The Ringer

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
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What is the point?
That Bill's months of toil at the Herald without being given his own column is not equivalent to the struggle young writers in Los Angeles and New York face in 2019.

Hell, I am a contemporary of Bill's, attended public school, had no financial help from my parents, paid my own way through college by taking out significant loans, and was still able to afford a practically luxurious apartment in Somerville while paying off those loans back in 1994 on a menial post-college paycheck. Times have changed.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Hell, I am a contemporary of Bill's, attended public school, had no financial help from my parents, paid my own way through college by taking out significant loans, and was still able to afford a practically luxurious apartment in Somerville while paying off those loans back in 1994 on a menial post-college paycheck. Times have changed.
Is "humblebrag" still a thing?
 
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I’m new here and haven’t posted previously, but it’s interesting to read viewpoints expressed from antithetical positions, think them well-stated, and get as much from those one thinks less correct as from those deemed closer to the truth. It’s refreshing. You don’t see that so often these days, nor people who argue with their heads and their emotions, while remaining decorous—if a little edgy, which is cool.
 

johnmd20

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I’m new here and haven’t posted previously, but it’s interesting to read viewpoints expressed from antithetical positions, think them well-stated, and get as much from those one thinks less correct as from those deemed closer to the truth. It’s refreshing. You don’t see that so often these days, nor people who argue with their heads and their emotions, while remaining decorous—if a little edgy, which is cool.
This thread took a turn!
 

cheech13

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I wish i "got" Shea Serrano. He ruins every ringer podcast he's on for me.

Him and Simmons together are always trying to out-bro each other.
Agreed. He's a really good writer and I enjoyed both of his books immensely, but his humor and "voice" don't come through as well in videos or podcasting. He oddly comes off as a bit of a "bro" in podcasts, which is weird considering his writing often feels the opposite, as if he were something of a nerd trying desperately to defend the things he was passionate about. Something isn't translating.

FWIW I used to feel the same way about Rembert, who had amazing detail and heart in his writing, but came off as indecisive and aloof when on camera.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Simmons is the reason I'm on SoSH -- he dropped a reference to the community into a BSG column in 2000, and next thing I knew I requested membership and many hours of my life would be different. So I'm grateful to him for that, but I'll guess you may feel otherwise.
 

The Social Chair

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Might be apropos of nothing but when promoting new articles Simmons has not tweeted out the handles of the Ringer writers. He always did it before the union stuff came out.
 

luckiestman

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Agreed. He's a really good writer and I enjoyed both of his books immensely, but his humor and "voice" don't come through as well in videos or podcasting. He oddly comes off as a bit of a "bro" in podcasts, which is weird considering his writing often feels the opposite, as if he were something of a nerd trying desperately to defend the things he was passionate about. Something isn't translating.

FWIW I used to feel the same way about Rembert, who had amazing detail and heart in his writing, but came off as indecisive and aloof when on camera.
I like him. His personality strikes me as more machismo than bro. I suppose it depends how you want to slice up forms of masculinity.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Might be apropos of nothing but Simmons has not tweeted out the handles of the Ringer writers when promoting new articles since the union stuff came out. He always did it before.
Normally I would say you are reading way too much into it, but Simmons does tend to get pretty passive-aggressive when he gets annoyed or isn't getting his way ("Do I get to speak now?").
 

Rich Garces Belly

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can someone move the Simmons stuff to the SImmons thread. I feel like talking about the first half of the beautiful Gone Girl podcast I just listened to but I dont want to interrupt the eipsode of the fucking View that is going on here.
I’m going to have to listen to that soon, was the podcast good?
 

allstonite

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Yeah it’s good and I forgot how good the movie was. I bought it for like $4.99 on iTunes years ago and watched it then and enjoyed it. Watched it again for the podcast and thought it was phenomenal
 

luckiestman

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Yeah it’s good and I forgot how good the movie was. I bought it for like $4.99 on iTunes years ago and watched it then and enjoyed it. Watched it again for the podcast and thought it was phenomenal

I love the wife that’s how sick I am. I’d just tell her “look, I know you’re going to kill me someday and I’m ok with that. Just don’tet me see you do it and minimize my physical suffering.”
 

CantKeepmedown

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I was pretty surprised that Shea had no clue who Caroline Bessette Kennedy was. Even when they said she was JFK Jr's wife, he still said he had no clue.

