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New Pocket Casts CEO addresses concerns following buyout

CEO Owen Grover discussed the future direction of the podcast app and why you needn't worry about privacy issues.

Published onMay 8, 2018

  • Pocket Casts’ new CEO Owen Grover has spoken out about what’s in store for the podcast app following its recent buyout.
  • Grover said that the company isn’t pursuing advertising as a monetization method and that app permissions would remain unintrusive.
  • There are also no plans for Pocket Casts to begin tracking user location.

Owen Grover, the new Pocket Casts CEO, has addressed concerns surrounding the company’s recent takeover. In a blog post penned earlier today (via Reddit), Grover tackled questions regarding the future direction of the podcast app and potential privacy issues.

The podcast app company was bought out by a public radio group comprised of NPR, WNYC, WBEZ and This American Life last week. At the time, the Pocket Casts team wrote that “nothing was changing” with the app and that it would only be improved thanks to additional resources. This may not have been enough to quell the fears of long-time fans, however, prompting Grover’s most recent statements.

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Grover refuted suggestions that the app would be used as a platform to harvest user data, stating that this would remain at the minimum required to provide the necessary services (like device-to-device synchronization). In a similar vein, Grover said that the company is not in the “ad sales business” and that it isn’t interested in pursuing advertising as a means of monetization.

Grover also discussed whether Pocket Casts would devolve into a vehicle purely for content from the four radio producers which bought it. Grover confirmed that Pocket Casts will continue to have shows from the aforementioned producers, as it always did, but that it will also continue to deliver “unique and diverse content from all producers.”

Grover’s response to the possibility that Pocket Casts could start tracking user location was particularly interesting, given how prevalent this request is among Android apps. He wrote:

“We don’t need your location data. We don’t want your location data. We won’t be collecting or storing your location data. Where you go day to day is none of our business…I have no idea why people even think we’d do that.”

It’s always a worry when a big organization purchases one of your favorites, and it remains to be seen exactly what will become of the app down the road. The communication surrounding this move so far has been positive, however, and Pocket Casts is still made up of the same team members for now.

“Our core values will never change, but if you want to remain cynical you’re welcome to monitor our Privacy Policy like a hawk and look for updates,” wrote Grover. You can find it here if you want to take him up on that. 

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