From Tommy Chong to Freedom Leaf columnist Ngaio Bealum to Los Angeles celebrity magnet Dr. Dina Browner, the Cannabis Radio network hosts a strong and diverse group of podcasters that makes it well worth tuning in to their Internet-driven programming.
“We try to build the content around them, and find the person who has the most amount of awareness, or people we think are diamonds in the rough who have amazing information to offer, but just haven’t had a platform to do it,” says Cannabis Radio co-founder and President, Brandy Shapiro. “Hosting a radio show gives them that second wing to fly.”
Shapiro and her husband, Daron Babin, founded the network in 2015. Both have backgrounds in media: Shapiro used to work at Clear Channel, and Babin at the NBC affiliate in Houston. They started WebmasterRadio.FM in 2004 before directing their attention to CannabisRadio.com.
The network is available on cannabisradio.com, iTunes and iHeartRadio, as well as other platforms. It rotates shows, promotional pitches and news reports from USA Radio Network and other syndicated networks. Cannabis luminaries, like Vivian McPeak, Russ Belville, Mitch Earleywine and Kyle Kushman, host most of their shows.
Based in Phoenix, with production facilities in Florida, Cannabis Radio derives revenue from advertising, sponsorships, production fees and its white-label SEO services. For the show hosts, it helps to have requisite radio skills and a ready-made audience of devoted followers. Each host is paired with a trainer and a show producer, who help them “shape their content, and make sure they personify themselves the way they need to in order to reach their stakeholders. We support them to have a voice that continues their expert status in the industry,” Shapiro explains.
Hosts are not paid, but they can make money by bringing advertisers to the network. “They stick with us, because it’s keeping them relevant and gives them authority,” she adds.
A non-smoker, Shapiro was drawn to the cannabis industry due to her mother’s sickness. “She was in incredible shape physically when Alzheimer’s hit,” Shapiro says about Beverly, whose accomplishments included advising the governor of Massachusetts on physical fitness and sports. “People having access to a plant that enhances the dignity and quality of their lives? I’m all about it.”
While continuing to improve the listener experience at Cannabis Radio— more business programming is planned— Shapiro is particularly excited about their next move into video. “On Election Night, we did six hours of live TV and radio simulcast,” she says. “That gave us the bug. For starters, we’re going to produce a six-episode newsmagazine-style show. Each episode will focus on different cannabis business subjects.”
Shapiro expects the video series to roll out “in the next four months.”
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