All in all, another great podcast for a movie I really enjoyed. Mallory Rubin is growing on me. I thought it sounded a little awkward that Bill insisted on her reading parts of the "cool girl" speech but she didn't seem to have a problem with it. And then watching the video, nobody seemed overly uncomfortable, so I think it was fine.
 

Spelunker

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I was pretty surprised that Shea had no clue who Caroline Bessette Kennedy was. Even when they said she was JFK Jr's wife, he still said he had no clue.

All in all, another great podcast for a movie I really enjoyed. Mallory Rubin is growing on me. I thought it sounded a little awkward that Bill insisted on her reading parts of the "cool girl" speech but she didn't seem to have a problem with it. And then watching the video, nobody seemed overly uncomfortable, so I think it was fine.
If you've listened to much Mallory, generally they're working hard to tamp *down* her sexual commentary.
 

CantKeepmedown

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I know she generally doesn't hesitate to comment on that stuff (Top Gun and the The Natural were great). I just thought her slight hesitation on reading that sounded off. But again, the video showed that things were fine.

And i have to admit, I posted that without finishing the final 5 minutes when all 4 of them were commenting on whether or not Affleck needed a fluffer before his side dick scene. Even Sean was in on that convo.
 

Riconway3155

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I laughed out loud at the first comment under the post:

"Would this union work as a 10-episode Netflix series?"
 

Clears Cleaver

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Simmons is an interesting personality because if you don't like him, you can go the Bonger route and say that he's had a silver spoon in his mouth since he was a kid and this is another example of a well-to-do kid having a safety net under him while he gets to pursue his dream. If you're like johnmd20, you can say that Simmons is a "by his own bootstraps" type of guy who was able to get himself out of the muck and not only pursue his own dream, but be wildly successful at it.

I think that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Clears, you were there, so you probably know more than I do; but I recall Simmons interview (and this was when he was starting to make a name for himself at DC) where he was apopleptic that he had to pay his dues as a cub reporter: taking down high school scores, fetching coffee for the older reporters, getting his stuff heavily edited and other bullshit that 20-somethings did in a newsroom. I distinctly remember him ripping Felger by saying that he was a kiss ass who did anything that anyone asked of him and would always laugh at the boss' jokes. Basically, Simmons felt he was too big for this sort of stuff that he needed to do in order to be a columnist. That's what prompted him to strike out on his own.

Again, depending on how you view Simmons this is either an example of him being admirable or him being a big, whiny cry baby. YMMV.

But I think that Bonger is ultimately correct that Simmons was allowed to do this because his Dad offered him a safety net: write during the day, bar tend (or something) at night and I'll take care of the rest. Would I do the same for my kids? If I had the means, hell yes. In a second. Most parents would. But not all parents can. I think that's the thing, if Simmons starts spouting bullshit about how it was back when he was a young turk, living in Charlestown (I'm pretty sure it was Charlestown not Brighton, because he always wrote about going to the Store 24 in Charlestown), I think that he needs to remember that he had assistance. Not everyone has that. To be fair, it seems to me that Simmons does remember this stuff and (maybe aside from Jonah Keri) I think that most people have had positive experiences with him as a boss.

Simmons wouldn't be the first titan of industry to forget where he came from though. I'm not much of a fan these days, but he seems like a good enough guy, I hope that he does the right thing.
I didn't want to misremember anything, so I asked my good friend who also started at the Herald with me (same month as Felger, same day at MAzz). We worked from 8:00pm until 1am three days a week and usually Saturday. it wasn't a full-time job, but 20 hours or so. The Herald under Bob Sales was a toxic place. This was the Lisa Olsen era. Sales and his #2 guy were just bad people and cultivated a terrible environment. I got the job because one of the BU professors worked there and got us in (same with my friend and Felger, all had the same class at COM). I spent first two years primarily doing non-writing agate type stuff, collecting and inputting scores and boxes and the like, with maybe some occasional editing/writing based solely on the data we got from the coaches who would call in. I didn't start "reporting" until my third year, doing high school sports and some BU stuff. And yes, Simmons had it right in terms of Felger being a kiss ass. Mazz was worse because MAzz knew he was an idiot and basically just tagged along to the bar every night at 100am. Felger knew what he was doing, Mazz just wanted to fit in. felger lived next door to me on Beacon during this time. he was always ambitious and wanted desperately to be the hockey guy at the Herald.

