Back in June 2021, Jemele Hill signed a deal with Spotify to launch her own podcast network, The Unbothered Network, so she could provide more voices for black women. Over the last year, she has been able to tell many stories, but the business relationship can sometimes be a tricky one.
Hill was a guest on the That’s What She Said with Sarah Spain podcast, which Spain called her “last, for now” episode this week and she said that in any business relationship she has, she wants to know how the company will respond when she says something that people might deem controversial.
“Mostly what I think about now with the business relationships that I have is inevitably, I’m going to say something that’s going to be ahead of my time. When this happens, what’s going to be your response? That determines a lot. This Spotify relationship. All I can tell people is it’s complicated.”
One name Hill brought up on the podcast is Spotify’s business relationship with Joe Rogan and while Hill doesn’t agree with Rogan, she knows Spotify won’t ever ask her to change how she thinks:
“I don’t know Joe Rogan, I’m not here for Joe Rogan. He’s terrible. He irresponsibly uses his platform all the time. The way Spotify operates is it’s like the McDonald’s corporation. They lend out franchises. Maybe it would be a different conversation if they had ever come to me and said you know what, you can’t say that but they let Joe Rogan say whatever. That would be different.
“In their minds, they are just like we’re just the platform. Yes, we will clean up what we can but other than that, it’s out of our hands. They have given me the same treatment. If that were different, I’d say we have a problem here, but we don’t.
“On top of that, with me developing this podcast network for black women, that’s more important than Joe Rogan. It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to end the relationship with Spotify, which would have been very costly and wanting to make sure this network got off the ground was very important to me. I’m not going to walk away from that for somebody I don’t know.”
Hill told Spain that when she left ESPN in 2018, she still had multiple years left on her contract and she could have stayed, but she wanted to feel she could say whatever she wants to say.
“I could have stayed at ESPN. I had 3 more years left on my contract. That would not have been an issue. It was about the fact that I knew that I had more to say in different spaces and being there wasn’t going to allow me to do it. It felt constricting to be there. It doesn’t feel constricting for me to be at The Atlantic or Spotify. I can pretty much say what I want to say.
“That’s not to even suggest that I have something so earth-shattering to say, but I can do it without some of the other corporate politics that I would have had to deal with at ESPN. I can pretty much blast the NFL into oblivion at The Atlantic because they don’t have a business relationship with the NFL.”
In her post-ESPN ventures, Hill mentioned she enjoys that she can pick whichever projects she wants to be a part of.
“What I love is that when an opportunity comes in, it’s only one email, it’s me. There’s no kicking it upstairs, there’s no let me go see. I just respond yes or no or my assistant responds yes or no. I don’t have to run it past anybody. That freedom is invaluable.”
“Another thing that I like about this season I am in in my career is that I do get to cherry-pick certain projects. I’ve got to hustle like everybody else, don’t get me wrong, but the things I’m involved with, I’m super passionate about. That feels good to know you are pouring into something that you feel like is meaningful.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Launching Podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Dirty Mo Media
“New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media has announced a podcast deal with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin will host Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin on a weekly basis during the NASCAR season. The Actions Detrimental branding is verbiage used by NASCAR for fines assessed to drivers for their disparaging comments about the sport. Known as one of NASCAR’s more outspoken drivers, Hamlin has been fined several times under the “actions detrimental to stock car racing” statutes.
New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.
Denny Hamlin jokingly thanked Dirty Mo Media for the “opportunity and the fat check” the company wrote for him to host the podcast in a Twitter announcement.
The 42-year-old Hamlin has won 48 races during his 18-year NASCAR Cup Series career. In addition to serving as a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, he co-owns 23XI Racing with basketball legend Michael Jordan.
The podcast is the latest in an expansion of content produced by the Mooresville, North Carolina-based digital outlet. After beginning with The Dale Jr. Download, the company has grown to include other podcasts like Door, Bumper, Clear, and Speed Street, as well as video projects like The Next Level.
Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts
“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”
Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.
“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”
The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.
Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.
“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”
Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field
“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”
Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.
The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.
The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.
Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.
According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.