The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast array of reporters and analysts. Kimes, who will host the program, has already been working on stories.
“We will certainly be engaging with the news and the sports calendar, but we also want to find stories that aren’t the obvious ones, the ones people wouldn’t hear about otherwise,” Kimes says in an interview. The show will last about 20 minutes and tackle everything from stories about the biggest names in sports to narrative investigations and some quirkier stuff.
ESPN personalities and anchors have been producing podcasts for years. Jemele Hill and Michael Smith found greater fame by working on “His & Hers,” an audio show that propelled the duo to wider renown at the company. But the new “Daily” is meant to do something many other media outlets are also working to accomplish: serve up a daily dose of news and content that will anchor fans around the outlet much in the same way a daily newspaper once did. Many big media outlets have launched morning podcasts in a bid to command more attention from the rise-and-shine crowd. The New York Times’ “The Daily” has proven to be a durable program, and The Wall Street Journal, ABC News and others have also launched salvos in the field.
Kimes says the program will allow her to jump from one interesting subject to the next, no matter the category. “I am interested in everything, which sounds like a cop out. Having been a magazine writer, I do not have a beat,” he says. “I really love that process of discovery, and I hope to bring that sort of focus to this as well.”
Kimes’ journey to ESPN wasn’t the typical one. She didn’t log hours covering a team for a big newspaper. Indeed, her previous stints were at Fortune and Bloomberg. Most of her passion for sports showed up in tweets, not her reporting. One day, however, she wrote an essay on Tumblr about her father and their shared love for the Seattle Seahawks. The piece was reposted on Slate, and executives at ESPN noticed.
“I never really intended to get into sports. It was my hobby and my passion, and I kind of lucked out,” she says. But football “is my whole life,” a condition for which sxhe faults her father. “The person you’d blame is my dad.”
Shehas appeared on multiple ESPN TV programs, including the TV simulcast of radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Highly Questionable,” “Around the Horn,” “SportsCenter” and “Outside the Lines.” Kimes also has co-hosted a weekly ESPN Radio show and an NFL podcast. In August, she served as a color analyst on the Los Angeles Rams’ television broadcasts of preseason games.
Football will have its place on “Daily,” and Monday’s big story is expected to center around Sunday night football, she says. But the show launches in a heady season for sports, she notes. Baseball is about to have its World Series, and the NBA season kicks off Tuesday. “We really want to give people a slightly different format,” she says. “Something you can listen to on your commute.”