Simmons came in my last year there. was not a bro with the rest of the group. he hated it there, maybe because they viewed him as too white collar. Or he looked down on them as sucking at life (which, honestly, most did. unless you think bitching about your existence, drinking and smoking constantly is considered awesome). I never fetched coffee per se, but basically had to do whatever. I remember I came in one night in a suit. My internship at Worth Magazine required me to dress up that particular day and I went straight from. Sales flipped out, saying I must be interviewing. One of the editors was like "he's a college kid, he had to for an internship he has during the day" but Sales never talked to me after that. When I took a full time job at Worth in NYC, he said something like "I knew you didn't fit in here." LOL

end of the day, Simmons wasn't making more than $25k at the Herald. the full time job they offered me upon graduation would have paid me ~$20k per year roughly based on hours offered. Him blogging and working nights as a bartender was likely the same math just different jobs/hours. and yes, he lived in Charlestown, not Brighton. I paid like $700/mos for my apartment on bay state road with two other guys. I did it, but there wasn't a lot of cushion. and I made $100+ week at the Country club as a waiter/bartender as well

you want to say he had a cushion and made it easier...that's fine. I was in same boat with no cushion and was able to do it. but the guy worked his ass off and is talented and bet on himself when many wouldn't. he also understood the value of the internet when others didn't, especially in the media. He wanted to be a columnist and being at the Herald was not necessarily a great way to do that. he identified that and moved on. lot's of folks start where he started and never advance. there are several still at the Herald now. guy started two successful media enterprises, one that today is likely worth nine figures

edit: the #2 guy at the Herald sports dept was Mark Torpey. What an absolute douche
 
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Clears Cleaver

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Bill Simmons stopped posting on this site almost 15 years ago because, essentially, a poster challenged Simmons' assertion that Edgar Renteria was a bad hitter because when Renteria was at the plate in the 2004 Series, Simmons never got nervous. It was the antithesis of data-driving baseball analysis that SoSH tried/tries to champion, and when called out to provide some support for his gut-feeling argument, Simmons took his ball and went home.

His leaving had nothing at all to do with the criticism of his writing, much less comments regarding his upbringing/personal life.
there was actually a basketball site set up called "stuck on 16" that was private started by SoSH members so that Simmons could interact and talk about the Celtics without his opinions being public. HE stopped posting on here because ESPN did not want him to (remember this site generated a lot of traffic and publicity post Schilling and other events). He actually broke that KG was in town for talks and maybe physical a day or two before media got wind, allowing me, and other perhaps, to go and buy fourth row behind the hoop season tickets before the deal was announced publicly.
 

moondog80

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I didn't want to misremember anything, so I asked my good friend who also started at the Herald with me (same month as Felger, same day at MAzz). We worked from 8:00pm until 1am three days a week and usually Saturday. it wasn't a full-time job, but 20 hours or so. The Herald under Bob Sales was a toxic place. This was the Lisa Olsen era. Sales and his #2 guy were just bad people and cultivated a terrible environment. I got the job because one of the BU professors worked there and got us in (same with my friend and Felger, all had the same class at COM). I spent first two years primarily doing non-writing agate type stuff, collecting and inputting scores and boxes and the like, with maybe some occasional editing/writing based solely on the data we got from the coaches who would call in. I didn't start "reporting" until my third year, doing high school sports and some BU stuff. And yes, Simmons had it right in terms of Felger being a kiss ass. Mazz was worse because MAzz knew he was an idiot and basically just tagged along to the bar every night at 100am. Felger knew what he was doing, Mazz just wanted to fit in. felger lived next door to me on Beacon during this time. he was always ambitious and wanted desperately to be the hockey guy at the Herald.

Simmons came in my last year there. was not a bro with the rest of the group. he hated it there, maybe because they viewed him as too white collar. Or he looked down on them as sucking at life (which, honestly, most did. unless you think bitching about your existence, drinking and smoking constantly is considered awesome). I never fetched coffee per se, but basically had to do whatever. I remember I came in one night in a suit. My internship at Worth Magazine required me to dress up that particular day and I went straight from. Sales flipped out, saying I must be interviewing. One of the editors was like "he's a college kid, he had to for an internship he has during the day" but Sales never talked to me after that. When I took a full time job at Worth in NYC, he said something like "I knew you didn't fit in here." LOL

end of the day, Simmons wasn't making more than $25k at the Herald. the full time job they offered me upon graduation would have paid me ~$20k per year roughly based on hours offered. Him blogging and working nights as a bartender was likely the same math just different jobs/hours. and yes, he lived in Charlestown, not Brighton. I paid like $700/mos for my apartment on bay state road with two other guys. I did it, but there wasn't a lot of cushion. and I made $100+ week at the Country club as a waiter/bartender as well

