Connect with us

BSM Writers

A Conversation With Justin Acri

Published

on

Justin Acri came to sports radio from TV. That isn’t odd in itself. A lot of guys make their name on TV and then either add a radio show to their portfolio or transition into radio. Look at Jim Dunaway in Birmingham or the late CS Keys in San Diego.

It is hard to name a lot of guys though that came up in TV, gave it up for radio, and then went on to become their station’s program director. That is the path that Acri has taken since arriving in Little Rock, Arkansas from Duluth, MN where he was working as a reporter. 

Acri is a busy guy in Little Rock too. Not only is he the the boss at 103.7 the Buzz, but he also hosts his own midday show each weekday starting at 10 am and makes time to serve as the radio voice of the University of Central Arkansas. 

I called Justin Acri the morning after the Arkansas Razorbacks let the College World Series slip through their fingers as a foul ball was lost in the lights by three fielders. His listeners may have been down, but Justin was in good spirits, having just come from a live broadcast where he was set up next to a grill at a meat packing plant.

We talked about his station’s relationship with the Razorbacks, why he wants cup stacking champions on his show, and the controversial Bracket With No Name, a yearly tradition around the NCAA Tournament that some in the media called sexist. 

D: How did what happened last night in the College World Series change show prep for today for you?

J: The Razorbacks move the needle more than anything else in this state. So, we were going to talk about the game regardless of the outcome. I think everyone in the sports media in this state has a little bit of a fandom that they wear on their sleeve, probably to a little bit of the chagrin of the old head print guys, but there’s definitely an element of fandom to the broadcast here. 

We carry Razorback football, basketball, and baseball so we’re very Razorback-centric here at The Buzz, but our hosts are also critical. So again, it’s disappointing and we’ll point out what went wrong. The role we kinda played today on our show was to pick everybody up and say “hey, you’ve got another game”. We pep-talked our way through three hours today.

D: How critical can you be before you’re going to hear about it? I know you’re not going out of your way to bash the Razorbacks, but they’ve had some lean years in football and basketball, so how critical can you be before you hear from the network or advertisers?

J: What’s good is unless we are infringing on their sales side and sponsorships at the University, they never talk to us about what was said on the air. There is a perception from our listenership, I think, that we are beholden to the Razorbacks because they are going to pull our credentials. They aren’t going to pull our credentials, so we don’t care about that.

Different hosts are more critical than others. During the (football coach Bret) Beilema years, you’re right. There were a number of our hosts that were very harsh and critical. I wouldn’t say calling for his head, but it was just shy of that. I try to be a little more level-headed and take an even-keel approach. I’m certainly invested in games and I will be pulling for the Razorbacks tonight, but I’ll do my best to keep it even keel. 

There were certainly a lot of things wrong with the program the last few years and you point those things out. You hang your hat on offensive line play, and the offensive line isn’t good. The running game isn’t very good, and that is what your bread and butter is. Defense hasn’t been good for a whbile, so as long as you aren’t reveling in it, I think it’s fine. We don’t get any pushback for the most part.

D: I have always heard from people that cover Arkansas that Bret Beilema was a great guy and a lot of fun to be around. What are the mental exercises you go through to turn off your feelings about the guy you enjoy having in for an interview and be critical when you have to be critical?

J: Oh, I did. I liked him a lot. I look at that a different way. I like (Arkansas baseball coach) Dave van Horn a lot. He’s not the most gregarious guy to have on the air. Now, I’m sure if they win tonight he will be tomorrow. 

I loved being around Bret Beilema. He’s the kind of guy you would want to go grab a beer with. I love (Arkansas men’s basketball coach) Mike Anderson. He’s just so full of joy and a great guy to be around. Dave’s just really serious.

All the coaches have their own personality and you just have to separate that out when you talk about them. But yeah, Beilema was a great, great guy.

D: So when you are doing your show, do you try to turn off your program director brain, or is that something you know will just never turn off?

J: Oh, I don’t ever turn it off. I’ve always got…I don’t want to call it an ulterior motive…I’ve always got a plan, let’s say, for what I want to say. Some of it you script out, but usually those are just some bullet points so I know what I want to get in, like if a particular guy is playing great. I think you have to be real pointed on that when fans aren’t going to take it that far. 

Again, we’re all disappointed when they lose. I want to see all the Arkansas teams do well, especially Central Arkansas since I am connected there. Arkansas State has had some good years in football too. We’re very much a cheerleader for the state. I want us to take a positive approach.

I know some bigger markets in the Northeast, their whole thing is to be critical and cranky. That’s just not our way. I want us to be positive. 

That’s why I got into sports in the first place. There are so many positive stories to tell. I don’t care if it is a cup stacking championship. If it is an Arkansan doing well nationally we’re going to praise him. We had a guy on not too long ago that is trying to break into the WWE. He lives up in the Northeast now, but he is from Arkansas. We had him on and he talked about the road there. He is doing great on the smaller circuits. We just try to celebrate success regardless of whether it is high school all the way up to the pros. As long as there’s an Arkansas connection.

D: So you’ll always give time on air to local stories over national stories no matter how big the national story might be? 

J: Yeah. We have a very local approach. I think you’d be hard pressed, and you would know better than I do, but we’re a small market, a reasonably mid-sized market, doing live 6a to 7p. Most markets and stations our size are going to have at least one national show on during the day.

Our philosophy has been to be ultra-hyper-local. The Razorbacks are obviously a big part of that. It’s a Cowboys state. It’s a Cardinals state. But we do try to talk about everything.

I think our listeners have come to understand that we don’t have an agenda. We just want to talk about positive stories. I think that is more pleasant to listen to than a guy that is grousing about something all the time.

D: So when you say that it is a Cardinals state, let’s say the team goes to the World Series, on a Monday morning in mid-October is the Razorback age from the weekend still the A-block for all your shows?

J: It would be, but we would still talk about the World Series, and we would probably talk about it regardless of who’s in it. I think most guys in our industry wear their fandom on their sleevses. So, I am a Cubs guy. I am an Iowa State grad. I realize I can get away with talking about the Cubs, if only to pick at the Cardinal fans. I’m a Packers fan. I know I can talk about Aaron Rodgers, because he is a star. People will tolerate that.

I know that nobody in our listening area cares about Iowa State. It is very very rare, unless they do something like upset Oklahoma, that I can talk about that.

D: I would imagine fans were paying attention last year after the Beilema firing. Some of them had to think that (Iowa State coach) Matt Campbell would be a candidate for the Arkansas job, right?

J: Yeah, but that would be the only reason for sure.

D: With how local you and your staff focus on content being, could you hear tape of someone who is really good but from…say Des Moines and think “that guy would be great on The Buzz” or do they have to have an Arkansas connection in your mind?

J: No, last time we did a search to build a show, we brought in a kid from Seattle that I liked a lot. He was really really good and was right there at the end, but we had two guys that were probably overqualified. One had done TV in the market before. The other had done radio here for a long time. 

All things being equal, sure you want a guy that is familiar with the market or at least the Southeast and the way things are here. If you’re a good broadcaster, you’re a good broadcaster. I’d be open to anyone from anywhere as long as it is the right fit.

D: During your day how do you balance show prep versus time you have to spend as the program director?

J: I try to be up everyday by 4:30 or 5, read the paper, and go to the gym. That way I can head into the office around 6:30 and knock out the administrative stuff early. Then I’ll prep for a coupe of hours. Sometimes though, like today, I was gathering all the info from last night’s game. Of course, too, you have the stuff from the night before you were already planning on talking about. 

Then it just depends. Sometimes I am out pretty quickly after my show ends at 1. Sometimes I am there until 6pm. 

I try to get most of it done early in the morning. Plus, that way I’m there if my morning guys need me. That’s the real battleground time slot for us. I assume it is that way in most markets. Other stations, that’s where most of their resources are poured into. Our afternoon show doesn’t have a whole lot of competition.

In the middle of the day you’re somewhat hamstrung, because it is an active listening format. People are either going to make it a point to listen at work if they can or wherever they are. But we’re always going to put most of our resources into the morning, because that is where the hardest fight has been.

D: I would guess your next big event broadcast is SEC Media Days, right?

J: That’s exactly right.

D: So as a programmer and then also as a show host, what needs to happen there for you to say “That was a win for us! Going there was a good use of time for The Buzz.”?

J: There’s really two functions there. You’re getting stories and sounds for the day, but you’re also making relationships with other reporters and coaches and ADs and of course sports information guys. Most of our guys have good experience, the ones that go. They don’t really need to do it, but it is always good to have it, you know? 

There’s typically a live show going on from there while another guy is off gathering sound. There are always stories to find too. We’ll send three guys: 2 hosts and a reporter. So, it’s a guy from the morning show, a guy from the afternoon show, and then a reporter goes along to fill in the gaps. 

