Bill Simmons Bill Simmons, screengrab via Bloomberg YouTube.

Normally the big media boss ignores it when a former employee complains. But Bill Simmons had some words for JJ Redick over their disagreement regarding video podcasts at The Ringer.

On Tuesday, Redick spoke up against The Ringer’s strategy around video podcasts, telling a story of when he worked for the company in early 2020 and had to pull teeth to record his NBA interviews and release them on YouTube.

“The realization was audio doesn’t go viral, video goes viral,” Redick said of the numbers for his interviews with Zion Williamson, Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson on video.

Later on Wednesday, Simmons responded to an Awful Announcing write-up of Redick’s quote.

“I like you + enjoyed our time together,” Simmons wrote on X in a post tagging Redick. “You did 8 pod eps total in 2019. 3 had NBA guests. You started doing video pods on mid/Jan 2020 and the pandemic happened 7 weeks later. You never took the pod seriously until 2020 – that’s why it’s good. I’m still a fan.”

To this day, just one Ringer podcast consistently posts video episodes. Higher Learning, featuring Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay, shoots from a souped-up Spotify studio in Los Angeles, and viewers can watch video recordings of episodes from within the Spotify app.

Since moving to Spotify, the world’s biggest podcaster, Joe Rogan, posts his shows the same way.

Simmons has his own YouTube channel, as does The Ringer. But listeners will mostly just find show clips on those channels, not full episodes. Simmons’ movie podcast, The Rewatchables, occasionally posts full shows on his channel.

Redick’s interview with Butler has 2.4 million views on The Ringer YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, it’s impossible to verify the data Simmons posted. When Redick left The Ringer, the company kept his feed and turned it into an offshoot feed for The Mismatch, its most popular NBA podcast.

The old Redick shows were wiped from the feed.

However, Simmons has often complimented Redick for being among the only NBA athletes to commit to the podcast fully. When discussing NBA athletes in media, Simmons’ consistently cites Redick’s diligence as what separated him from others whose shows failed.

And even if Simmons is correct that Redick was not 100 percent committed until 2020, that’s exactly the same time range Redick referenced. That’s not the part of the story that’s up for debate.

Simmons is simply changing his tune about the breakup because Redick came at The Ringer publicly.

While none of this is likely to tangibly change either host’s reputation or business success, it provides insight into how The Ringer operated while it produced one of the biggest NBA podcasts ever. Redick left The Ringer in August 2020 and now runs his own company with millions of social followers. He has a DraftKings partnership and an ESPN contract that plugs him into the league at the highest levels.

Simmons sold The Ringer to Spotify around the time Redick was pushing for more video. The Swedish audio company has resisted video despite podcast audiences on YouTube growing massively in the nearly four years since. But unlike many companies that produce podcasts, Spotify is not distribution-agnostic: they own an audio-only platform and want to keep people on that platform.

[Bill Simmons on X]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.