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Behind the Steve Dangle Podcast Network’s microphone

By Adriana Fallico

One November evening in 2023, some Steve Dangle Podcast Network (sdpn) colleagues gathered to socialize in a studio space in Toronto. Having the employees together at once doesn’t happen often as the network incorporates a lot of working from home.

The space was small and the group eventually congregated in a room outside the main studio—the kitchen. As they relocated one by one, their laughter grew louder, echoing in the space.

For Steve “Dangle” Glynn, the moment proved how much like a family the staff was—even if it was one of the few times they were in the same room together.

“I don’t know, there was something about that moment,” Glynn said. “I like our cozy little kitchen.”

Founded in 2020, sdpn is co-owned by Glynn and internet personalities Adam Wylde and Jesse Blake. Glynn graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in the radio and television arts program in 2010, and Blake graduated four years later. 

The trio have worked together for nearly 10 years but Glynn and Wylde—who went to the same high school—have known each other for the majority of their lives. Together, Glynn, Wylde and Blake have produced over 700 episodes of The Steve Dangle Podcast, a podcast that merges conversations of hockey and pop culture. 

Since then, the network has expanded to produce eight shows discussing American football, Formula 1 and women’s hockey. 

Glynn and Wylde went all-in to work full-time at the startup company when they left their respective jobs at Sportsnet and 99.9 Virgin Radio in 2023. Blake had already been working at sdpn full-time since 2021, which he believes is a “much better way to go about your career.”

“It’s freeing to work for yourselves,” Blake said. “It’s us in our little trio and our little group that we have at our company [with] a couple of employees.”

Glynn said handling miscellaneous tasks has been an adjustment, but they have accepted the challenge.

“It’s had some pretty funny moments, something will need to be replaced or fixed and we’re like, ‘Oh man, someone should get on that,’ and it’s us. It’s our responsibility to do that,” he said. 

In 2022, then-fourth-year TMU sport media student Maddie Smith landed an internship with iHeartMedia as a secondary content producer for The Morning Show on 99.9 Virgin Radio. The internship lasted 11 months before one of the show’s then-producers, Wylde, offered her a position at sdpn a month after it ended.

“He just randomly calls me and is like, ‘Here’s the deal: would you want to move into a new studio, be our camera operator and edit our socials clips?’” 

Smith accepted the position and it’s one she said she believes has positively impacted her in many ways.

“Watching it grow and seeing all of the little things and behind-the-scenes stuff is super cool,” she said.

However, the network went through a rough patch at the start of the year, laying off content creators including hosts of Game Over: NHL—a post-game YouTube stream catered to each Canadian NHL team and its fan base.

Esfandiar Baraheni is one of the employees who was laid off. He said he took a risk in October 2022, leaving a “really good job” with theScore to join sdpn as its lead NBA reporter. Baraheni’s role with sdpn was to help expand the network’s basketball coverage, producing YouTube videos and articles for all their platforms regarding the latest NBA news.

Baraheni said he “loved” his time at sdpn, citing the “incredible” experiences he had working with Glynn, Wylde and Blake. 

“They gave me all the creative freedom in the world to do whatever I wanted to from a basketball lens,” Baraheni said. “We did a great job of growing the basketball side. The one thing I always tell people is, it’s hard to convince hockey fans to watch basketball. But I did it.”

Despite the sting of the layoff, Baraheni said he advises aspiring journalists and sports analysts to “not let people put you in a box.”

“If you have that itch, if you have that creative juice and if that’s something you yearn for, don’t let [anyone] break that down,” he said. “Don’t let them take that away from you…There is nothing that can tell you what type of coverage you’re going to be able to give.”

While the trio acknowledges it’s a “challenging time” due to mass layoffs in Canadian media, they have learned to roll with the punches.

“I think what our first year has shown us is that we are not flawless, because we obviously have flaws,” Glynn said. “But we can take a punch, which I think is a really valuable thing for a company to be able to do.” 

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