Friday roundup: Smartbinge boosts WNYC traffic; McKibben praises podcasts

By Current Staff

"Bill McKibben at RIT-3" by Hotshot977 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

McKibben singles out public media podcasts for praise. (Photo: Hotshot977 via Wikimedia Commons.)

• Since launching in June, WNYC’s Smartbinge campaign “has caused mobile sessions to surge more than 60 percent, social activity to jump 25 percent and has doubled the number of unique monthly visitors” to the station’s website, according to Mobile Marketer. The marketing effort aims to boost listenership for the station’s collection of podcasts, including RadiolabFreakonomics Radio and New Tech City. Thomas Hjelm, executive v.p. and chief digital officer at WNYC, attributes the campaign’s success to advertising on Facebook and mobile platforms.

• Writing for The Dish, Bill McKibben praises modern times as “the golden era of radio,” thanks to “intriguing, provocative, sublime” podcasts such as Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything. McKibben, who has written various essays about public radio for outlets including the New York Review of Books, criticizes “conservative” public radio program directors and adds, “There are times when it appears public radio stations are in a contest to see who can achieve the oldest possible demographic.”

• Most of the recent mail to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler has dealt with a show that has yet to air: After Tiller, which will be broadcast Monday as part of POV. The film focuses on doctors in the U.S. who perform late-term abortions, and it has been criticized by antiabortion groups. “I don’t get involved in programs that have not aired so I’ll wait until after Sept. 1,” Getler writes.

• PBS and Sesame Workshop are partnering on a new Sesame Street app, “Cookie Monster’s Challenge,” in time for the venerable show’s 45th season premiere. The $2.99 tablet app is designed to teach kids about “problem solving, self-control and following directions,” according to Recode.

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