ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith is making one of his first moves beyond sports, launching a new podcast that will tackle politics, business, entertainment, social issues, and criminal justice.
Smith is teaming with Audacy’s Cadence13 Partners to launch his new “Know Mercy with Stephen A. Smith” podcast on September 26. The star of the “First Take” morning show is planning three episodes a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays via the Audacy app.
Besides his work on “First Take” and “NBA Countdown,” Smith has frequently ventured into the world of politics, with guest hits on Fox News and other cable news networks. He also had a recurring acting role as “Brick” on the “General Hospital” soap opera.
“It’s hard to put into words how excited I am about this opportunity. Although my love for sports will never fade, neither has my zest for expanding my interest beyond the court or field of play. I love news. I love entertainment. Above all else, I love attaching myself to, and touching on, things that are percolating in the minds of the masses — with no inhibitions,” Smith said in a statement.
“Regardless of subject matter, to have the opportunity to do so with a podcast I personally own, with content I personally control, is an adventure I’ve waited to tackle head-on for my entire career. Well, it’s here now, and I’m excited to do it with Cadence13. I’m ready. I hope everyone is, too, for what’s coming. Buckle up!”
Chris Corcoran, chief Content officer and founding partner of Cadence13 called the 54-year old Smith a “larger than life” talent.
“We could not be more thrilled to add his singular, powerful voice to the Cadence13 lineup, and to bring ‘Know Mercy’ to the world.”
“Of course, I’m a Black man, so I would think about the Black community. But I have always prided myself in stating, ‘I’m not just about Black appeal, I’m about mass appeal.’ And everybody in America would matter.”
ESPN said it supports Smith’s outside podcast since it won’t affect his network duties.
“We support Stephen A. in this new opportunity outside of the sports realm. It won’t impact the extensive work he does for ESPN on a daily basis across our many shows and platforms,” said spokesman Josh Krulewitz.
Smith signed a new contract with ESPN in 2019 that pays him $12 million a year.
That made him the highest-paid talent at ESPN until he was surpassed earlier this year by new “Monday Night Football” game analyst Troy Aikman’s $18 million annual salary.