Plenty of content creators have had to change their show in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but The No Sports Report is pivoting its podcast now that the world of sports is beginning to step back towards normalcy. The Treefort Media-iHeartPodcast Network podcast has renamed itself as The Sports Bubble with host Jensen Karp, most recently part of the morning show at modern rock KROQ-FM Los Angeles (106.7), remaining at the helm.
“Now that sports are coming back, we are going to look at it as an experiment – are people scared, who is testing positive, talking to the athletes and professionals directly,” said Karp. “We want to make sure that we change with everything that’s going on in the landscape.”
During a presentation to advertisers on Thursday announcing the changes, Karp said The Sports Bubble will feature several Major League Baseball and NBA players in the coming weeks to discuss how the game has changed and whether they even want to be at work while the risk of contracting the virus remains high. “Orlando is a mess and that’s where a lot of these sports teams are going to be playing so I question if any of these seasons are going to happen – I don’t think it will,” said Karp. “Our show is going to evolve every single day with those things.”
The Sports Bubble will publish three days a week, but Karp said the goal is to make it a daily podcast. He pointed out that during the recent protests, the podcast released several special episodes responding to events of the day. “We look to sports for normalcy,” he said. “Everyone who is talking about COVID and talking about going into regular life, is still looking at sports.”
The No Sport Report was born after the sudden dismissal of the entire morning show at KROQ, including Karp, who served as a comedy writer for the show. “I got a bunch of job offers,” recalls Karp, who said he was “lucky” to have lost his job before the waves of layoffs from the COVID-19 outbreak swept the country. The offer that caught his attention was the one from Treefort Media that looked to create a show that took the quarantine as a jumping off point for a sports show that featured conversations with athletes about what they are doing with their time off the field. It came during the week in March when the NBA season went on hiatus, following the cancellation of the NCAA March Madness tournament and news that actor Tom Hanks had contracted the coronavirus. “That hit home, and we knew as Americans that it had infiltrated our pastimes,” he said.
Karp may have been part of a morning crew at an alt-rock station at the start of the year but he broke into the entertainment world at the age of 19 when Interscope Records signed him to a million-dollar record contract as rapper “Hot Karl,” drawing comparisons to Vanilla Ice. That led to his memoir, “Kanye Owes Me $300.” His work later as a comedian has led him to the world of sports. He was part of the writing team for the ESPY Awards and the “NFL on Fox” show as well as a Sacha Baron Cohen film. But Karp says writing is the thread that ties all his various projects together. “In the third or fourth grade I told people I wanted to be a writer and that is still at the epicenter,” he said.
Karp isn’t new to podcasting ether. He previously co-hosted the Get Up On This podcast for the Earwolf Podcast Network.