Diversion Podcasts, a division of Diversion Publishing, has launched a new studio and production network to develop and release original narrative non-fiction episodic audio series written and hosted by authors and distributed as podcasts. The move into audio is the result of a partnership between Diversion Publishing CEO Scott Waxman and former SiriusXM Chief Content Officer Mark Francis, who earlier worked at Jones Radio Network and New York rock outlet WNEW (102.7).
“We’ve taken the source material of audiobooks and transformed it with an entirely new approach to production, creating dramatic, educational series that nobody else is doing,” said Waxman. “These shows are like the great stories and information of audiobooks, but far more immersive.”
Diversion Podcasts says it will cover the gamut of genres, from sports to spies, from true crime to true adventure, across history, music and war. Leveraging the thousands of books, hundreds of authors, and dozens of bestsellers under the Diversion Publishing umbrella, the podcast unit will create audio adaptations that will be hosted by the original authors. “Who better to tell these stories than the authors, journalists and storytellers who researched and wrote the books?” said Francis.
The first show from Diversion is The Dream Team Tapes, a joint production with the iHeartPodcast Network. The eight-episode series chronicles the 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team. It’s hosted by Sports Illustrated writer and author Jack McCallum, who authored the podcast’s inspiration, the best-selling book “The Dream Team.” The podcast features exclusive audio from the team’s journey to Olympic Gold, including never-before-heard recordings of NBA legends Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird. The first two episodes of The Dream Team Tapes will be released May 18.
Diversion Podcasts plans to release a total of five original series by the end of summer. Its next podcast, set for release June 1, is The Good Assassin. The show is based on the work of bestselling nonfiction author Stephen Talty. The company says it’s “part detective case, part spy thriller, and part Holocaust history” about how a Mossad agent and a team of Holocaust survivors hunted down and assassinated the fearsome Nazi war criminal known as the Butcher of Latvia.
Then on June 15 it will release The War Queens, a podcast about history’s greatest female battlefield leaders as told by the father-daughter duo, Jonathan and Emily Jordan.
On June 22 Diversion will release Raising Hell from veteran rock journalist Jon Wiederhorn. The podcast will tell the wild stories from heavy metal music’s heaviest and most iconic acts. It will be followed June 29 with the release of Guest of Honor, a podcast about how a 1901 White House dinner with President Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington almost caused a second Civil War.