Local I-Team: Shelby County Commission approves $100,000 to produce podcasts

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Paying for podcasts. Monday night, the Shelby County Commission approved spending more than $100,000 of taxpayer money to produce podcasts.

Is it money well spent? Or a waste of your money?

Shelby County Commissioners plan to pay a podcasting company more than $9,000 a month to produce podcasts and market them on the internet.

“The cost of it. This contract is so outrageous. It just baffles me why we are doing this,” said Commissioner Mick Wright.

Wright is the lone commissioner who voted against paying the Kudzukian network almost $110,000 to produce podcasts for the commission.

“When you are talking about over $109,000, you could buy a small fleet of vehicles for that amount and still do a podcast,” said Wright.

The Local I-Team uncovered the City of Memphis has a similar contract with Kudzukian for significantly less money. The city is paying the company just over $21,000 a year  to produce and distribute up to four “Neighborhood Connect” podcasts per month.

“Why is the city paying one-fourth or one-fifth less. Why is the city paying 1/5 than the county paying for the same product?” asked Wright.

Wright said no one answered that question at Monday’s commission meeting.

The Local I-Team found there are cheaper options in town.

The OAM Network operates out of Crosstown Concourse. Here a podcast costs $300 for the first episode and $100 per episode after that. OAM’s owner questions why the county is even paying for podcasts when it video streams its meeting and also broadcasts them live on the radio.

“These meetings are already online, so the market that would want to listen to it already has access to it,” said Gil Worth, OAM Network owner.

The owner of Kudzukian didn’t want to comment for this story. But at the commission meeting, he explained the cost this way. “We really work with businesses and government entities to make sure they have a very high end product,” said Larry Robinson, Kudzukian LLC.

One government watchdog group in Tennessee says this is a complete waste of taxpayer money.

“This is one of the most insane things I have ever heard the government do,” said Mark Cunningham, Beacon Center of Tennessee.

The Local I-Team called Nashville. The metro government has no contracts with outside companies to create podcasts. A spokesperson said podcasts are produced by employees themselves.

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