you want to say he had a cushion and made it easier...that's fine. I was in same boat with no cushion and was able to do it. but the guy worked his ass off and is talented and bet on himself when many wouldn't. He wanted to be a columnist and being at the Herald was not necessarily a great way to do that. he identified that and moved on. lot's of folks start where he started and never advance. there are several still at the Herald now. guy started two successful media enterprises, one that today is likely worth nine figures
Interesting take, thanks for posting. Do we really think he's worth nine figures (not including cents)? I could believe eight, but north of 100 million?
 

luckiestman

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Interesting take, thanks for posting. Do we really think he's worth nine figures (not including cents)? I could believe eight, but north of 100 million?

I think CC was saying the ringer is worth 9 which I don’t know if I believe.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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HBO's investment in The Ringer is reportedly 10%, and I haven't found the amount of equity anywhere. That said, the business pulled in $15M in podcast advertising revenue last year. With some additional revenue coming in from the website, maybe a TV or film deal here or there, and expected growth on the podcast side... that's not too shabby.

I don't know what the multiple is for this kind of business for revenue/enterprise value, but a 100M valuation doesn't feel completely shocking.

 

luckiestman

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HBO's investment in The Ringer is reportedly 10%, and I haven't found the amount of equity anywhere. That said, the business pulled in $15M in podcast advertising revenue last year. With some additional revenue coming in from the website, maybe a TV or film deal here or there, and expected growth on the podcast side... that's not too shabby.

I don't know what the multiple is for this kind of business for revenue/enterprise value, but a 100M valuation doesn't feel completely shocking.


If I buy the Ringer, do I get Simmons? I think the phrase for this is a “key man discount.” What is the Ringer worth without Simmons?
 

moondog80

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HBO's investment in The Ringer is reportedly 10%, and I haven't found the amount of equity anywhere. That said, the business pulled in $15M in podcast advertising revenue last year. With some additional revenue coming in from the website, maybe a TV or film deal here or there, and expected growth on the podcast side... that's not too shabby.

I don't know what the multiple is for this kind of business for revenue/enterprise value, but a 100M valuation doesn't feel completely shocking.


Good for him if it's true. I still would have been thoroughly impressed if it turned out he was worth "only" 23 million.
 

Clears Cleaver

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the Huffington Post sold for roughly 5x revenues at $315M. I have no idea what the margins are on The Ringer vs Huffington or what valuations have done for multi-media businesses the last 8 years. but if the Podcast revenue alone was $15M, then saying it is worth $100M+ has to be close
 

johnmd20

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the Huffington Post sold for roughly 5x revenues at $315M. I have no idea what the margins are on The Ringer vs Huffington or what valuations have done for multi-media businesses the last 8 years. but if the Podcast revenue alone was $15M, then saying it is worth $100M+ has to be close
That was also a pretty significant overpay, and a terrible purchase. So the Huff Post might not be a good comp. In 2019, there is no way an internet content machine would go for 5x revenues. Maybe 2x revenues. There's no money in any of these properties, because they simply come and go.
 

The Needler

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I’m guessing none of The Ringer’s Succession recaps will give much time to what happened after the show’s new media company staffers started organizing a union.
 

allstonite

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Probably smart for all sides (Bill and his employees) to remain quiet about it, especially as it relates to a fictional TV show. They formed a union and management acknowledged it. There doesn’t seem to be any animosity. Absolutely no reason for anyone to poke the bear for no gain
 

Spelunker

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More importantly, Wesley Morris is an excellent addition to The Rewatchables. He and Mal tag-teaming a sex scene is great theatre.
 

The Needler

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Probably smart for all sides (Bill and his employees) to remain quiet about it, especially as it relates to a fictional TV show. They formed a union and management acknowledged it. There doesn’t seem to be any animosity. Absolutely no reason for anyone to poke the bear for no gain
Especially as it relates to a fictional TV show that they spend substantial bandwidth discussing across their media platforms? Are you suggesting they just ignore that significant storyline?

I don’t consume that content, so I have no idea whether or how they’ve addressed it, but it would seem weird to me if they didn’t. I’m not saying they have to compare it to what’s going on in their office, but that’s different from remaining quiet about it.

