Echo enters North Bay, Ontario in partnership with Clark Communications;
NORTH BAY, Ont. : Echo Community Podcast Network officially launches today, backed by podcast company Story Studio Network (SSN).
Echo is a modern podcast network model, with on the ground ownership, that’s intended to enhance small and medium-sized markets.
Erin Trafford, a career broadcaster who has been heading one of Canada’s top branded podcast networks for years is backing The Echo Network rollout strategy.
“The whole idea is to offer new ways for audiences to interact with and curate local community information and news,” Erin Trafford, CEO and founder of Story Studio Network, said.
She said where the purpose of SSN is to bring the power of podcasting to brands, the purpose of The Echo Network is to revive local markets with an intentional, modern media model that matches audiences’ changing habits.
(Watch the live stream launch event below! )
“We launched Echo because we know there’s a huge audience segment that isn’t and never will fully engage with mainstream traditional media,” Trafford said. “Think about the younger Millennials and certainly Gen Z – they can’t tell you much about local radio and television because they just don’t engage with it habitually.
“With this new network, we’re opening a door to deepen engagement with those people, and also creating opportunities for new advertisers who likely wouldn’t have ever bought time on local stations,” she said.
Trafford has deep roots in both the broadcast and podcast industries and was part of a team that launched a radio station in North Bay in 2006, which is the site of the first Echo Network launch.
“This market and city has a special place in my heart – it’s part of my story,” Trafford said. “So when Scott approached me and suggested we work together to form a local podcast network and launch it in North Bay – I couldn’t say no.”
Scott Clark, a long-time business owner in North Bay and former radio personality, is Trafford’s Echo co-founder.
“We’ve seen our local media landscape all but dry up in the past five or six years. With The Echo Network, we see a huge opportunity to reclaim our stories and our voices,” Clark, owner of Clark Communications, said.
The network’s initial offering is a variety podcast, aptly called To North Bay with Love, hosted by accomplished North Bay actor Lisa Boivin.
“We produced To North Bay with Love to be just that,” Clark said. “It’s a love letter to the city, to its people and to the community. “Our intention is to enhance the media environment in North Bay and the other markets we’ll launch in. There’s enough to go around and we’d rather partner with our friends in print, digital, radio and television.
In fact, Ontario-based cable company Cogeco, that produces local television in North Bay, including news show YourTV, is Echo’s official media sponsor. Both Trafford and Clark say they are in active talks with other broadcast and media organizations that want to tap into the Echo model as well.
Along with the flagship podcast, Echo is launching a newsletter, called Echo Essentials to dig deeper into topics in the community and curate information for subscribers.
“Podcasting is about community first and we believe The Echo Network model will prove that to be both true and profitable at the same time,” he said.
In terms of advertisers and uptake, Echo is launching with key sponsors out of the gate, including North Bay Hydro, a local advertiser, and Wagepoint accounting, a national sponsor. Both entered long-term agreements with Echo before the network even launched.
“Podcasting, sponsorship and the huge value it brings is still a new thing for most businesses. But we are here to help educate local advertisers because we know that’s needed,” Clark said.
As far as the expansion plan for Echo, both Trafford and Clark are tight-lipped. But admit there are plans to roll Echo out across Ontario, and possibly Eastern Canada, in the coming months.
Kym Geddes, former News Director at Bell Media in Toronto and current media leadership consultant said Trafford has always been on the cutting edge of trends.
“Erin Trafford is a disruptor. An amazing leader in the radio and television industry, always pushing for innovation and progress,” Geddes said. “She’s been ahead of the curve for years, recognizing the importance of audio storytelling long before others caught on.”
About Story Studio Network:
Founded in 2021 by Erin and Dave Trafford, SSN is a branded podcast network, specializing in producing podcasts for brands and organizations.
Find out more about Story Studio Network at www.storystudionetwork.com Contact: COO, Story Studio Network Jaime Nickerson email@example.com ; Echo Co-Founder Erin Trafford firstname.lastname@example.org
About Clark Communications
Founded in 2004, Clark Communications’ vision is to “To inspire community – from neighbourhoods to global partners”, with the mission to “Reimagine how people share information and never lose our love for the work we do.” The Echo community podcast network continues that vision. Find out more about Clark Communications at www.clarkcommunications.ca Contact: North Bay Echo Studio Manager Mykayla King email@example.com ; Echo Co-Founder, Scott Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
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