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Multiple creators who have left podcast network Kast Media say the company owes them significant sums of money — running into six or seven figures for ads sold on their shows. A few creators have gone public on social media, and others have confirmed it individually Hot Pod that the company has not paid them for several months.
Instead of paying the back payments, Kast CEO Colin Thomson formally or informally offered the creators a deal where they would receive part of the money owed in cash and the rest in shares of PodcastOne, provided they would sign an agreement to take over their money. podcasts to the new company as part of a proposed IP acquisition, several creators said Hot Pod. PodcastOne, a former subsidiary of LiveOne, has since grown into a separate publicly traded company and went live on the Nasdaq last week.
Comedian Whitney Cummings, host of the podcast Good for youtold Hot Pod that she believes Kast Media owes her at least $350,000 for ad sponsorships – although the amount could be higher.
“The whole thing is a nightmare,” Cummings wrote in an email. Cummings, who signed a multi-year partnership with Kast in December 2021, left the network in June. Several other high-profile creators have left Kast, including Theo Von, Logan Paul, Jason Ellis and Tony Hawk.
Santa Monica, California-based Kast Media first launched in 2016 and quickly stood out as an independent podcast network focused on video podcasts and film and TV development. Last December, it was number 10 on Edison Research’s list of podcast networks with the widest reach. However, Kast Media was hit by this year’s weak advertising market and, like many other audio companies, faced layoffs.
In May, Kast and LiveOne announced a proposed IP acquisition that would see more than two dozen podcasts join the Kast Media network Good for you – would join LiveOne.
But Kast left out a crucial detail: Kast’s podcasters would have to agree to this. Cummings and a number of other creators have not yet signed a deal with PodcastOne at all. Several creators in Kast’s network told us Hot Pod that they were not consulted before the publication of the press release.
One thing that is important to note is that LiveOne never Kast – the former has entered into a so-called “letter of intent” to acquire certain assets from Kast’s IP portfolio. The press release contained a caveat clearly stating that the proposal was far from certain: “The letter of intent with Kast Media is non-binding… There can be no assurance that the proposed acquisition will be completed and/or within the expected timeline. .”
While the problems at Kast started to become apparent to some creators as early as the fall of 2021, people who worked on both the business side and the narrative podcast side of Kast say Hot Pod that it wasn’t until the spring of this year that they realized something was wrong. Three makers told us Hot Pod that they contacted Thomson about missing checks, but when he didn’t respond, they began contacting others in the Kast office, including Chief Business Officer Mike Jensen – who oversaw all sponsorship ad sales, but normally spoken did not collaborate with makers.
Michael Ojibway, creator of the True Crime podcast Invisible choir, who signed an exclusive ad sales deal with Kast in the fall of 2021, said he had gotten into the habit of expecting late payments from Kast. His very first check from Kast came late, and so did every payment that followed. He noted that if he could not reach Thomson, he would speak to Jensen or Kast’s senior accountant, Michael Calabretta, neither of whom seemed to know when he would be paid.
“There were a few points where I had a gut check. I saw the warning signs, especially with Colin, but more broadly in the way the company handled its accounting, which made me aggressively and proactively inquire about the payment,” Ojibway said.
The problems with Kast escalated over the summer, when several creators began reporting that they were not being paid. Then things came to a head this month, when one of the country’s biggest podcasters spoke out. Former Kast Podcast Network host Theo Von posted a roughly 10-minute video to YouTube on September 6 titled “This Man Defrauded Our Podcast,” in which he claimed that Kast Media owes him and a group of other creators more than $4 million for ads featured on their podcasts. shows. Von, host of the popular podcast This past weekendleft Kast early this year and joined Rooster Teeth’s podcast network in March.
“Our podcast has been ripped off. We’ve been stolen from. We have been taken advantage of – there are many ways to say it. The company that did it is Kast Media, and the guy that did it is Colin Thomson,” Von said. He estimated that Kast owed something This past weekend a six-figure sum, although he said he has spoken to creators who claim the company owes them seven figures in back payments.
