Adam Sachs

On Thursday Apr. 13, SoundStudies@UW is excited to present two events featuring Adam Sachs, Entrepreneur in Residence at The Chernin Group and the former CEO of Midroll Media, a leading podcast network that produces and monetizes popular podcasts including “WTF with Marc Maron” and “Comedy Bang! Bang!”

Public Seminar – “Saving New Sounds: Preserving Podcasts”
Thurs. Apr. 13, 1-2:15pm in Vilas Hall 4070

We are, as commentators have noted, in the midst of a “Golden Age of Podcasts”; a moment where the choice for quality digital audio abounds, and where new voices and listeners connect daily through earbuds, car stereos, home speakers or office computers. Podcasting is just over 10 years old, but it has ushered in an explosion of amateur and professional cultural production.However, this new format is shockingly vulnerable; podcast feeds end abruptly, cease to be maintained, or become housed in proprietary databases, like iTunes, which are difficult to search with any rigor. As the industry grows in popularity, professionalization and commercialization also threaten to streamline production and limit podcasting’s democratic diversity and accessibility. In this talk, Adam Sachs, former CEO of Midroll Media and founder/host of the Wolf Den podcast will join a panel featuring Dr. Jeremy Morris (UW-Madison) and Dana Gerber-Margie (Editor of the Bello Collective and A/V Archivist) to discuss the importance of preserving podcasting’s history and the challenges faced when archiving digital objects.

Keynote Talk – Reformatting an Industry: The Rise Podcasting as a Cultural Form and Business
Thurs. April 13, 4:00-5:30pm in Elvehjem L140

Ever since the term “podcasting” was selected as the word of the year in 2005 by the New Oxford American Dictionary, podcasting has been full of promise, as both a cultural form and a new media industry. But it took until Serial’s break out in 2014 as the fastest-downloaded podcast ever and the emergence of a ‘‘thriving mini-industry’’ made up of advertisers, venture capitalists, and tech start-ups to spark renewed attention to this not-so-new media form. While it has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a largely amateur and hobbyist activity, podcasting still sits uneasily at the intersection of professionalized industry and critical and accessible public outlet for new voices. In this talk, Adam Sachs, former CEO of Midroll Media and founder/host of the Wolf Den podcast, will discuss his experiences in this burgeoning industry, and the implications it has for free-enterprise in the United States. Sachs will address questions such as: “How has increasing industrialization affected podcasting over the last decade?”, “How has podcasting’s professionalization affected its cultural impact and potential?” and “What does the future of podcasting look like?”

Adam Sachs is currently the Entrepreneur in Residence at The Chernin Group and the former CEO of Midroll Media, a leading podcast network that produces and monetizes some of the world’s most popular podcasts, including “WTF with Marc Maron” and “Comedy Bang! Bang!” Midroll is the parent company of Earwolf, home to top-ranked comedy podcasts, the recently launched “Katie Couric”, and the country’s top parenting show, “The Longest Shortest Time.” Sachs led the business through bootstrapped growth and innovation, including the launch of the podcast industry’s first premium subscription service,, and he hosted his own podcast, “The Wolf Den,” about the future of podcasting and digital media. He was named one of Inc. Magazine’s top “30 Entrepreneurs Under 30” in 2011.

This event is sponsored and supported by The University Lectures Committee Fitch Fund, The Department of Communication Arts, The School of Journalism & Mass Communication, The Center for the Humanities and the Sound Studies Borghesi-Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshop in the Humanities, with support from Nancy and David Borghesi and the A. W. Mellon Foundation.