American Skyjacker

Imperative Entertainment, the Santa Monica production house that has expanded beyond film and television into podcasting, is partnering with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Podcast Network to monetize, market and distribute all the company’s existing and forthcoming podcasts. The alliance begins with the release of its new podcast, American Skyjacker: The Final Flight of Martin McNally. The podcast tells the story of Martin “Mac” McNally, who dreamed of hijacking a plane and getting away with $500,000 in cash. But the hijacking was just the beginning of a wild true-crime saga, which will be detailed by the skyjacker himself in the ten-episode series.

American Skyjacker is hosted by journalist Danny Wicentowski; written, created and produced by Eli Kooris and Joshua Shaffer of Pegalo Pictures; and executive produced by Jason Hoch, President of Imperative Entertainment’s Podcast Division.

Imperative Entertainment and Foxtopus Ink will then premiere The Syndicate on August 11. The podcast follows a group of college friends who took advantage of Colorado’s medical marijuana laws to create one of the longest, most lucrative smuggling runs in U.S. history. But when a drug mule flipped, the whole enterprise came crashing down, revealing how the black marijuana market is not just evolving in the era of legal weed, but thriving. Journalist Chris Walker is the series creator and host. Hoch is an executive producer; public radio veteran Laura Krantz and Scott Carney of Foxtopus Ink produced and edited the series.

“We’re excited to partner with Cumulus Media and Westwood One, and for the opportunity it gives us to connect with their extensive audience,” Hoch said in the announcement. “American Skyjacker and The Syndicate are the first of nine new original narrative series podcasts set to launch in 2020. We can’t wait for listeners to experience a full range of stories and emotions, from thrillers and wild adventures to stories of triumph and tragedy.” Imperative Entertainment is backed by The Friedkin Group, the investment firm led by Dan Friedkin.

Imperative Entertainment’s podcast division launched in 2019 with true-crime podcast Gangster House, followed by Boomtown, which told the story of the biggest oil boom in history, and The Baron of Botoxthe true story of late “dermatologist to the stars” Dr. Fredric Brandt.

“We look for best-in-class content for our podcast portfolio, and certainly Imperative Entertainment hits that mark with their evocative and dramatic storytelling,” Westwood One President Suzanne Grimes said. “Their scripted shows, with incredible Hollywood production values, will entertain and engage our listeners in a bold new way.”