Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Echo Community Podcast Network launches with eye to introducing modern media model

The Echo Community Podcast Network launched in North Bay, ON last week, with an eye to introducing an “intentional, modern media model” to meet changing audience habits.

The venture is being backed by Story Studio Network (SSN), the branded content production house co-founded by father-daughter broadcasters Dave and Erin Trafford, and Scott Clark, the owner of North Bay digital marketing agency Clark Communications and a former morning radio personality.

“We launched Echo because we know there’s a huge audience segment that isn’t and never will fully engage with mainstream traditional media,” said SSN CEO Erin Trafford, in a company announcement. “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.”

“We’ve seen our local media landscape all but dry up in the past five or six years,” added Clark. “With The Echo Network, we see a huge opportunity to reclaim our stories and our voices.”

The network’s inaugural original podcast is the community and culture-focused To North Bay with Love, hosted by North Bay actress Lisa Boivin, which Clark describes as “a love letter to the city, to its people and to the community.”

Other offerings include The Frontline, the official podcast of local Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team, North Bay Battalion, hosted by former Country 600 CKAT rinkside reporter and YourTV host Kortney Kenney; and The Backroads Bill Podcast, exploring the history of the region. Echo has also launched Echo Essentials, a newsletter offering further insight into community news and events.

Cogeco is on board as the network’s official media sponsor. Other sponsors at launch include North Bay Hydro and Wagepoint payroll and accounting software.

Trafford and Clark say there are conversations happening that could see the roll out of the Echo model across Ontario, and potentially Eastern Canada, in the coming months.

“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,” said Clark. “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.”

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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