HWY61 launches debut series with The Neil Reynolds Podcast
LONDON – 3 April 2020: Start-up podcast producer HWY61 has launched its first new series, The Neil Reynolds Podcast.
Founded in 2020, HWY61 is focused on becoming the UK and Europe’s leading independent podcast producer, with an emphasis on quality content that triggers passion points among a mass audience.
Key to achieving this will be HWY61’s sports-based productions. Already launching an NFL-themed show with Neil Reynolds, which debuted at No. 2 on the UK Sports iTunes rankings, a further three sports podcasts are currently in production, with two focused on Premier League clubs.
HWY61 has been founded by Garry Hayes and Matt Alabaster and will concentrate largely on narrative podcasts, developing brands and telling stories across multiple seasons to engage a partisan audience of global sports fans.
Garry Hayes is a former journalist and football writer who, for over 15 years, has worked across digital and print platforms for the likes of Chelsea FC, Bleacher Report, CNN and a number of other leading sports federations. In the past 12 months he has produced two narrative podcast series – dropshot and Overtime.
Matt Alabaster is a former art director who has witnessed significant change across the media in a 25- year career in print and digital. Like his partner at HWY61, Matt has worked with leading sports bodies such as the LTA, NFL and Queen’s Park Rangers FC.
Together Garry and Matt have created HWY61 to exploit the growing trend for on-demand audio – a trend that has seen advertising revenues rise continuously over the past five years. In 2020, this is expected to topple $1 billion in the US alone.
It’s HWY61’s belief that the UK’s content producers are lagging behind the trend and approach that is largely dictated by success stories in the US. Whereas the release of Serial in 2014 ignited the US market, allowing for producers to invest heavily in premium content, the UK and Europe has been slower to pick up the pace.
HWY61’s target is to fill this void, starting with The Neil Reynolds Podcast. As well as investing in its own content, HWY61 is currently in negotiation with legacy media companies and is speaking to a number of potential investors.
Garry Hayes, HWY61 Creative Director, said: “Teaming up with Neil is just the beginning of what is to come for HWY61. We have big ambitions to disrupt the podcast industry in the UK and further afield, so we see The Neil Reynolds Podcast as the perfect statement of intent. Our approach is to do things different and we believe we have done that, filling a gap in the market for quality sports content that is timeless and gives fans much more than a weekly round-up of NFL news.
“The UK has a dedicated audience of sports fans who we believe are under-served. While the likes of the BBC are producing excellent content, the vast majority of podcasts produced give the impression of box ticking. Podcasts are much more than that – they engage an audience and sustain it. And as the end user becomes savvier, the demand for quality that goes beyond what is currently on the market is only going to grow. We believe that is happening now and HWY61 is ready to exploit the demand.”
Neil Reynolds said: “I am very pleased to have teamed up with HWY61 to handle all the production of my new venture, The Neil Reynolds Podcast. The dedicated team at HWY61 go above and beyond the call of duty to present polished and professional episodes, as well as social media support, programme planning and artwork. Them being so good at everything on the production side allows me – the presenter – to concentrate solely on the content. And that is a major plus. I look forward to a long and lucrative partnership with HWY61.”
About The Neil Reynolds Podcast
An American football-themed show that focuses on the life stories of star names within the NFL, Episode 1 is an in-depth interview with Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitz invited Neil and the HWY61 team to his family home in Tampa, FL for a day of frolics and fishing before sitting down to record.
Ryan Fitzpatrick invited Neil and the HWY61 team to his family home in Tampa, FL for a day of frolics and fishing before sitting down to record.
A cult hero among NFL fans, Fitzpatrick has played for eight teams in his professional career and recalls his time coming through as a college player at the prestigious Harvard University. He also hilariously spends some time teaching Neil – who has a phobia of fish – the finer points of casting a line and reeling in his catch.
Upcoming guests on the podcast include Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians and Cleveland Browns punter, Jamie Gillan.
The podcast is available on all major streaming platforms. On its first day of release (2 April) The Neil Reynolds Podcast debuted at No. 2 on the UK Sports iTunes rankings.
The Neil Reynolds Podcast is a joint venture with the Reynolds Podcast Network (RPN) as part of an exclusive partnership with HWY61.
Note to editors:
• The Neil Reynolds Podcast will run fortnightly until the start of the new NFL season. It will then be weekly right through to Super Bowl LV. New shows drop on Thursdays
• Fans can follow the podcast on Instagram and Twitter @TheNRPodcast
• Neil Reynolds is the face of Sky Sports’ NFL coverage in the UK
• Images from Neil Reynolds’ fishing trip with Ryan Fitzpatrick are available upon request
T: +44 (0) 7708 901868
T: +44 (0) 7590 268540