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A number of creators who’ve left the podcast community Kast Media say the corporate owes them vital sums of cash — amounting to 6 or seven figures for promoting bought on their reveals. A couple of creators have gone public on social media, and others have individually confirmed to Scorching Pod that the corporate has not paid them for a number of months.
As a substitute of constructing the delinquent funds, Kast CEO Colin Thomson formally or informally supplied creators a deal the place they’d be paid a partial quantity of the cash owed in money and the remaining in shares of PodcastOne on the situation that they signal an settlement to take their podcasts to the brand new firm as part of a proposed IP acquisition, a number of creators advised Scorching Pod. PodcastOne, a former subsidiary of LiveOne, has since spun out right into a separate public firm and went dwell on the Nasdaq final week.
Comic Whitney Cummings, who hosts the podcast Good For You, advised Scorching Pod that she believes Kast Media owes her at the least $350,000 for advert sponsorships — although the quantity could possibly be extra.
“The entire thing is a nightmare,” Cummings wrote in an e mail. Cummings, who signed a multiyear partnership with Kast again in December 2021, left the community in June. A number of different high-profile creators have left Kast, together with Theo Von, Logan Paul, Jason Ellis, and Tony Hawk.
First launched in 2016, the Santa Monica, California-based Kast Media rapidly stood out as an impartial podcast community with a watch towards video podcasts in addition to movie and TV growth. As not too long ago as final December, it ranked No. 10 in Edison Analysis’s record of podcast networks with the best attain. Kast Media was damage by this yr’s mushy advert market, although, and like many different audio firms, went by layoffs.
In Could, Kast and LiveOne introduced a proposed IP acquisition the place greater than two dozen podcasts within the Kast Media community — together with Good For You — would be part of LiveOne’s ranks.
However Kast disregarded a vital element: Kast’s podcasters must comply with this. Cummings and numerous different creators have but to signal a take care of PodcastOne in any respect. A number of creators in Kast’s community advised Scorching Pod that they weren’t consulted earlier than the press launch was revealed.
One factor that’s necessary to notice is that LiveOne by no means really acquired Kast — the previous entered into what’s referred to as a “letter of intent” to accumulate sure belongings of Kast’s IP portfolio. The press launch contained a caveat that plainly acknowledged the proposal was removed from a certain factor: “The letter of intent with Kast Media is non-binding … There may be no assurance that the proposed acquisition will likely be accomplished and/or inside the anticipated timeline.”
Whereas points at Kast began changing into obvious to some creators as early as fall 2021, individuals who labored on each the enterprise aspect and the narrative podcast aspect of Kast inform Scorching Pod that they didn’t notice something was amiss till the spring of this yr. Three creators advised Scorching Pod that they reached out to Thomson about lacking checks, however when he didn’t reply, they started reaching out to others within the Kast workplace, together with chief enterprise officer Mike Jensen — who oversaw all sponsorship advert gross sales however didn’t usually work with creators.
Michael Ojibway, the creator of the true crime podcast Invisible Choir, who signed an unique advertisements gross sales take care of Kast within the fall of 2021, mentioned he received into the behavior of anticipating late funds from Kast. His very first examine from Kast arrived late, and so did each fee that adopted. He famous that if he couldn’t attain Thomson, he would converse with both Jensen or Kast’s senior accountant, Michael Calabretta, neither of whom appeared to know when he could be paid.
“There have been numerous factors the place I had a intestine examine. I used to be seeing the crimson flags, particularly with Colin however extra broadly with how the corporate dealt with accounting particularly that led me to aggressively and proactively inquire about fee,” Ojibway mentioned.
Points with Kast escalated over the summer season, as a number of creators started sharing that they weren’t getting paid. Then, issues got here to a head this month, when one of many largest podcasters within the nation spoke out. Former Kast podcast community host Theo Von posted a roughly 10-minute video on YouTube on September sixth entitled “This Man Defrauded Our Podcast” through which he alleged that Kast Media owes him and a bunch of different creators over $4 million for advertisements served on their reveals. Von, who hosts the chart-topping podcast This Previous Weekend, left Kast originally of the yr and joined Rooster Enamel’s podcast community again in March.
“Our podcast was defrauded. We have been stolen from. We have been taken benefit of — there are loads of methods to say it. The corporate that did it’s Kast Media, and the person that did it’s Colin Thomson,” mentioned Von. He estimated that Kast owed This Previous Weekend a six-figure sum, although he mentioned he spoke to creators who allege that the corporate owes them seven figures in again pay.
Von’s video, which has been seen over 1.5 million occasions, was posted two days earlier than PodcastOne debuted its itemizing on the Nasdaq. Shares of PodcastOne fell shortly after buying and selling opened on September eighth, dropping from $8 per share to over $4. On the time of publication of this text, PodcastOne is listed at $2.78 per share.
