Midroll Media hires WNYC’s Chris Bannon as Chief Content Officer

chris bannon 400hMidroll Media announced today that Chris Bannon, currently VP of Content Development and Production at public radio’s WNYC, will join Midroll as Chief Content Officer starting March 16. RAIN News spoke to Chris Bannon and Midroll Media CEO Adam Sachs about the appointment and the opportunity in podcasting.

“We feel now more than ever there is opportunity to reach an entirely new audience” Adam Sachs told us. “The launch of Serial brought a new mainstream audience to podcasting. There’s more interest in the space, and also more competition. We’re well positioned to take advantage of the momentum, but we have been missing a critical piece — a chief content officer. We’ve been wanting to hire into this role for months.”

Bannon holds a content development role at WNYC that has ranged over several well-known programs, and even station launches (he launched WQXR as a public radio station following its acquisition by WNYC, and also New Jersey Public Radio). Bannon has overseen Freakonomics RadioThe Brian Lehrer ShowSoundcheck, and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, among others.

Bannon’s role will include a mentoring aspect with existing shows and hosts, as well as development of new programs.

“It’s a great opportunity for me in a number of ways,” Bannon told RAIN. ” I’m excited to work with talent here already. Then there is the whole creative side. What is Midroll not yet doing that it could be doing? What kind of content do we want to make? Where do we think the audience is going? We’ll decide as a team what the creative vision is going forward.”

Midroll Media is an advertising network representing over 200 podcasts to marketers. It incorporates two home-grown networks Earwolf and Wolfpop, which comprise the owned-and-operated programs. Adam Sachs told us that the O&O shows make up 18 percent of Midroll’s portfolio. The company exclusively represents all 200-plus shows.

Sachs is clearly optimistic about the future of podcasting. “We are making our bet that podcasting is going to take over ‘share of ear,’ and become the go-to audio medium. We see these trends across all media. Video has gone from network television to streaming, and on-demand. The same is true for audio. Cars are going to be increasingly connected to 4G Internet , so you can connect to podcasts more easily in the car. The Apple podcast app is now native to the iPhone screen. We believe podcasting is the future of audio.”

Brad Hill