It has been nearly two weeks since Facebook’s June 21 announcement that podcast listening was added to the platform. The plan was a limited roll-out with four selected podcasters. To quote FB:
“To start, the initial slate of podcasts will include Joe Budden of The Joe Budden Podcast; ‘Jess Hilarious’ of Carefully Reckless from The Black Effect Podcast Network and iHeartRadio; Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin, and Jac Vanek of the LadyGang; and Nicaila Matthews Okome of Side Hustle Pro. We’ll continue to add more podcasts in the coming weeks.”
We were keen to experience the new product, which promises uninterrupted listening to podcasts while scrolling around Facebook — much like Facebook’s continuous video playback, we imagine. Although Facebook didn’t promise an immediate launch for any of the four selected producers, we dared to imagine that it was a controlled roll-out with their enthusiastic participation.
Here is the status of each Facebook profile in the elite group:
Joe Budden (https://www.facebook.com/JoeBuddenPod): No show. Promotions of new episodes link to Apple, Google, Soundcloud, and Patreon.
Jess Hilarious (https://www.facebook.com/JessHilarious): No show. New episode promotions include 30-second video clips. Fans are also told to visit the podcast web page for listening.
LadyGang (https://www.facebook.com/TheLadyGang/): No show. New episodes are promoted with short video clips. The entire page is dissed by the group, which tells users to visit a “secret FB group” — many users complain they can’t find it. New episode announcements link to the PodcastOne hosting network.
Side Hustle Pro (https://www.facebook.com/SideHustlePro/): No show. New episodes are promoted with short video clips. Users are linked to the full episode on YouTube, and informed (without links) they can also listen in Apple and Spotify.
Summary: Three of the four launch partners strive to move listeners off Facebook entirely. LadyGang appears to be building a private fan group on a gated Facebook page, but baffles users with insufficient information.
In the meantime, we find zero pointers within Facebook to the existence of a single podcast available for on-platform listening. Podcasting does not exist in the main menu of the browser experience next to Pages, Videos, Marketplace, and Groups. Same for the Android app main menu — and digging into the pull-down menu of options, the word “podcast” does not appear.
We look forward to Facebook’s next steps in its breakthrough podcasting initiative.