Shelby Co. commissioners debating necessity of $110K contract to produce podcasts of meetings

WATCH: Shelby Co. commissioners debating necessity of $110K contract to produce podcasts of meetings

SHELBY CO., Tenn. — Shelby County commissioners are paying nearly $110,000 to produce and market their two podcasts.

A part of it is social media, but the price tag is causing debate.

After several months on the air and a dozen episodes, one of the shows does not have any ratings on Apple Podcasts, so FOX13 asked commissioners why they are investing some of your tax dollars into it.

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One of the podcasts, called “The Chairman’s Perspective,” is a recap of commissioners’ meetings by the chairman. It launched in Spring 2018, and it’s one of the podcasts created by the county to connect with people.

The recently-approved $110,000 contract with Kudzukian, LLC to produce the show and market it across social media has some questioning the necessity of it.

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The vendor told FOX13 that, currently, the podcasts have 40,000 listens a month – and the goal is to increase that to 70,000 in the first few months.

“With the enhanced social media effort, we’ll be able to literally pinpoint zip codes, demographics that we can target,” said Larry Robinson, with Kudzukian.

Some commissioners did question spending that much money for a podcast.

“Our meetings are already online. They’re already on radio, and so why are we spending this much to repackage it?” said commissioner Mick Wright.

Wright said he wanted to negotiate the price more, especially since the same company has a contract with the city for similar work for a podcast too.

FOX13 asked Van Turner, who is the outgoing commissioner chairman and has been hosting the podcasts, about the price tag.

“How many people do you see here this evening? You see the media and probably 20-25 people. There’s no other way for our constituents to know what’s going on unless we go to them,” Turner said. “The podcast is just one way to go to them.”

As part of the contract, Kudzukian will have to provide quality reports about how they are using the funding to commissioners.

Commissioners will have the option to renew the contract again next year.