The fate of several Ozy Media podcasts is up in the air after the company announced Friday it would be closing down and laying off its roughly 75-person workforce. Ozy Media quickly collapsed five days after the New York Times last week published a story that raised several questions about the company inflating its audience numbers and actions taken by its executive team. That included allegations a member of its leadership team impersonated a YouTube executive during a conference call with Goldman Sachs bankers in February as Ozy was trying to raise $40 million. Within days several big advertisers including Chevrolet, Walmart, Facebook, and Target reportedly put their spending with Ozy on hold.
The podcasts created by Ozy includes The Carlos Watson Show, which was hosted by the company’s creator. He also hosted the When Katty Met Carlos podcast with former BBC anchor Katty Kay. She exited the company last week. Other podcasts include Flashback, Future of X, Ozy Confidential, The Thread, Take On America under Head of Podcast Sean Braswell.
Ozy Media in January 2020 announced a multiyear agreement to coproduce a series of podcasts with the iHeartPodcast Network. The companies first formed an alliance in June 2018 and iHeart is also an investor in Ozy Media. That could allow the podcasts to live on under the iHeart umbrella, although no announcements have been made.
Watson told the New York Times on Sunday that what they built attracted an audience of “smart” Millennials and GenXers to Ozy. “I put everything I have into this company,” he said. “We tried to do what we could to hopefully live out a set of values about inclusivity and growth and innovation and change and possibility. Those were real things.”