that show, “With Her,” and the new podcasting company that he co-founded with Jenna Weiss-Berman (TWD #92), Pineapple Street Media. He explains the inspiration behind starting the company, why he and his co-founder decided not to take any outside investment, and what they’re looking for when hiring producers. Max also reflects on some of the lessons he’s learned as a podcaster, beginning with the first interview he conducted as a co-founder of the Longform Podcast, and offers some advice for the producer just starting out.

September 15, 2016

Rena Unger has a uniquely comprehensive view of the digital audio industry. She’s worked on the brand side, on the content side, and now helps to guide and grow the industry as as whole as the Director of Industry Initiatives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. With her work as the lead for the IAB’s Digital Audio Committee Rena is responsible for the Podcast Upfronts which recently happened in New York City. In this edition of the Wolf Den Rena explains where the idea for the Upfronts came from, and why podcasting’s version of this kind of event stands apart from the television upfront and the digital media New Fronts. This year 12 podcast companies presented their slate of shows and talent to ad buyers at the Upfronts, and she shares some feedback from those buyers and her own thoughts on the event. Rena also details what she thinks is special about podcasting, and gives some concise, but trenchant advice for the podcasting industry as a whole.

September 1, 2016

If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own podcast network, this episode is for you. Myke Hurley is a veteran podcaster and the co-founder of, a popular and highly regarded tech podcast network with 20 shows. He joins Lex Friedman in the Wolf Den to dig into the business of running a network. Myke tells how he built his first network out of necessity, and why he later merged it with a bigger network. But then Myke and his business partner decided to strike out on their own again with Relay. He explains why it’s important for them to have that ownership, and what it took for them to quit their day jobs and run the network full time. Myke also reflects on the changes in the industry over the last few years—especially with advertising—and shares his advice for podcasters who want to build their own networks.

August 18, 2016

What are the biggest challenges facing public radio, and how does podcasting fit into the equation? Those are just a couple of the big questions that guest Adam Ragusea tackles in this spirited discussion with hosts Chris Bannon and Lex Friedman. Adam is the host and producer of The Pub podcast from Current, the industry publication for public media, and he’s Journalist in Residence and Visiting Assistant Professor at Mercer University. He’s known for staking out strong–sometimes controversial–positions on issues like native advertising, objectivity and journalistic ethics, which he shares on this episode. Adam also explains why he thinks the big northeastern cities shouldn’t dominate podcasting, and gives some advice for young people who want to create great audio.

August 4, 2016

Through her WNYC podcast and radio program “Note to Self” Manoush Zomorodi is exploring how technology affects culture, the way we work and the way we live our lives. She guests on the Wolf Den to discuss how that curiosity has led to projects on her show that engaged tens of thousands of listeners to join in guided self-experiments in managing their use of personal technology, and their own information overload. Manoush also reflects on the experience of being a woman covering a male-dominated field like tech, and how podcasting inadvertently offers a buffer from the kind of negativity often seen on social media. She also has practical advice for podcasters who want to build audience engagement, and lessons to share from her transition from being a news reporter to a host.

This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron.

July 21, 2016

Learn all about Audible’s new Channels podcast line-up with Eric Nuzum, the company’s Vice President of Original Content. He joins new co-hosts Chris Bannon and Lex Friedman in the Wolf Den to explain what Channels is, and how the effort intends to grow the audience for spoken word audio by expanding the variety of content. Eric talks about how he evaluates programming and its performance, and recalls a mentor from early in his career who taught him what makes for really good content. He also addresses his move from NPR  to Amazon, as well as the migration of talent out of public radio, reflecting on changes that public radio could make to adapt to the changing landscape. Plus, Eric shares his advice for podcasters and producers who are pursuing success.

This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron.

July 7, 2016

Find out what’s happening behind the scenes at Midroll and Earwolf during this very busy summer, as Midroll’s Erik Diehn and Lex Friedman join Adam for his very last episode hosting The Wolf Den. Adam recently stepped aside from his position of CEO and explains his reasons for doing so. He reminisces with Lex and Erik about the most fun, and the most challenging, moments of the last three eventful years. Then they take up Midroll’s recent acquisition of Stitcher, addressing some of the concerns raised by a few prominent tech podcasters. Lex and Erik detail why and how a reinvigorated Stitcher will be good for all podcasters. Finally they discuss Midroll’s brand studio initiative and the upcoming Now Hear This podcast festival, and share what’s in store for Earwolf.

