Hockey agent Walsh enjoying his role with new podcast

Adam Wylde did a lot of cold-calling to Allan Walsh before the agent agreed to take part in the new podcast. Here they share a laugh with guest Marc-André Fleury of the Blackhawks.Steve Dangle Podcast Network

Adam Wylde was desperately seeking Allan Walsh, the always opinionated and sometimes controversial hockey agent, last summer. Wylde, who had been working in radio since he was 18 and had established himself as the co-host of a Toronto Top 40 radio morning show as well as co-host of the Steve Dangle Podcast, had just launched a podcast network. It was in his new role of co-CEO and head of content for the Steve Dangle Podcast Network that he was trying to get to Walsh.

“I didn’t know Allan,” Wylde said. “I cold-called him.” Although they had never met, Wylde had heard Walsh passionately speak his mind on all things hockey on Canadian media for years.

“He had really definite opinions and made no apology for them and that usually makes a really great on-air personality – especially when it comes to sports.” Wylde said. “Brash. Yeah, brash does well on sports television and brash does just as well on sports podcasting and digital. ”

But Walsh, who is Octagon Hockey co-managing director, didn’t know Wylde or recognize his phone number. Wylde called about once a week for two months, but Walsh wouldn’t pick up. “I was like a really desperate ex,” Wylde said.

Finally, a mutual friend intervened. Walsh was walking into the final game of the Stanley Cup last year when a journalist he’s known for years approached him and asked him to take Wylde’s call.

When they connected, Wylde explained he was building a podcast network with his partners, internet star Dangle (whose real name is Steven Glynn) and Jesse Blake.

“He says, ‘You don’t know me; I am involved in a podcast network. … We are expanding the network, “Walsh said, recounting the conversation,” He said, ‘I think you should have a podcast.’ “

“I said,‘ Me? Why me? ‘”

Wylde told Walsh he had been following him on Twitter for years and had seen him and heard him on Canadian media and that his personality was built for a podcast. Walsh was not convinced. “I said, ‘I appreciate it, but I have no interest.'”

But Wylde didn’t give up. At the end of a more than hourlong phone call, Walsh said, “If you are really serious about this, I will do a demo.”

Wylde and Walsh did the demonstration podcast, and Walsh surprised himself by liking it. Wylde and Walsh, as co-hosts, launched the show, which Walsh dubbed “Agent Provocateur,” in October.

Steve Dangle Podcast Network

“I’m not doing it for the money, but I’m not doing it for free,” Walsh said of the podcasts, which have advertisers. “Let’s just say I’m not looking to quit my day job.”

The shows are weekly, about an hour long, and are available on traditional platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Audible. Wylde and Walsh start by talking about the news of the week in the NHL. For example, recently they talked about the Arizona Coyotes’ arena situation and how the team will play at Arizona State University until a new arena in Tempe is completed, if that project is approved by Tempe authorities.

The show, still in its early days, now averages 20,000 to 25,000 downloads a week. One of the best things about it – for hockey-mad fans – is Walsh is the ultimate insider, Wylde said.

“Allan brings to light things that people just don’t understand – about the business side of it,” Wylde said. “You’ve gotta understand: A lot of hockey fans are very, very hardcore. They care about the behind the scenes. You are listening to a guy speak who has been involved with the business for 30 years and understands the inner workings of the game that doesn’t make sense to fans. So he’s bringing fans closer to the game. ”

But there is some insider information Walsh tells Wylde he can’t reveal. They have a discussion before the show to outline topics. Wylde said he will ask him some things and Walsh will say, “I can’t go there.”

After discussing the news of the week, the show usually has an interview. Guests have included St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrongformer NHL player and now NHL Network analyst Mike RuppGolden Knights wing Max Pacioretty and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-André Fleury.

When it comes to hockey players, so far, only Walsh’s clients or former clients have appeared on the show. But Walsh has gained clients as a result of hearing him speak on the podcast. “I’ve had players tell me that when they were exposed to my ideas, my outlook on business, my outlook on representing clients… they reached out after that.”

Walsh has had players who are not his clients ask him if they can appear on the show. Asked if the other agents would object to that, he said, “If a client of mine wanted to go on a show, I’d have no problem with it. I’m secure enough in the relationship to know that going on a show doesn’t mean he’s leaving me. ”

For now Walsh has no designs on becoming a professional podcaster.

“This is a hobby. This is something I am doing for fun because I am enjoying it. This is not anything I am doing for money or looking at it as an alternate career. I love my day job. ”

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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