From a programmer’s side, you want to make sure we are getting everything and benefitting from those face-to-face meetings and touching all opportunities with people we are going to be covering or people we need to pick their brains for content for later. 

From a host’s standpoint, I want the headlines. Does a coach answer a question in a funny way? Does a coach answer a question in an irritated way as Saban has a tendency to do? Obviously Beilema was gold for SEC Media Days. I am typically looking for what is entertaining, because there typically isn’t a lot of substance coming out of there. 

D: What is the overall reaction to (Arkansas’ new football coach) Chad Morris from a fan standpoint? 

J: I would call it cautious optimism. At least, that’s how I feel. I don’t think I have any reason to doubt the guy per se, but I don’t have any reason to be over the moon right now. 

Look, he says the right things. He’s very energetic. He’s obviously great at engaging with high school coaches and players, so it’s exciting. He’s got a great background being a part of championship programs and building from scratch where he was (SMU) before coming to Arkansas. I’m just trying not to be too over-the-moon about it.

I was really excited about Beilema when he came, because I like his sort of chip-on-the shoulder approach. It worked briefly. They couldn’t keep it trending in the right direction. I grew up watching him play in Iowa, so I have a different connection. Then when Paul Rhodes came down to join the staff, as an Iowa State grad, that was great.

As far as Morris goes, I think he has been really well received. The bottom line is, man, everybody in this fanbase was starving for something different. Something new. And it wasn’t just Beilema. I’ve never seen the kind of outcry or groundswell for a change at the athletic director position. It’s not like Jeff Long didn’t do a lot of good things. He did, but he was just never embraced by the fanbase. He was looked at very much as a CEO guy. 

Hunter Yurachek has been fantastic. For us, it gives fans something to be positive about. Being negative pretty quick. That was all the time with Long and Beilema, but it really picked up during the last 18 months of his time there.

D: The University of Arkansas was in a weird situation where the SEC sort of legislated that the University of Missouri would be your new hated rival. What is coverage of that game like for you guys? Has the fanbase taken to the rivalry?

J: I don’t mind it as much, because it is a regional game and that is good. Making it a rivalry and a trophy game right out of the gate I thought was a little silly, but it is a natural rival. The LSU game is still big. Playing them every year and beating them is a big deal. 

It did feel a little forced, and I am sure the (Texas) A&M rivalry feels forced to LSU. I don’t think it is a negative though, because it will grow. And by the way, Arkansas hasn’t faired to well in that game. It’s funny too, because when Missouri was coming in, and A&M was coming in, there was a lot of disregard for Missouri in this fanbase.

I don’t know if anyone was paying attention to what they did in football or men’s basketball, and look at them now. They have won their division a couple of times and I am over here saying “yeah, I tried to tell ya” and now Mizzou basketball looks like it is going to be really good this year.

D: I know that when Arkansas came into the conference, what? Like 25 years ago? Anyway, they were forced into this rivalry with South Carolina that only made sense because they were the two new teams, but Arkansas developed this rivalry with LSU that was really fun and always seemed to have a really wacky ending. Losing that from the Thanksgiving weekend has to be weird for the listeners. 

J: Yeah, it was. The other thing too is when the game is in Little Rock, the tailgating here is so exponentially better than what it is in Fayetteville. So that was a really fun way to spend Thanksgiving weekend and of course the LSU fans come up.

Look, it was a really fun rivalry, but it is good natured. LSU fans love to party. Razorback fans like to party. It was this great, fun thing. Every other year it was in Little Rock and then that changed, so it kinda lost its luster despite the fact that it wasn’t the last game of the year.

D: Baton Rouge is the only place I’ve ever been as an opposing fan where I feared for my life.

J: That’s what I’ve heard. I have never had the pleasure. 

D: Can you give me the history of how the Bracket With No Name thing unfolded? Not the start of the promotion, but how did the controversy surrounding it unfold?

J: It’s funny, because every couple of years someone would raise a stink about it in a local magazine or in the newspaper. They would write something about it and then it would go away. The difference this time is the news director at a TV station said something that took hold. His reporters started following along and then other reporters started following along. You know how things go viral?

We were talking about changing it long before the guy ever said anything about it. The host, Tommy Smith, that had done it every year was getting tired of it anyway. 

D: It was called “The Babe Bracket” initially, right?

J: Right. That ran its course. We just sort of tweaked it this year and made it into sort of an all star thing. 

For a lot of guys 35-55, they don’t pay real close attention to Hollywood, particularly if they are real, giant sports fans like most of our listeners. So it served two purposes. There was a national side and a local side. It exposed some of these listeners to attractive actresses they had never heard of and the other side had us plugged in with local female anchors. It took off and it continued on for years.

Look, I’m very sensitive to that kind of thing. I used to work in TV, so I try to be very respectful and sensitive to the women that work in local media. I want to put a spotlight on them for their work and professional integrity, but let’s be honest. Men and women, if they work in TV they are typically very attractive. 

I never thought it was done in a demeaning way. I can’t tell you that a caller never said something in appropriate or called in to talk about a physical trait of a woman that we didn’t want to become part of the conversation, but you can’t really control it. It’s live radio.

I thought the hosts always handled it in an appropriate way. It was always fun. The local women came on air and played along. We’ve had past winners that were overjoyed to win just like, a sash and a crown. 

It was a fun thing. It really was. We’re in such a hyper-sensitive environment right now. If it was done in a mean way or in a way that was misogynistic, which I guess you can say it inherently is. Some people feel that way and won’t hear any different, but truly if I thought it was done in a disrespectful way I would have shut it down before it got to that point.

D: Is there a lesson in this for you or for other sports stations about the way the culture moves? Is this a situation of these controversial promotions are not worth it anymore because the downside is always worse than the upside is good?

J: Well, you gotta look at it this way and this is how I look at everything. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s right and just because it is unpopular doesn’t mean it’s wrong. So, the popular thing to do and the easy thing to do would have been to walk away from it and just shut it down, but again, I don’t think anyone was doing anything wrong. The participants never felt like it was a negative thing, at least the ones that came back and participated over and over again. So, we continued it.

D: When you have conversations with your other hosts about where they can make improvements or things you need them to do, is that ever uncomfortable or do you ever feel added pressure because you are on air?

J: You know, there is the element of trying to practice what I preach. I wouldn’t ask the guys to do anything or try anything I wouldn’t do myself, but at the end of the day that’s what I get paid to do. 

I make suggestions. I make recommendations, and it may just be little things. Be sure to reintroduce your guest. Don’t eat on the air. My guys have been doing this a long time. I’m lucky. I have a lot of experienced guys. There aren’t a lot of young guys here that need coaching on a daily basis. 

We still talk. We still strategize to some degree. I think the guys respect me enough that we can talk and they don’t take it personally, like I think I am better than them or that I think I am doing it right and they are wrong. Look, there are certain things that guys on my own show do that I do not like, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I would never tell them to stop because it’s just a taste thing. 

The other thing too is doing four local shows in a market this size with no local teams, you have to find a way to differentiate and stand out from the other shows. We all have to be different. Everyone needs to come to work with a different approach. 

BSM Writers

Grant Cohn’s Trolling of Players is Unacceptable

After an altercation between Javon Kinlaw of the San Francisco 49ers and Grant Cohn, it became clear that Kinlaw was being trolled by a member of the media.

Published

on

grant cohn

Grant Cohn is a media member who writes for the FanNation 49ers blog on SI.com. He also talks about the team on his YouTube channel, which has over 48,000 subscribers as of noon Thursday. His father, Lowell, was a longtime columnist in the Bay Area.

Javon Kinlaw is a defensive lineman, whom the San Francisco 49ers drafted in the first round despite concerns about the durability of his knee. He played four games last season, his second in the league.

The two were involved in two confrontations this week. The first one occurred off to the side of the 49ers’ practice field. Kinlaw apparently cursed at Cohn and knocked his hat from atop his head. Later in the day, Kinlaw again swore at Cohn, this time after joining a live stream on Cohn’s YouTube channel. (Side note: I have never felt so freaking old as I did while typing that previous sentence.)

OK. That’s my attempt at an absolutely straightforward and objective summary of a situation that scares the hell out of me. Not because a player was mad at a member of the media. I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve seen it happen to others. It’s my opinion that this has been happening for as long as human beings have scrutinized the athletic efforts of other human beings.

What scared me was that I was seeing some version of the future of sports media. A future in which media members behaved like YouTube trolls, acting purposely ridiculous or antagonistic to initiate conflicts that could be turned into more conflicts that would could be gleefully recounted as content for the audience. I thought that because that’s pretty much what Cohn did:https://youtu.be/4Hf9sjBttFY

Cohn essentially bragged about the number of different things he said that may have prompted Kinlaw’s reaction, and you know what? It worked. Kinlaw got mad. He confronted Cohn. Twice. TMZ published a story about it. So did SFGate.com.

This is troll behavior. You know, the online pests who say or do something intended to provoke a reaction, and once they get that reaction, they recount and scrutinize that reaction with an eye toward triggering another reaction. Lather, rinse repeat. Increasingly, entire online media ecosystems consist of nothing more than people who don’t like each other talking about how much they don’t like one another.

I’m not going to pretend this is entirely new in sports media. Sports columnists have been known to make reputations with their willingness to be critical of the home team. A huge part of Skip Bayless’ brand is his unwavering insistence on highlighting Lebron James’ perceived flaws. Stephen A. Smith has engaged in public feuds with players, namely Kevin Durant.

I do see a difference between this and what Cohn did, though. The reaction Bayless and Smith are primarily concerned with is from their audience, not their subjects. The subjects may get mad, but that’s not the primary goal. At least I hope it’s not.

What happens if that is the primary goal? What if someone is offering opinions not because it’s what they really think, but because they want to provoke a response from the subject? Media careers have been built on less.

I don’t know if that’s the case with Cohn. I’ve never talked to him in my life, and even if I had, it’s impossible to know someone’s true intent. But in listening to everything he said AFTER the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, I’m not willing to assume that Cohn was operating in good faith. Here’s how Cohn described the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, which occurred as practice was beginning.

“In the training room, I saw Javon Kinlaw, who is the king of the training room,” Cohn said. “He’s usually in the training room.”

Cohn said the two locked eyes, but were separated by about 70 yards at the time. Kinlaw then walked across the field to where the reporters were gathered. He stood directly behind Cohn.

“So I turn, and I say, ‘Wassup, Mook Dawg?’ “ Cohn said, referencing the nickname on Kinlaw’s Instagram account. “And he doesn’t say anything. And I say, ‘Why are you looking at me like that, Javon?’ “

“And then he said, ‘What are you going to do about it you bitch-ass,’ and then he said one more word that I can’t say,” Cohn said. “And then I turned to face him, and I said, ‘Oh, it’s like that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’s like that.’ And then he knocked the hat off my head.”

OK. Pause. In my experience, when your job is to publicly describe and critique the performance and attitudes of professional athletes, there will be times in which the athletes do not care for your description or your critique. Some of those who are displeased will make their objections known to you.

However, there are two things that are unusual here: First, the fact Kinlaw knocked the hat off Cohn’s head, which is unacceptable. Second, Cohn then posted a video on  YouTube to not only talk about what had happened, but state he had been so critical of Kinlaw for so long he wasn’t sure what specifically sparked Kinlaw’s anger.

“Javon, what are you upset about?” Cohn asked toward the end of  his video. “Is it the fact that I said you have an 80-year-old knee? Is it the fact that I said that you’re a terrible pass rusher and you’re just a two-down player? Is it the fact that I said the Niners shouldn’t have drafted you and should have taken Tristan Wirfs instead. Is it the fact that I said that you’re unprofessional and immature.

“It escapes me, which of the hundred negative things I’ve said about Javon Kinlaw the last couple of years, moved him to approach me in such a way, but you know what, I applaud Javon Kinlaw for coming to speak to me directly, and I ask you, what do you think Javon Kinlaw is mad about.”

Cohn was trolling Kinlaw. No other word for it.

That night, Cohn was conducting a live stream on YouTube, which Kinlaw joined, while apparently eating dinner, to make declarative statements about the size of Cohn’s genitalia — among other things.

Neither one looked particularly impressive. Not Kinlaw, who was profane and combative with a member of the media, at one point making a not-so-subtle threat. Not Cohn, who asked Kinlaw, “Do you think I’m scared of you, Javon?” He also said, “I don’t even know why you’re mad, Javon.”

I think Kinlaw would have been better off ignoring Cohn. If I was Kinlaw’s employer, I would probably prefer he not log into video livestreams to make testicular comparisons. But honestly, I don’t care about what Kinlaw did. At all. He’s not on a team I root for. He didn’t physically harm anyone. He used some bad words in public.

I am bothered not just by Cohn’s actions, but by some of the reactions to them because of what I think this type of behavior will do to an industry I have worked in for 25 years. Credentialed media members who behave like Cohn did this week make it harder for other media members who are acting in good faith. Preserving access for people like him diminishes what that access will provide for those who aren’t trying to use criticism to create conflict that will become content.

I think Cohn knew what he was doing. In his livestream, before Kinlaw joined, Cohn stated he was not scared because he knew — by virtue of his father’s history in the business — that if Kinlaw had touched him he would potentially be entitled monetary compensation.

