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Culture

Public radio giants, including NPR and This American Life, buy Pocket Casts

Owen Grover, former executive vice president and general manager at iHeartRadio, will serve as CEO for the podcasting app.

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NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life have come together to buy podcasting app Pocket Casts.

Pocket Casts

Four public media organizations -- NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life -- said Thursday that they're purchasing podcasting app Pocket Casts. 

Pocket Casts, launched in 2008, is owned by Australian mobile app developer Shifty Jelly. The financial terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed. 

Owen Grover, former executive vice president and general manager at iHeartRadio, will serve as CEO. Pocket Casts will operate as a joint venture, with founders Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic serving in leadership roles, NPR said in a statement. The current staff and developer team will also stay on board. 

"Pocket Casts will enable us to forge a closer relationship with our listeners, provide audiences with more ways to enjoy audio programming, and create a more tailored discovery experience that helps listeners find their next must-listen podcast," Laura Walker, president and CEO of New York Public Radio, which includes WNYC Studios, said in a statement.

The move is arguably fitting given that public radio organizations are the force behind some of the most popular podcasts, including "Serial," "Radiolab" and "TED Radio Hour." The purchase comes as companies like Apple and Spotify vie for greater control in the podcasting space. 

In a blog post, Ivanovic said partnering with the public radio giants was the perfect decision. 

"When a combined group comprised of WNYC, NPR, WBEZ and This American Life approached us with the goal of partnering for the good of the entire podcast industry, we knew that this opportunity was something else entirely," he said. "Everything from their not for profit mission focus, to their unwavering belief that open and collaborative wins over closed walled gardens resonated deeply with us."