BEIRUT — Dubai-based independent podcast company Kerning Cultures Network suspended operations on its flagship, eponymous show last month and laid off its entire team due to a lack of financing, former founding producer and audio editor Dana Ballout announced on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday.
Established in 2015, Kerning Cultures Network describes itself as a podcast that has set new standards for narrative audio content and journalism across the Middle East and North Africa.
Women-led and with over 30 members, the podcast states on its website that it has achieved several milestones, including securing a TV series option.
"We make 16+ award-winning, chart-topping Arabic and English podcasts. At Kerning Cultures, we tell the kinds of stories in which we can actually see ourselves. Because we love stories — really good stories, and there are so many from our region just waiting to be told," the podcast's website adds.
A lack of financing
"If you haven't heard, Kerning Cultures suspended operations last month, and the entirety of our team (including me) was laid off due to a lack of financing," Ballout wrote on X on Thursday. "It's been an incredible 8 years at KC, and I am so sad the journey ended so abruptly."
"I know the podcast meant a lot to so many of us. It filled my heart every time someone sent a note of support or stopped me at bar, cafe or wedding to share how you felt about the podcast," Ballout added. "There’s a lesson in this for me/us: to have more ownership over our work and the stories we develop/care about so much. And with that, I look forward to telling more stories from our incredible/insane/beautiful/rich region and its diaspora. And doing so with integrity and foresight."
Kerning Cultures Network itself has made no announcement regarding suspension of the show.
'The Lebanon Heist'
The show revealed in March that it planned to release a series this year titled "The Lebanon Heist," billing it as the first true crime bilingual podcast tackling the financial crisis in the country. The series was anticipated to be released this fall, Kerning Cultures wrote on their X account at the time.
"The Lebanon Heist" was supposed to bring to light the account of the country's economic downfall, employing exclusive interviews, investigative reporting and archival materials, according to an article by Arab News.
The podcast also reportedly documents the ongoing legal proceedings involving Riad Salameh, the central bank's governor. Salameh is facing allegations including money laundering, embezzlement, forgery, illicit enrichment, and violations of tax laws.
Correction: Kerning Cultures is suspending its flagship eponymous show. It is unclear what the status of the network is at this time. L'Orient Today regrets the error.