By now, it should be pretty apparent how problematic this whole thing is and yet on Thursday, a number of 49ers fans online were sticking up for Cohn as just doing his job. Dieter Kurtenbach, a Bay Area columnist, Tweeted: “Javon Kinlaw does not know that @GrantCohn was built for this.” Built for what? Winning Internet fights? Kurtenbach also deleted a Tweet in which he called Kinlaw “soft.”

Cohn’s father, Lowell, is a former columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. He promoted the first video his son made on Tuesday:

Sorry, I don’t find it funny because it’s another step down a path in which media members seek reactions at the expense of information. Where they look to make fun of players instead of learning about them. They’ll stop acting like journalists and start acting like the trolls who make their money by instigating a conflict, which they then film: “Jake Paul, reporting live from 49ers practice …”

If that’s the case, thank God I’m about to age out of this business, entirely. I’m 47 years old and I can’t believe there’s anyone in our industry who thinks what Cohn did this week is acceptable.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 75

Published

on

A new episode of Media Noise is all about reaction. Demetri reacts to the ManningCast’s big win at the Sports Emmys. Danny O’Neil reacts to people reacting to Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Las Vegas and Andy Masur reacts to John Skipper’s comments about Charles Barkley.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Bron Heussenstamm Blends Bleav Podcasts Advertising with SiriusXM

Bron Heussenstamm, the CEO of the Bleav Podcast Network says blending podcasting advertising with satellite radio’s reach is a victory for both sides.

Published

on

Last week, the Bleav (pronounced believe) Podcast Network announced a deal with SiriusXM to make all 32 NFL team-specific Bleav pods available on the SXM app. SXM can also air Bleav content on any of its sports channels. Each NFL Bleav show pairs a former player with a host to discuss team issues. Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, and Pac-Man Jones are amongst the former players Bleav has signed as talent.

I have hosted a Bleav podcast about Boise State football -the Kingdom of POD. I am usually provided 1-3 advertisers per episode by the network and get paid by the download. My subject matter is regional, so my take-home pay is usually under four figures. I have enjoyed the technical assistance and cross-promotion I receive and I enjoyed meeting Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm. Bron is Los Angeles-based, a USC graduate, and founded Bleav in 2018. We discussed the SXM deal, podcast advertising, and the future. 

Will the podcast advertisers be carried on the SXM distribution platform?

Yes, Bleav baked-in advertisements and hosts read ads are distributed across all platforms. This enables the host to do their show once through, making it as easy as possible for the hosts and consistent for the advertisers.

Bron Heussenstamm, CEO Bleav Podcast Network

How is advertising on Bleav different? 

We want to be more than a ‘host read ad’ or a ‘digital insert’ with our advertising partners. When companies work with Bleav shows and talent, those companies can receive our omnichannel of distribution points—podcast platforms, YouTube, socials, streamers, TV, radio, and more. This allows for consistent branding across all platforms: great talent presenting great companies to fans and consumers no matter where they consume content. 

What is the growth pattern for podcasts that you see? 

The industry trades have presented 400%-800% percent growth over the next ten years. Once the COVID fog lifted, we really saw these gains. Sports are always going to be at the forefront of culture. The increases in all sports sectors have certainly carried into the digital space. 

SXM has started with NFL shows but can also air more Bleav content – what does that look like? 

We’ve started with our NFL network of 32 team shows hosted by a former player. We’ve kept the door open for our NCAAB, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, Basketball, and Soccer networks. We’re happy for our hosts to be part of such a tremendous company and platform. SiriusXM can continue to amplify its voice and give fans the access and insight only a player can provide. 

The Interactive Advertising Bureau-IAB- says podcast revenue grew 72% last year to $1.4B and is expected to grow to $2B this year and double to $4B by 2024. Have you seen similar growth? What is driving the industry now, and what will be the primary cause of growth by 2024?  

There is a myriad of reasons for the growth. I‘ll lean into a couple. 

At Bleav, we launch and maximize the digital arm of industry leaders. The technology upgrades to allow hosts to have a world-class show — simulcast in both audio and video – from their home has led to an explosion of content. With this, the level of content creators has risen. Having a YouTube, RSS feed, podcast, and more is now part of the brand, right alongside Twitter and Instagram. 

If a company wants to advertise on Bleav in Chargers, we know exactly how many people heard Lorenzo Neal endorse their product. We can also safely assume they like the Chargers. The tracking of demo specifics for companies is huge. It’s a fantastic medium to present products to the right fans and consumers.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.