This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron.

June 23, 2016

On this episode Matt Lieber provides some insight on what makes his company, Gimlet Media, tick. He is the president of Gimlet, which produces popular podcasts like Reply All, Surprisingly Awesome, and Startup, the company’s first show, which also documented Gimlet’s own launch. Adam asks Matt to share what it was like to go through that experience, with so many people learning so many intimate details on the show. Matt also charts his career journey, from unexpectedly reporting on 9/11, to becoming a public radio producer, taking a turn into business school and consulting, then returning to audio with Gimlet. He  explains why he is confident in the future of podcasting, and reveals the factors he believes contribute to audience growth. Finally, he talks about the company’s Gimlet Creative brand studio, and what it takes to get audiences to listen to branded podcasts.

This episode is sponsored by Hired and Podcast Movement.

June 9, 2016

Dig deep into the business of podcasting with this episode of The Wolf Den, recorded live at a Fast Company Creative Counter-Conference event hosted at the Earwolf studios in Hollywood. Adam moderates a panel with Earwolf hosts Sarah Thyre (“Crybabies”) and Franklin Leonard (“The Black List Table Reads”). They answer questions from the assembled journalists, agency representatives and media industry professionals about building audience, the ethics of podcast ads, episode length, and pitching guests to hosts. First, to get everyone up to speed, Adam presents a short history of Earwolf and Midroll, and shares some very funny, and very effective podcast ad reads.

This episode is sponsored by Hired and Podcast Movement.

May 26, 2016

Comedian and Jersey boy Chris Gethard wasn’t quite ready to host one of the hottest and most popular podcasts around. As he explains to Adam Sachs on this episode of The Wolf Den, he thought there would be some time in the first few months to feel it out. Instead, getting featured on This American Life attracted a massive audience to his show, Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, who stuck around because of the singular mix of openness, honesty and empathy with which Chris treats the callers to his show. He talks about how the concept for the podcast evolved with the help of producers Gretta Cohn and John Delore, and how he was also surprised by the effusive feedback he’s received from listeners and fans. Chris also reflects on how making the podcast is different from his Fusion television show, “The Chris Gethard Show,” and how Beautiful/Anonymous fits into his desire to find  happiness in making things. Finally, he doles out some tough love advice for aspiring podcasters, and anyone pursuing creative endeavors.

This episode is sponsored by Podcast Movement.

April 28, 2016

Laura Walker is the president and CEO of New York Public Radio, the largest public radio station group in the US, and a well-known leader in podcasting, though its flagship station WNYC. In fact, it was the first public station to release a podcast, which sparks a conversation about how podcasting fits in with the station’s mission as a public broadcaster, and why the organization stuck with the medium in the late 2000s when much of the excitement around podcasting had worn off. Laura discusses the recently launched WNYC Studios and its $15 million fund to incubate innovative new audio programming, and details the station’s goal to bring gender balance to iTunes top podcasts chart. She also tackles the question of the so-called “public radio exodus” into for-profit podcasting—and her answer might surprise you.

April 14, 2016

Hillary Frank got into radio by breaking the rules, using a boombox and an answering machine to produce a segment for This American Life. She is the host of the leading parenting podcast The Longest Shortest Time, which joined Earwolf in January 2016. On this episode of The Wolf Den Hillary tells Adam the This American Life story, and explains how working as a freelance radio producer and a difficult child birth led her to create her podcast. They discuss how her expectations shifted as the podcast became successful in its own right, and why Hillary decided to bring The Longest Shortest Time to Earwolf. Finally, Hillary offers some trenchant and unconventional advice for aspiring podcasters.

March 31, 2016

As a widely respected journalist, best-selling author and creator/host of one of the most popular podcasts—Freakonomics Radio–Stephen Dubner is in a unique position to analyze the state of podcasting. He joins Adam to tackle this and other meaty topics like journalistic standards, the ethics of hosts doing their own ad reads, and why the medium has exploded in popularity. Learn how Freakonomics Radio was actually a kind of failure, compared to Stephen’s original plan. He also tells the origin story for his Earwolf show Question of the Day, and explains why he enjoys working on two very different kinds of podcasts. Finally, Stephen shares his metric for determine if he should continue doing a project.