As for there not being any animosity, I kind of doubt that, but we’re likely to find out eventually. Recognizing a union does not necessarily mean management is happy about it, or even that it is willing to deal in good faith. It means that it’s probably getting good legal advice, and will wait to see how negotiation demands play out before revealing their cards. If there really were no animosity, we likely would have seen some kind of pro Forma statement from management that they are looking forward to constructive discussions, etc. I haven’t seen anything come out from that side yet.
 
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allstonite

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Especially as it relates to a fictional TV show that they spend substantial bandwidth discussing across their media platforms? Are you suggesting they just ignore that significant storyline?

I don’t consume that content, so I have no idea whether or how they’ve addressed it, but it would seem weird to me if they didn’t. I’m not saying they have to compare it to what’s going on in their office, but that’s different from remaining quiet about it.

As for there not being any animosity, I kind of doubt that, but we’re likely to find out eventually. Recognizing a union does not necessarily mean management is happy about it, or even that it is willing to deal in good faith. It means that it’s probably getting good legal advice, and will wait to see how negotiation demands play out before revealing their cards. If there really were no animosity, we likely would have seen some kind of pro Forma statement from management that they are looking forward to constructive discussions, etc. I haven’t seen anything come out from that side yet.
If you don't consume it then why do you care? You mentioned it but didn't take the 5 seconds to CTRL+F the recap? For the record the storyline was mentioned in their written recap.

They've recognized it. They'll go into negotiations. I'm sure management isn't happy about it and IANAL but I'm sure lawyers told them all to keep quiet beyond that. Sorry they aren't turning this serious issue into a professional wrestling storyline. These are grownups and this isn't Barstool

Edit: For the record, it IS pretty funny that the week unionization of a digital media company is mentioned on this digital media company's current favorite show is the same week the real digital media company decided to unionize
 
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The Needler

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If you don't consume it then why do you care? You mentioned it but didn't take the 5 seconds to CTRL+F the recap? For the record the storyline was mentioned in their written recap.

They've recognized it. They'll go into negotiations. I'm sure management isn't happy about it and IANAL but I'm sure lawyers told them all to keep quiet beyond that. Sorry they aren't turning this serious issue into a professional wrestling storyline. These are grownups and this isn't Barstool

Edit: For the record, it IS pretty funny that the week unionization of a digital media company is mentioned on this digital media company's current favorite show is the same week the real digital media company decided to unionize
I care because it’s news. I consume some content from the Ringer. I find unionization an interesting issue. I find the Ringer founder’s past comments on the effects of unionization extremely interesting. I greatly enjoy Succession. I think it’s a beautiful coincidence that HBO’s current prestige drama featured this storyline when it’s als one of the major investors/partners in the Ringer. Just because I don’t care for the Ringer’s voluminous coverage of Succession, I should mind my own business? Thanks, but no. BTW, the Ringer Union has a Twitter account. They have enlisted the support of the public. I’m not butting into anyone’s private business here. They’ve made this a story, and I’m entitled to be curious about it.

And grownups can recognize how extremely relevant the storyline is, and not pretend it didn’t happen, or give it a passing mention. The fucking episode’s title Is Vaulter.

The grownups over at A/V Club sure thought it deserved discussion.


EDIT: I have now read the Ringer’s recap—a waste of time, as I guessed it would be. They didn’t find unionization worthy of even a sentence. Just noted it in a passing parenthetical. That’s frankly embarrassing.
 
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luckiestman

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Edit: For the record, it IS pretty funny that the week unionization of a digital media company is mentioned on this digital media company's current favorite show is the same week the real digital media company decided to unionize

Things like this are way less funny once you accept that we live in a simulation. It actually just makes sense.
 

Joe D Reid

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Mallory Rubin promoted to EIC, Fennessey has some vague job title now and it isn't clear what he does.
Sounds like Mallory handles the words and Fennessey handles A/V content and mission/vision stuff. So they basically promoted Mallory to EIC but chipped away at the EIC role, presumably because the podcast/video side of the house is making proportionally more of the money.
 

luckiestman

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I like Mallory on the Rewatchables. It is nice to hear someone who is a dream chaser get choked up with gratitude at the success she is having.
 

Spelunker

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Sounds like Mallory handles the words and Fennessey handles A/V content and mission/vision stuff. So they basically promoted Mallory to EIC but chipped away at the EIC role, presumably because the podcast/video side of the house is making proportionally more of the money.
As a potential clarification, Fennesey already had the CCO title: that isn't new for him.