In an e mail to Scorching Pod, Von mentioned that he personally knew of six completely different creators who have been owed quantities that ranged between $1.5 million and $600,000. Von mentioned Kast owes his present an quantity that’s within the six figures.
A few different hosts have gone public about their dealings with Kast on social media. Jason Ellis, who co-hosts the Hawk vs Wolf podcast with Tony Hawk, posted a tell-all video on Instagram final week the place he referred to as the duo’s two-year deal with Kast “one in all my largest regrets in podcasting.” He acknowledged that Kast nonetheless owed the duo cash from host-read advertisements that ran on their present.
“When you see Colin Thomson named on any podcast, simply know that’s who you’re coping with.”
“When you see Colin Thomson named on any podcast, simply know that’s who you’re coping with. And should you’re a podcaster and any of these guys attain out to you, simply know that I haven’t met a much bigger piece of shit,” Ellis mentioned within the video.
In an Instagram message, Ellis confirmed to Scorching Pod that each Hawk vs Wolf and his personal podcast, The Jason Ellis Present, signed with Malka Media. “We’re not getting any a reimbursement haha,” Ellis wrote.
Jim Cornette and Brian Final, co-hosts of The Jim Cornette Expertise, have additionally gone public about Kast owing them cash. Final and Cornette have posted a sequence of YouTube videos over the previous two months the place they recount their interactions with the corporate, throw insults at Thomson, and spill principally unverified tea. Cornette and his podcasts are actually a part of Rhapsody Voices, a brand new podcast community launched by Jensen, who left his position as Kast’s chief enterprise officer this summer season.
Scott Porch, the founding father of Massive IP Media, which incorporates the podcasts The John Campea Present Podcast, The Massive Factor, Dan Murrell Podcast, and Star Wars Defined, signed a multiyear distribution deal with Kast again in February. However he left shortly after and signed an unique advert take care of Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast in July. The primary fee from Kast was the one one which arrived on time, Porch famous. He mentioned in a textual content message to Scorching Pod that Kast owes Massive IP Media over $150,000.
All advised, PodcastOne has solely secured offers with a handful of former Kast podcasts: Brendan Schaub’s network of podcasts, The Schaub Present, The Fighter and the Child, and The Golden Hour, in addition to Some Extra Information and spinoff podcast Even Extra Information, hosted by Cody Johnston and Katy Stoll.
Thomson was concerned in some early talks to affix the ranks at PodcastOne. However the firm is now not planning to convey him on, in keeping with each Thomson and LiveOne CEO Rob Ellin.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance final week, Ellin indicated that the corporate knew Kast was in unhealthy situation — and that turning its belongings round was the purpose of the deal. “We’ve purchased a … very distressed, troubled asset,” he mentioned of the still-in-the-works IP acquisition of Kast’s podcasts, including that it “owed some huge cash to its podcasters and couldn’t actually afford to pay them.”
Thomson responded to the quite a few allegations in opposition to him in a cellphone name with Scorching Pod on Tuesday. His model of occasions is that this: Kast received underwater resulting from this yr’s mushy advert market, and the corporate fell behind on its funds to creators. Thomson met with traders in March and claimed that none have been curious about investing in podcasting. He lastly met Ellin in late April, they usually started exploring a approach for PodcastOne to function a possible lifeboat.
“PodcastOne has pretty much as good of a fame as anybody within the house. They have been developing with offers for Kast reveals that have been sturdy,” Thomson mentioned.
Whereas Thomson acknowledged that PodcastOne initially needed to supply him a place on the firm, he burdened that it wasn’t his precedence. “I ought to say that was explored early on, nevertheless it was by no means a spotlight for me. I by no means tried to barter something,” he mentioned. Thomson’s actual precedence, he insisted, was the creators.
“I don’t deserve a few of the issues that have been mentioned about me, however I do deserve a few of the issues that have been mentioned about me too.”
As to the movies by Von and the hosts of The Jim Cornette Expertise, Thomson has a combined response. “I don’t deserve a few of the issues that have been mentioned about me, however I do deserve a few of the issues that have been mentioned about me too,” Thomson mentioned. He acknowledged that some creators could have been “sad” with the offers supplied by PodcastOne or being left at midnight about Kast’s monetary standing for therefore lengthy. He understood that creators have been indignant with him and guessed that lots of them felt “led on” by him. He denied all allegations of fraud, although he burdened that there have been “enterprise choices” he regretted.
“I’ve accomplished loads of soul looking out and reflecting, and I believe as a enterprise chief, it’s important to weigh the professionals and cons.”