Von’s video, which has been viewed more than 1.5 million times, was posted two days before PodcastOne debuted its listing on the Nasdaq. Shares of PodcastOne fell shortly after the opening of trading on September 8, falling from $8 per share to over $4. At the time of publishing this article, PodcastOne is trading at $2.78 per share.
In an email to Hot Pod, Von said he personally knew six different creators who were owed amounts ranging between $1.5 million and $600,000. Von said Kast owes his show an amount in the six figures.
A few other hosts have gone public with their dealings with Kast on social media. Jason Ellis, co-host of the Hawk vs. Wolf podcast with Tony Hawk, posted a tell-all video to Instagram last week in which he called the duo’s two-year deal with Kast “one of my biggest podcasting regrets.” He stated that Kast still owed the duo money from host-read advertisements that were featured on their show.
“If you see Colin Thomson mentioned on a podcast, know that you are dealing with that.”
“When you see Colin Thomson on a podcast, know that you are dealing with him. And if you’re a podcaster and one of those guys reaches out to you, just know that I haven’t come across a bigger piece of shit yet,” Ellis said in the video.
Ellis confirmed this in an Instagram post Hot Pod both of those Hawk vs. Wolf and his own podcast, The Jason Ellis Show, signed with Malka Media. “We are not getting any money back haha,” Ellis wrote.
Jim Cornette and Brian Last, co-hosts of The Jim Cornette Experience, have also made it public that Kast owes them money. Last and Cornette have posted a series of YouTube videos over the past two months detailing their interactions with the company, insulting Thomson, and mostly spilling unverified tea. Cornette and his podcasts are now part of Rhapsody Voices, a new podcast network launched by Jensen, who left his role as Chief Business Officer of Kast this summer.
Scott Porch, the founder of Big IP Media, which includes the podcasts The John Campea Show podcast, The big thing, Dan Murrell podcast, And Star Wars explained, signed a multi-year distribution deal with Kast in February. But he left soon after, signing an exclusive advertising deal with Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast in July. Kast’s first payment was the only one that came in on time, Porch noted. He said this in a text message Hot Pod that Kast owes Big IP Media more than $150,000.
All told, PodcastOne has only struck deals with a handful of former Kast podcasts: Brendan Schaub’s network of podcasts, The Schaub Show, The fighter and the child, And The golden hour, like Some more news and spin-off podcast Even more newspresented by Cody Johnston and Katy Stoll.
Thomson was involved in some early discussions to join PodcastOne. But the company no longer plans to hire him, according to both Thomson and LiveOne CEO Rob Ellin.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance Last week, Ellin indicated that the company knew Kast was in bad shape – and that turning around its assets was the point of the deal. “We bought a… very distressed, troubled asset,” he said of the still-pending IP acquisition of Kast’s podcasts, adding that the company “owed a lot of money to its podcasters and couldn’t really afford afford to pay them.”
Thomson responded by telephone to the numerous allegations against him Hot Pod on Tuesday. His version of events is this: Kast went underwater due to this year’s weak ad market, and the company fell behind on its payments to creators. Thomson met with investors in March and claimed no one was interested in investing in podcasting. He finally met Ellin in late April, and they began exploring a way for PodcastOne to serve as a potential lifeboat.
“PodcastOne has as good a reputation as anyone in the space. They came up with strong deals for Closet shows,” Thomson said.
Although Thomson acknowledged that PodcastOne originally wanted to offer him a job with the company, he emphasized that it was not his priority. “I have to say this was explored early on, but it was never a focus for me. “I never tried to negotiate anything,” he said. Thomson’s real priority, he emphasized, was the makers.
“I don’t deserve some things said about me, but I also deserve some things said about me.”
As for Von’s videos and the hosts of The Jim Cornette Experience, Thomson has a mixed answer. “I don’t deserve some of the things that have been said about me, but I also deserve some of the things that have been said about me,” Thomson said. He acknowledged that some creators may have been “unhappy” with PodcastOne’s offerings or had been left in the dark about Kast’s financial status for so long. He understood that the makers were angry with him and suspected that many of them felt ‘guided’ by him. He denied all allegations of fraud, although he insisted there were “business decisions” he regretted.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking and thinking, and I think as a business leader you have to weigh the pros and cons.”