Keith Olbermann has a new platform for his sports and news commentary. iHeartMedia announced Monday that they’ve partnered with Olbermann for a Countdown with Keith Olbermann podcast, which will release new episodes daily beginning August 1. Those episodes will be available on iHeartRadio and on all major podcasting platforms. Here’s a trailer:
Olbermann also tweeted about this Monday:
NOW AVAILABLE WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION!
Countdown with Keith Olbermann returns next Monday as a DAILY podcast: Political Commentary, Sports, Worst Persons In The World and all the career stories I Promised Not To Tell
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) July 25, 2022
The 63-year-old Olbermann has been covering sports and news since 1976, including with ESPN from 1992-97 (where he was often paired with Dan Patrick for the 11 p.m. SportsCenter, and where he was part of the 1993 launch of ESPN2, complete with leather jacket), 2005 for a brief return on the radio side, 2013–15, and 2018–20. His other work in sports includes time with UPI, New York radio station WNEW 1130, WCVB in Boston, KTLA and KCBS in Los Angeles, Fox Sports, ABC Radio, NBC, and TBS. And he’s done a lot in news as well, including the first version of Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC from 2003-11. Here’s what he’s planning to bring to the new podcast, as per an iHeartRadio release:
Hosted by Keith Olbermann – the SportsCenter legend, former MSNBC anchor, author, and three-time Edward R. Murrow Award winner – the daily show will include a news-driven mix featuring his trademark “Special Comment” political analysis, the “Worst Person In The World” segment, and his timeless readings from the works of the immortal James Thurber.
In addition to bringing back fan favorites, Olbermann will broaden the content to include a regular sports segment, a daily call for help for a suffering dog, and a series of anecdotes from a career that stretched from covering the 1980 Olympic Miracle on Ice a month after his 21st birthday, to anchoring the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and the 2009 Super Bowl pre-game show in a span of just twelve days, to rejoining ESPN as a “rookie” baseball play-by-play man at the age of 59.
Olbermann also spoke to Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal about this, and how he plans to stand out in a crowded podcasting space:
In an interview, Mr. Olbermann said he initially was reluctant about the genre as he said he felt too many shows seemed like one podcast host interviewing another and the material often felt outdated.
“People do these podcasts with the idea that they have to live for a week,” he said. That didn’t sit well with his news-chasing mentality. “This has replaced radio and to a large part television. Why not present something that is there every day for people? My goal is that you’ll be able to listen to this thing and get everything that happened. It won’t be, ‘here we are reacting to last week’s news,’ ” he said.
…Mr. Olbermann declined to comment on the terms of his deal with iHeartMedia beyond saying the budget for the show is “extremely huge.” He said he is in a position to not have to work again for money. “I’m doing the work for the work.” He does not rule out an eventual return to television, saying he has had the presence of mind to “stop predicting my next career development around 1997.”
As Flint notes, there are many existing daily news podcasts that do try to “present something that is there every day for people,” including ones from The New York Times, NPR, the WSJ and more on the news side, plus ESPN, The Athletic, and more on the sports side. But Olbermann certainly does have a distinct point of view for his commentary, and his brand of commentary has won him quite a few fans. There are many who dislike him, but there also are many who like him, and who might at least check this podcast out. The mixing in of career stories, and of some of the appeals for animals Olbermann has become notable for on Twitter lately, might have some merit as well. We’ll see what he brings to the table with this daily podcast.
Olbermann had an interesting line in there too when asked about people who tag him with the “difficult” label, responding that his four stints with ESPN and two with CNN show (in Flint’s paraphrase) that “he doesn’t burn every bridge.” That’s the latest addition to the long history of discussions of Olbermann burning and/or napalming bridges. But he also told Flint that he recognizes many of his stints (in both sports and news) led to premature exits, and said he’s fine with that because he thinks it shows his honesty with the audience:
“Whenever I do my last broadcast or take my last breath, I will be content that I was honest with the audience, often at the expense of security and money.”
There are definitely lots who don’t like Olbermann, whether it’s for his Twitter fights (in both the news and sports realms), his often outspoken political stances, and/or his particular brand of on-air commentary. But he also has a lot of fans and followers, and iHeartMedia is betting that there will be large numbers of people interested in a daily news and sports podcast from Olbermann. We’ll see how that bet works out for them, and for him.