PodcastOne debuted its long-awaited listing Friday (Sept. 8), with officials from parent company LiveOne ringing the opening bell on the trading floor of the NASDAQ to celebrate what CEO Rob Ellin says is first ever spinoff of a minority stake in a publicly traded company. Shares of the new LiveOne subsidiary Courtside Group, better known as PodcastOne, fell 45% shortly after trading opened, dropping from $8 per share to close at $4.39.
The tumble came amid growing criticism of one of PodcastOne’s acquisition targets — California-based Kast Media — by major podcasters like comedian Theo Von who accused Kast of failing to pay out $4 million in advertising fees collected by Kast on behalf of its podcaster clients.
In a video viewed more than 1 million times, titled “This Man Defrauded Our Podcast,” Von alleges that Kast Media founder and CEO Colin Thomson did not pay his show This Past Weekend with Theo Von for the advertisements it sold and booked for Von’s show. Von claimed This Past Weekend eventually cut ties with Kast Media, only to later be approached by Thomson and Ellin and was told on a phone call, “If you come over to our new network PodcastOne, we’ll pay some of what you’re owed in stock,” Von said, adding “it felt like to me they’re trying to leverage our podcast and other podcasts to then make their stock do well and if that happens, then we’ll get a share of our money.”
Von told viewers he declined the offer.
Ellin addressed the Kast Media scandal on Friday during a post-market opening interview with Yahoo News. He noted that PodcastOne is no longer hiring Thomson to join his the publicly traded company, but noted he hoped to help creators hurt by the Kast Media controversy.
“We’ve bought a distressed asset called Kast Media, a very distressed, troubled asset (that) owed a lot of money to its podcasters and couldn’t really afford to pay them. And the banks pulled out. And that host pulled out. So we acquired those and have added some very serious revenues to it,” he said.
Von isn’t the only podcaster to go public about the Kast Media scandal. Pro Wrestling podcaster Jim Cornette and cohost Brian Last have detailed their own experience with Kast Media and PodcastOne in a series of at least seven podcast episodes over the last two months. Former Sirius XM host Jason Ellis has also spoken out against Kast Media in a recent viral video.
Von said he will continue pursuing Thomson for the money he is owed by Kast Media.
“You f—ed with the wrong rat, homie” Von said while a picture of Thompson aired on the screen. “You can’t get me to shut up.”
Thomson did not respond to multiple requests for comment.