Finneas Will Unpack Solo Album ‘Optimist’ in iHeartRadio Series (Podcast News Roundup)

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In today’s podcast news roundup, Finneas fronts the first season of the artist-led “Song Stories” podcast from iHeartRadio; sports journalist Tom Rinaldi tells the story of MLB star Lyman Wesley Bostock Jr. in an upcoming Fox Sports series; production firm SALT hires Luminary’s Kenzi Wilbur and Spotify’s Robert Adler; and more.

DATES

Grammy-winning music producer and musician Finneas will be the featured artist on the first season of iHeartRadio‘s “Song Stories” podcast series, set to debut July 20. Hosted by iHeartRadio writer and podcast producer Jordan Runtagh, the show will invite chart-topping musicians to tell the backstories of their songwriting process, production collaborations and live tours. In the inaugural season, Finneas (Billie Eilish’s older brother) will share an inside look into the creation of his debut album, “Optimist,” which was shaped largely by the events of 2020. Upcoming seasons of “Song Stories” will feature a new artist with each dedicated season chronicling the creation of their newest album and the tour that follows.

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“My connection with my fans is so important to me, and I’ve loved sharing my album with them,” Finneas said in a statement. “I’m so excited to team up with iHeartRadio to bring them into the intimate process of making the album through this podcast. It’s an important piece of me and I can’t wait for them to hear how it came together.”

Fox Sports set a July 18 debut for “Wesley,” its first serialized audio docu-series, executive produced, written and hosted by Emmy-winning journalist Tom Rinaldi. The eight-part series tells the gripping and heartbreaking story of Lyman Wesley Bostock Jr., the activist-turned-athlete who became one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball — and was murdered during the height of his career. The first four episodes “Welsey” will be available next Monday across all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Spotify, as well as on foxsports.com and the Fox Sports app.

SiriusXM’s Stitcher announced “Rubirosa,” a documentary podcast created and hosted by actor, author and storyteller Christopher Rivas will premiere July 27. Produced by Stitcher’s Witness Docs unit, the 10-episode series tells the story of Porfirio Rubirosa, the Dominican diplomat and playboy who may have inspired Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond character. Rivas, a Dominican-American, examines how his life may have been different if James Bond — his childhood hero — looked like him. “Rubirosa” is created and executive produced by Rivas, with additional support from Stitcher senior producer Abigail Keel and producer Kevin Tidmarsh; and executive produced by Workhouse Media, Amelia Baker, Mackenzie Munro and Ari Anderson. Kameel Stanley is the executive producer of Witness Docs. Story editing by John DeLore, technical direction is by Casey Holford and original music composed and performed by Wilson Torres, Yeisson Villamar and Marcos Varela. The podcast’s theme song is composed by Allison Leyton Brown.

Hearst’s House Beautiful debuted Season 2 of “Dark House,” which explores America’s most haunted homes and the stories behind them, on Wednesday, July 13. The new season features infamous haunted homes from across the country, including Ackley House (Nyack, N.Y.), the Manson Family Murder House (L.A.), the Chop Chop House (Boise, Idaho), the Watcher House (Westfield, N.J.) and the Conjuring House (Burrillville, R.I.). The podcast is hosted by Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful’s director of brand strategy and audience development, and senior editor Hadley Mendelsohn.

Content studio Project Brazen and public media organization PRX announced “Kabul Falling,” an eight-part podcast taking listeners on “a cinematic journey” through Afghans’ personal experiences around the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in 2021, nearly 20 years after Coalition Forces had cast them out of power. Hosted by British-Afghan journalist Nelufar Hedayat and executive produced by Project Brazen co-founders Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, the first two episodes of “Kabul Falling” will launch on Monday, Aug. 1, with new episodes released on Mondays through the anniversary of the Taliban takeover until the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

EXECS

SALT, the L.A.-based studio behind podcasts including Dave Chappelle’s “The Midnight Miracle” for Luminary, announced the hiring of Kenzi Wilbur (below left), formerly with Luminary, as VP of partnerships and development, and Robert Adler (below right), previously post-production supervisor at Spotify, as head of post production. Founded by partners Jamie Schefman, Noah Gersh and Nick Panama, SALT productions have included “Blackout” and “Carrier” (QCode), “The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon” (Spotify), “Hit Job” (Broadway Video), and “Dr. Death: Miracle Man” (Wondery).

Public radio station WNYC announced Ave Carrillo has been named executive producer of local podcasts. In the role, she will focus on expanding the newsroom’s audio storytelling capacity, which will involve setting a podcast strategy, building a production team and conducting piloting to determine the sound and direction of the station’s on-demand offerings. Carillo will report to Sean Bowditch, director of audio strategy, and will start later this summer. She joins the newsroom from WNYC Studios, where for the last seven years she has served as senior producer of “The New Yorker Radio Hour.”

DEALS

Michael Rapaport‘s “I Am Rapaport: Stereo Podcast” has joined iHeartMedia’s iHeartPodcast Network, which will continue to distribute the show on all major audio platforms. Every Tuesday and Friday, listeners will hear the actor-director “share his strong, funny and offensive points of view on life, sports, music, film and everything in between,” according to iHeartMedia. Rapaport’s show has featured him interviewing such guests as Martin Scorsese, Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Tyson, Ice Cube, Charlamagne Tha God, Ellen Pompeo, Allen Iverson, Juliette Lewis and Method Man.

Streaming media company Curiosity Inc. struck a deal with iHeartMedia to launch the Curiosity Audio Network, which will develop and release several podcast projects throughout the year. The Curiosity Audio Network will feature original content as well as podcasts to complement programming from Curiosity’s streaming library of documentary films, shows and series. Live now on the Curiosity Audio Network is the “One Day University” podcast series, showcasing lectures delivered by professors from some of the world’s top colleges and universities. Later this year, Curiosity will premiere its first original podcast co-produced with iHeartMedia, a series that will mix pop culture, history and true crime with a deep dive into the mystery surrounding the life and death of the “Cold War Cowboy” Dean Reed. Also upcoming is the “Untold History of Sports in America,” examining the role sports have played in shaping the American psyche.

LAUNCHES

Disctopia, a podcast hosting and streaming service for independent creators, rolled out a video podcast feature, which lets users upload podcast videos and automatically add them to their Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed. The company said video podcasters on the Disctopia platform also will be able to access video-specific analytics, including listener location, daily number of listeners, daily downloads and engagement, via its True Play analytics dashboard.

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