Arts Desk

Is WaPo’s Book World Podcast Headed for Extinction?

washington post book world

Hopefully not, but Ron Charles, deputy editor of WaPo's Book World, says the paper's top brass have threatened to kill the section's podcast if it can't rally more iTunes subscribers.

There's no concrete  deadline for adding more subscribers, Charles says, or even a goal for how many it needs, just "a general mandate to make sure we're concentrating our efforts on projects that are actually attracting an audience."

That mandate sounds a lot like the one rolled out in a September memo by WaPo Managing Editor Raju Narisetti, which is supposed to rid the paper's website of features and blogs that don't draw enough eyeballs.

Charles doesn't know how many  iTunes users are subscribing to the podcast, but says "it seems to be doing okay relative" to the paper's other podcasts.

The weekly Book World show began on WaPo's now-defunct radio station and eventually migrated to iTunes, where it was produced by Maria Marie Arana until she retired last year, at which point Charles took over.

"Each week we interview two authors reviewed in that week's paper (usually from Outlook)," Charles wrote in an email, "and do a little song 'n dance at the opening and closing."

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