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College Athletes Network Launching Podcast Slate With iHeart.

The newly launched College Athletes Network is creating a college sports-centered podcast slate hosted by the athletes themselves. The network has teamed up with iHeartMedia to produce and distribute the shows. The ability to create their own podcast content, and make money from their efforts, comes after the Supreme Court ruled last June that college athletes can profit from their name, image and likeness.

Founded by Ron Pivo and Brett Martzke, the College Athletes Network aims to leverage the thousands of college athletes competing at every level who have a story to tell. And it sees podcasting as one of the ways to get those stories out. The College Athletes Network will launch a new athlete’s podcast each month and will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network.

“By teaming up with iHeart, the College Athletes Network is able to provide these athletes with even more opportunity to expand their audience and increase their access to advertisers,” said Pivo. “I'm excited to introduce new voices in a variety of sports. These kids are very talented behind the mic and it's time people got a chance to hear them.”

The new slate kicks off today with the weekly podcasts Walkie TalkieZ. The show is hosted by Noah Buono, a basketball player at Duquesne University. Buono has been a walk-on for two different Division One programs and his podcast will discuss walk-ons from a variety of major sports programs across the country. "After five incredible years of being a college basketball walk-on, I can confidently tell you that every walk-on has their own inspiring journey to tell,” he said.

Buono is not new to podcasting, having honed and developed Walkie TalkieZ for the past two years. “I'm super grateful and excited that Walkie TalkieZ now has a national platform to help share these incredible stories and I look forward to the continued growth of this podcast through the College Athletes Network and its collaboration with iHeartMedia to reach massive audiences,” he said.

The College Athletes Network has a half dozen other podcasts already on the drawing board. They include --

  • PlayBooked, hosted by Chloe V. Mitchell. A podcast focused on the world of NIL. Mitchell has close to three million followers on social media and back in 2020 became the first college athlete to make money off of her name, image and likeness or NIL.

  • The Birdie Bunch, hosted by Kennedy Swann. A podcast focused on Swann's college golf journey and bridging her attempt to make it on the LPGA Tour.

  • Out of Bounds, hosted by Mackenzie and Mason Forbes. The brother and sister combo are basketball players at Harvard and will focus on life inside the arena and the social issues that many college athletes face on campuses across the nation. It launches in July.

  • Beyond the Megaphone with Cassidy and Nathan, hosted by Cassidy Cerny and Nathan Paris. This University of Indiana cheerleading duo became famous during March Madness when Paris lifted Cerny up on his shoulders and Cerny knocked loose a stuck ball at the top of the backboard.

  • Betting on Yourself, hosted by Terry Wilson. Wilson played quarterback at four schools in six years. His podcast will focus on his personal journey that has led to the buildup to the biggest moment in his life, the NFL Draft.

  • The Frugal Athlete, hosted by Amobi Okugu. Okugu is a former UCLA soccer player who was named the PAC 10 Freshmen of the Year before getting drafted into Major League Soccer. He played nine years of professional soccer before retiring.

“I love college sports and I think this network will help feed the passion that all college sports fans share,” said Martzke. “The stories you will hear will tug on all your emotions. The daily grind of the athletes, dealing with crazed fans and the recruiting circus they go through will really give listeners a whole new perspective of today's college athlete.”

The College Athletes Network was co-founded by Pivo and Martzke. Pivo is a 30-year veteran in the sports broadcasting industry having worked most recently at KGW-TV in Portland, and as well as a fill-in anchor at KNBC in Los Angeles. Martzke has over 25 years of experience in sports broadcasting, working as a producer for the Golf Channel, CNN/Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and NBC Sports.

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