On the heels of Scripps purchasing Midroll Media, another radio group owner is making a major investment in podcasting.
Hubbard Radio is acquiring a 30% stake in PodcastOne. The company will remain independently operated under Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment Group. PodcastOne manages production, distribution, and sales for celebrity hosts including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Shaquille O’Neal, Penn Jillette, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, and Larry King as well as sales/distribution for other networks such as Adam Carolla, KCRW, Loveline, and Piolin.
PodcastOne, the nation’s largest advertiser-supported podcast network, and iconic broadcast company Hubbard Radio, have reached an equity agreement in which Hubbard Radio acquires 30% of the on-demand digital-audio leader, it was announced today by PodcastOne Chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz, and Hubbard Radio Chair and CEO Ginny Morris.
The agreement maintains PodcastOne and parent company Courtside Entertainment Group’s independent control of all operations, as the network continues to expand its collection of more than 200 top-rated programs, delivering more than 400 million monthly impressions for advertisers. The network features many of America’s most popular podcasts, including Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Dan Patrick, Chris Jericho, Penn Jillette, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Shawn and Larry King, Laura Ingraham, Dr. Drew, TheCHIVE, the newly launched Mark Schlereth podcast, plus WNYC’s Radiolab, Freakonomics and many more.
Hubbard Broadcasting operates radio stations and television stations across America, as well as satellite and cable network ReelzChannel, F&F Productions and the Hubbard Radio Network. The companies will work closely on synergies in content development, cross-promotion, brand development, new technology opportunities, and local, regional and national joint marketing and advertising. The investment will also allow for rapid expansion of sales and marketing resources, along with the ability to service more clients, as PodcastOne continues its phenomenal growth trajectory since being founded just three years ago by Kit Gray and Westwood One Founder and Chairman Emeritus Norm Pattiz.
“We could not be more pleased and excited to have the chance to collaborate with Norm Pattiz and Kit Gray,” said Morris. “These great audio mavericks have a vision that we believe in, and are honored to be a part of. Great content always wins, and to make great content available at the convenience of the consumer is a natural evolution and one that our industry is beginning to embrace. It will provide additional options that expand our audience and build the value of our existing assets.”
Pattiz echoed these sentiments: “They say you’re judged by the company that you keep. In that case, my reputation just got a huge boost. I am so looking forward to working with Ginny and her entire team. The accomplishments of the Hubbard family in the broadcasting, content and media worlds speak for themselves. I view this as not only a great deal for both of our companies, but more importantly, for the radio industry as a whole. Embracing all forms of audio distribution, from broadcasting to streaming and on-demand is what will drive radio as a medium, continually growing and on the cutting edge.”
This is the second major podcast industry announcement in ten days, as podcast consumption continues its rapid rise. One third of the population has listened to a podcast, and 32 million people listen to podcasts on a weekly basis, as noted in the recent Edison Research and Triton Digital Infinite Dial 2015 study. The study also confirms advertiser appeal, noting that podcast listeners are 17% more likely than the average population to follow brands, and these consumers have a higher education level and income than the general U.S. population.
Hubbard Radio is the most recent broadcast group to commit resources to the podcast landscape, adopting the digital platform as part of radio’s natural growth. Pattiz has long been a cheerleader of radio, since founding Westwood One 35 years ago, and recognizes the commitment Hubbard demonstrates to the future of audio through this partnership with market leader PodcastOne.