A few weeks ago we reported that Nate Richardson, the CEO and co-founder of Waywire, would be leaving the company as it makes a strategic shift from content creation to content curation. Well now we know where he’s landed: Richardson has joined our parent company AOL* as the President of AOL Live, TechCrunch has learned.
Richardson was one of the co-founders of Waywire, along with Newark mayor and Senate candidate Cory Booker and Sarah Ross. The company originally set out to focus on creating its own high-quality video content, but recently shifted direction to become more of a personalized hub for curated content. Richardson exited the company while the curation site was still in beta, and we’ve heard Waywire is looking to announce a new CEO soon.
We heard rumors that Richardson was being courted by AOL around the time of his departure from Waywire, but apparently he hadn’t joined the company at that time. That said, the decision to become part of AOL isn’t totally surprising, as Richardson has a long history of working in media. In addition to serving as the CEO of Waywire, years ago he had also been the CEO of ContentNext Media, former home of tech blogs such as paidContent and MocoNews.
Joining the AOL team also means that Richardson will be reunited with my boss’ boss’ boss’ boss, AOL Brand Group CEO Susan Lyne. Those two worked together while Lyne was CEO of Gilt Groupe and Richardson held various roles at the company, including Gilt City president and GM of Gilt Groupe’s Men’s section.
At AOL Live, Richardson will oversee the new live streaming video channel that the company is putting together. That channel has yet to officially launch, but the idea seems to be to offer up a continuous lineup of news and interviews that will match the type of content you’d expect to see on the AOL.com homepage. So lots of celebrity and entertainment news, sprinkled with light doses of sports, finance, and quirky lifestyle stories.
There will be lots of opportunity for AOL to experiment with that channel, as the company did when it held an open casting call for anchor auditions. Over the course of two days in June, AOL had anchor hopefuls come in and read the news of the moment, with a hilarious hodgepodge of characters swinging by the studio to try out.
The live auditions weren’t the only experiment that AOL Live will be testing out — apparently the company sees an opportunity to have live brand messages interspersed in the content, in addition to the usual pre-roll ads that will appear when someone starts up the stream.
The hope is that viewers will watch AOL Live in the same way they might leave daytime TV on while going about their day. Lyne told Adweek a few months ago that viewers could eventually get into the habit of leaving a live AOL player on minimized all day at work.
Anyway, it all sounds like an interesting new endeavor for Richardson.
* While we’ve been told that TechCrunch is an integral part of the AOL franchise, neither AOL PR nor Richardson responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
But hey, it’s the Friday before a holiday weekend. I get it.