• FOX13 Investigates: City spends $75,000 for podcasts with inconsistent listenership data

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn: - The city of Memphis is spending taxpayer dollars for two podcasts.

    FOX13 obtained contracts between the city and Kudzukian, LLC, a Memphis-based multimedia company, for $75,000 to produce and market two podcasts – “Neighborhood Connect” about housing and community development and “Best in Blue” podcast, television and radio recruitment campaigns about the Memphis Police Department. 

    This after the Shelby County Commissioners approved a $110,000 contract with the same company for two other podcasts over the summer.

    However, there were inconsistencies in listenership data. 

    According to a year-in-review presentation, Kudzukian claims “Best in Blue” has 22,000 listens monthly, but the contract states the average reach is only 6,000.


    Download the FOX13 Memphis app to receive alerts from breaking news in your neighborhood.

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD


    Trending stories:


    FOX13 tried to speak to Larry Robinson, the Owner of Kudzukian, for clarification, but he declined an interview. 

    City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad said the podcast funding wasn’t a city council decision, it was an administrative one. 

    FOX13 has reached out to the mayor’s office for a comment, but has yet to hear back. 

    “We just did exit polling in Memphis last week and voters told us fiscal responsibility is their #2 issue,” said Mark Cunningham, the Vice President of the Beacon Center of Tennessee. 

    The independent nonprofit advocates for more transparency over government spending.

    Cunningham said there isn’t much justification for the high cost of these podcasts.

    “You see the listenership for these things and no one’s listening and it seems more like a pat yourself on the back project to make taxpayers feel like you’re doing a good job… it seems more like propaganda than it is actual news.” 

    Between the city and the county, Kudzukian LLC markets and produces at least four different podcasts for these government agencies which is almost $200,000 in taxpayer money.

    Next Up: