In one of ESPN’s most ambitious storytelling initiatives ever, this month’s multiplatform Pin Kings includes a first for ESPN Audio – an episodic presentation, 16 chapters, as it were, complete with a mystery building to a dramatic ending.
“Episodic podcasts are the latest frontier for ESPN Audio, a genre we’ve targeted but knew we could not enter without the right story, product and the resources and talented people of SC Featured behind it, to make the biggest and best first impression with listeners,” said Pete Gianesini, ESPN senior director, Radio Programming and Digital Audio Content. “Pin Kings is a compelling story, deeply reported and makes for a perfect episodic podcast presentation.”
To be clear, the podcast offering is not simply sound bites taken from the upcoming TV special and repackaged. It includes original and unique interviews, often with more in-depth reporting that the platform allows.
“Without the constraints of a one-hour television special, the Pin Kings podcast series is more expansive and detailed than repetitive,” Gianesini explained.
David Cummings, audio content strategist, credits ESPN The Magazine senior writer Brett Forrest and ESPN producer Jon Fish and their months of dedication to the project.
“I’m amazed at what Brett and Jon pulled off. It takes a unique talent to be able to write a compelling podcast script and produce a feature story for digital and print without either story replicating the other.”
Given all the resources devoted to the first-of-its-kind project, it’s no surprise it got off to a great start. After two days, it was No. 2 on iTunes’ Featured Sports & Recreation list and No. 24 overall.
“This project has many moving parts. The cooperation, synergy and promotion have been exemplary, leading to terrific results,” said Cummings. “I’ve read many favorable user comments on iTunes and hope the momentum builds as more people learn of Pin Kings and ‘binge-listen’ to catch up.”