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Judges Spotlight December 23, 2016

5 Things You Should Know about Alex Blumberg

Co-founder of Gimlet Media, host of the podcast StartUp, and award-winning radio journalist, Alex Blumberg runs one of the most talked-about podcast businesses today.

If you’ve downloaded a podcast in the last year, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across a show from Gimlet Media. Whether you listen to StartUp, ReplyAllHomecoming, or one of the other eight Gimlet shows, Alex Blumberg is the man behind the operation.

Along his journey from nervous entrepreneur trying to pitch investors to podcast business magnet, Alex has always been known as a gifted storyteller. And here at The Webbys, we are psyched to include Alex as a judge in this year’s Awards.

Here are 5 more things to know about Alex Blumberg.

The Business of Listening

Co-founder of Gimlet Media, host of the podcast StartUp, and award-winning radio journalist, Alex Blumberg runs one of the most talked-about podcast businesses today.

Podcasts. Worldwide. Ya Dig?

When it comes to the world of audio and storytelling, Alex Blumberg has been around the block. He produced This American Life for 15 years, co-founded and hosted a little-known NPR show called Planet Money, and in 2014 founded Gimlet Media.

Gimlet is based in Brooklyn, New York, and has quickly gone from 1 show to 16. Per their website, “Gimlet podcasts are downloaded over seven million times per month by listeners from nearly 190 countries worldwide.” That’s some serious growth.

Zach Braff: Blumberg Lookalike?

From headphones to the small screen: The multi-talented Zach Braff is due to direct and star in an ABC television series based on Alex’s founding of Gimlet.

The show will be based on the founding of Gimlet Media and the first season of StartUp. Stay tuned.

You Know Who You Sound Like...?

Some contend there is a specific manner of speaking among alums from This American Life. Alex isn’t exactly sure what you mean…

In an interview in Cincinnati Magazine, Alex says, “I know that I sound like Ira [Glass]. Other people have told me. I guess it’s true, even though I don’t hear it. I’ve adopted Ira’s cadence, like many of us who’ve worked at the show have. It’s not intentional. Ira taught me everything I know about how to tell a radio story, including how to talk on the radio.”

Awards Abound

Alex’s work has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including the Polk, the duPont-Columbia, and the Peabody. Oh yeah, and an Emmy.

What’s more, Gimlet’s podcasts, including StartUp, ReplyAll, Crimetown, and Sampler, consistently top the iTunes charts as well.

Rachel Maddow Officiated His Wedding

Couples get married in front of city hall officials, ministers, and ship boat captains. But when Alex and his now-wife Nazanin were married a few years ago, Rachel Maddow was tapped for officiant duty.

If you listened to the first season of StartUp you are surely familiar with Nazanin Rafsanjani. From making fun of Alex’s shoe choices to his proposed company names, she became a fan favorite on the show. Formerly at MSNBC, she now works as Gimlet’s Creative Director.

Keep up with Alex on Twitter and catch him on StartUp. Be sure to read the rest of our Judges Spotlight features on members of our Executive Academy.

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