Former TSN 1040 hosts Sekeres and Price have launched a new podcast, which is leading to much more. And they know it’s all a grand experiment.

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In the decade-plus that podcasting has been around, there’s been one clear lesson: If you’re really going to make it work, you have to go as big as possible.

Staying local won’t pay the bills — there just aren’t enough ears to sell ads too.

Unless you try something different, like doing more than just a podcast. You need to think big. You can’t just say, “I had a radio show that worked, so surely that will work in the new medium.”

That’s a lesson that is strikingly familiar to people who have been paying attention to the progress of newspapers over the past two decades. What worked yesterday isn’t going to work tomorrow.

Matt Sekeres and Blake Price launched a podcast this week — a presentation they’re at pains to make clear is just the beginning of a broader project — a month after their careers were abruptly put on hold by the closure of TSN 1040 by Bell Media, a decision that shocked listeners and staff alike.

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Sekeres and Price is available on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

“Blindsided,” Price said of his reaction at the time.

The duo had been together on air for nearly 10 years and had drawn solid ratings for their afternoon drive show for the past half-decade, including summer numbers last year — driven by the unusual experience of August hockey, of course — that were some of the station’s all-time best.

A month later, the bitter emotions may still linger inside, but it’s also clear in speaking with them that there’s no sense in dwelling on what’s gone before.

Tuesday night, the duo met up in a local studio and recorded the softest of launches of their new project, one that will see them return to their familiar afternoon broadcast time, but in a new format and a new delivery system. What they’re calling “episode zero” went live Wednesday morning. They recorded a new episode Friday night, after the Canucks’ 3-2 win over the Canadiens in Montreal.

It’s a radio show, but not. It’s a podcast, but not. It will be a TV show, but not.

“We’re getting a big education,” Price told Postmedia Thursday.

Both men give huge credit to Rob Gray, the former program director at 1040, who now works with the North Beach Agency; even when he was working in radio, Gray was trying to figure out where the puck was going in.

It was Gray, for instance, who created the “Hot Audio” clips that would get pushed out on social media. They were so popular that they quickly opened up a new source of revenue — and they’re going to be instructive in how Sekeres and Price approach distribution in the weeks and months ahead.

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Just as print journalism learned that you can’t just take what worked in the physical newspaper and then do the same online, you can’t just take what worked on the radio and simply turn it into a podcast.

“As a labour of love, you can do whatever you want,” Price admitted. “We’re learning about what’s going to survive, what’s monetizable.”

The response from fans since they were forced off the air has been palpable, too.

“The public support has been amazing and we’re excited to be a show by the community, for the community, meeting the coverage expectations of B.C. sports fans,” Sekeres said.

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In a world where it feels like it’s harder to name people who don’t have a podcast versus those who do, Price and Sekeres both recognize they can’t just do the same. But they also know their brand will help them in the early going.

Both Rod Pedersen’s show, streamed from his studio in Saskatchewan, and Edmonton sports radio host Jason Gregor, who has long been chasing his audience through a variety of mediums, have shown some success and present lessons to draw from, they indicated.

They’re also fortunate enough, both in how their brand seems to still have a hold on local sports fans and in their own life positions, to be able to take some risks. They know this momentum will only be there for so long.

It is a bet on themselves. And so far, there’s interest from advertisers.

“We’re not going to get rich,” Price went on. “We’re trying to get it to somewhere that’s sustainable.”

“There’s a happy medium to be reached in terms of how quickly we could do things,” he added. There’s going to be a degree of throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.

“You’ve got to stay ahead of the game and figure out what’s really going to take root here.”

They also know they’re going to have to help their listeners along. People have been conditioned for decades to just flip their radio on. To find the new show will be different.

Maybe the fact we’ve all managed to learn how to Zoom in the last year might help. Either way, Sekeres and Price seem to recognize how big that part of their challenge is.

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“People are all at different stages of this learning, too. There’s been so many people who have downloaded the podcast and used it on their commute, but there are so many people who are asking, ‘How do I find that?’” Price said.

Sekeres pointed to a tweet from veteran broadcaster Bill Good as a case in point.

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“Walk people through how to find you,” Good asked in response to Sekeres’s tweet previewing the fact they were going to podcast this week.

The soft launch of the podcast this week is more of a preview of what’s to come. They’re going to record a couple times per week for now.

At some point they’ll start streaming in their old time slot, hopeful that their new and old listeners will by then understand how to loop their online signal through their car radio.

It’s an old-school approach, but their listeners wanted to have a destination to head to, even if the medium has changed. And so Sekeres and Price will press on, hopeful they can guide their audience to the promised land.

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction

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