The timing might seem interesting, since news broke today that Vox Media, the company behind SB Nation and tech news site The Verge, has raised a $40 million round led by Accel. However, SB Nation shows have actually been live on BlogTalkRadio’s site since September — they just haven’t formally announced until now. (Plus, it took me a little while to write this post.)
This isn’t the first network to launch within the broader BlogTalkRadio network. Most notably, the company launched a Tavis Smiley Network back in June, which includes a program featuring Smiley (a well-known talk radio host) himself.
SB Nation is an interesting choice for a partner since most of its content comes from communities of sports fans, not professional sports writers or broadcasters. When I asked how BlogTalkRadio translated those communities into live podcasts, co-founder and CEO Alan Levy said, “We just went out to the community and their editors there said, ‘How many guys would like to host your own talk radio show?'”
Looks like lots of people said yes. The SB Nation network on BlogTalkRadio is launching with more than 50 shows, including Bloody Elbow Radio (which looks at mixed martial arts), Mocking the Draft (which discusses the NFL Draft), and MCM Jimmy (about the Tennessee Titans). Levy also noted that BlogTalkRadio is SB Nation’s exclusive live podcasting partner.
I’m not a big consumer of sports media, but the lineup seems to back Levy’s claim that his company enables people to host talk shows covering topics that you wouldn’t find on traditional radio. And like other BlogTalkRadio shows, these programs are first broadcast live online, with the ability for listeners to call in and interact with the host, then distributed as traditional podcasts. So Levy said he sees podcasting services like TuneIn as distribution partners, not competitors.