NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life have teamed up to acquire Pocket Casts, an open platform podcast creators to create and distribute podcasts, the companies announced Thursday.

Why it matters: It's a shared attempt by the radio industry to push the podcast industry forward, which they hope will help bolster public radio. NPR, WNYC and others have been champions of the podcast movement, with hit successes in "Serial" and "Freakonomics."

  • Former iHeartRadio General Manager Owen Grover has been named CEO of Pocket Casts as a part of the announcement.
  • The groups involved in the acquisition say they have collectively experienced more than 170 million downloads per month, thanks in large part to the growth of podcasts.
  • In a statement, Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio, which includes WNYC Studios, says the acquisition will help create a "more tailored discovery experience" that helps listeners find their next must-listen podcast.

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Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread

A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.