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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Podcasts swirling, whirling, and moving

Some of my best friends are 5by5 podcasters. (Taken at the 5by5 meetup at WWDC 2014.)

Today Moisés Chiullan announced that Brett Terpstra’s Systematic podcast and Christina Warren and Brett Terpstra’s podcast Overtired are moving from 5by5 to ESN.fm.

There’s been a lot of podcast movement lately, which isn’t really surprising given how young this medium (or whatever) is. Not everyone finds podcast networks valuable, but they can helpfully group shows of similar sensibilities together, provide exposure for new shows that might otherwise be missed, and offer a technical or financial infrastructure that can be convenient for people who have something to say but don’t want to build a podcasting business1.

And sometimes after a while, those hosts or shows are ready to spread their wings, creatively or technically. Plenty of talented hosts have left 5by5, but you know what? My pals Merlin Mann and Andy Ihnatko are still there, and the indefatigable Dan Benjamin’s producing new audio and video shows all the time.

Since we moved Clockwise from IDG (with the blessing of some nice folks in IDG management) to Stephen Hackett and Myke Hurley’s new Relay FM network, the audience of that show has more than doubled. Being on Relay helped expose the show to a great audience of tech-podcast listeners, and has also helped us grow Upgrade rapidly.

I should mention that as of the most recent episode of The Incomparable, I’m no longer posting episodes to the 5by5 network. We started the show in 2010 and quickly Dan started recruiting me. A little more than a year later, we joined 5by5, and it helped expose my odd little pop-culture show to a much wider audience2.

As time wore on, I decided I wanted to build something on my own, and launched spin-off shows on The Incomparable Network. That project also allowed me to add show metadata that 5by5 simply couldn’t or wouldn’t offer, like a page of all our Star Wars episodes or an index of show topics.

At that point the clock was ticking. I began posting the show to both networks. After a communication failure at 5by5 forced me to abandon a live episode just as it was starting, we set up our own live-stream system that we could control. And most recently, I gave Dan notice that we were changing ad-sales teams. The relationship was at an end. It was time to make it official.

I’m a believer in the medium—it’s one of the ways I expect to support myself and my family now that I’m on my own. But these are the early days. Things are changing rapidly. There are always new podcasts and new networks. (And yes, it’s worth reminding ourselves that this is not the only new-media opportunity out there.)

This reminds me of nothing more than the early days of the web. The younger people out there might not remember, but that period was like the wild west. Things changed every day. Podcasting’s going through something similar.

Anyway, thanks to everyone out there who has listened to some of my podcasts. And best of luck to Brett and Christina on their new adventures with Moisés at ESN.


  1. John Gruber, Marco Arment, John Siracusa, and Merlin Mann were unlikely to have devoted the time to podcasting when they started—but Dan Benjamin offered technical expertise and an ad-sales infrastructure, as well as being an excellent conversational foil.

  2. Nothing really changed with the production of the show when we moved—I’ve produced and edited almost every episode, and Dan never had any input into the content.

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