Hubbard Radio, which has been on a two-year acquiring binge, has taken a 30 percent stake in PodcastOne, the largest commercial podcast network in the U.S., the two broadcast businesses announced Monday.
Terms of the equity deal were not disclosed, but the investment puts Hubbard, headquartered in St. Paul, in a solid minority owner's role in an operation whose talent includes Larry King, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Shaquille O'Neal, Laura Ingraham and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.
However, the agreement allows PodcastOne and parent company Courtside Entertainment Group to maintain independent control of all operations, which include more than 200 programs.
Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris and PodcastOne Chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz said the partnership will allow the two companies to develop content, cross-promote programming, develop the PodcastOne brand, make use of new technology and launch joint marketing and advertising on national, regional and local levels.
Morris called Pattiz and PodcastOne President Kit Gray "great radio mavericks [who] have a vision we believe in."
Pattiz and Gray started PodcastOne three years ago. Pattiz also is the founder and former chairman of Westwood One, a broadcasting giant in sports and syndicated programming.
"Great content always wins," Morris said in a statement about the Hubbard investment. "It will provide additional options that expand our audience and build the value of our existing assets."
Pattiz said "embracing all forms of audio distribution, from broadcasting to streaming and on-demand is what will drive radio as a medium."
He praised Morris and the Hubbard collection of broadcast operations, which include radio and television, cable network ReelzChannel and F&F Productions. Morris is a third-generation member of the Hubbard family, which was a Midwestern broadcasting pioneer dating back to the 1920s.
"The accomplishments of the Hubbard family in the broadcasting, content and media worlds speak for themselves," Pattiz said.
Hubbard Radio, under Morris' direction, two years ago spent $85 million to acquire 10 radio stations across the country and last year spent $8 million more for 16 stations in northern Minnesota.
In addition to the Twin Cities, Hubbard has a radio presence in big-city markets including Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, St. Louis, Phoenix and Seattle.