The big podcast headline from Entercom on Wednesday may’ve been its acquisition of Cadence 13 and Pineapple Street Media, but podcasts will also play a key role in another digital expansion also in the works. Entercom’s Radio.com Sports Digital Network will launch later this month with a mix of daily live sports talk programming and more than 75 hours of original podcast content weekly. “Together these moves will make Entercom a powerful leading player in this rapidly growing segment of the audio market,” CEO David Field told analysts on the company’s quarterly earnings call.
The Radio.com Sports Digital Network is an expansion of the sports brand that Entercom initially launched in February to leverage the company’s portfolio of sports content, much of which comes from sports talk radio brands like “The Fan” WFAN in New York, “98.5 The Sports Hub” WBZ-FM in Boston and “Sports Radio 94” WIP Philadelphia.
“It is the perfect complement to our unrivaled platform in local sports which includes most of the nation’s leading sports talk stations and personalities along with the most desirable play-by-play relationships,” Field said. It’s also a new way to target advertising dollars. Entercom says it has already scored ZipRecruiter and HIMS as launch partners of the new network.
Moving Beyond Radio.com
When the digital network goes live Aug. 19, the original content will find a home beyond Radio.com. Entercom says on-demand versions of the live shows will be distributed in real time through other podcast apps. In addition to daily shows, the podcast product offering will also feature four weekly podcasts, with more to be announced in the coming months. There will also be a live play-by-play component. Entercom has secured the digital rights to air Notre Dame and Clemson football and basketball on Radio.com. It aims to add other leagues and teams over time. The company’s radio stations are the flagship homes of 44 professional teams and over 50 Division 1 collegiate programs.
Among the new shows that will be part of the Radio.com Sports Digital Network are “Home and Home.” The morning show (8-11am ET) pairs Ross Tucker, a former NFL offensive lineman and a current sports broadcaster with NBC Philadelphia on Eagles pre-season television, and Dave Briggs, veteran sports broadcaster and the current co-anchor of CNN’s “Early Start” program. Middays (11am-1pm ET) will be “Scal & Pals,” hosted by Brian Scalabrine, who played for 11 seasons in the NBA and is now an analyst for NBC Sports Boston. Other cohosts for that show will be announced next month ahead of the Sept. 23 launch. Afternoons (1-4pm ET) will be the Los Angeles-based “Swing & Mrs,” hosted by actress, comedian, and DAZN reporter Jennifer (Sterger) Decker and her husband Cody, a recently retired professional baseball player. Entercom says they’ll be the only married couple sports podcast team. And in evenings (6-10pm ET) the show “You Better You Bet” will focus on the fast-growing world of sports betting. It’s hosted by Nick Kostos, an industry leader in sports gambling and fantasy sports. He’s also an analyst for the Sports Illustrated sports gambling platform and a former host for CBS Sports Digital, as well as a writer for Bleacher Report. Kostos will be joined by a regular cast of contributors which will include Eli Hershkovich, Joe Ostrowski, Danny Parkins and Ken Barkley. And each Tuesday the weekly podcast “Prevent Defense” will also be part of the lineup. It’s hosted by Brian Baldinger, who is an analyst for the NFL Network, and Eliot Shorr-Parks, who is an Eagles analyst for “Sports Radio 94”WIP in Philadelphia
“We are thrilled with the extraordinary lineup of talent we have assembled to launch this new venture,” added Mike Dee, President of Sports at Entercom. “The introduction of OTT video distribution from the outset, as well as the commitment to create and distribute 25 hours of dedicated sports betting audio and video weekly to super serve that growing audience, are both examples of how the network will utilize technology and adapt quickly to the new trends that are shaping both consumer and advertiser interest.”