Nelson, who was senior director of programming at National Public Radio, joins in September as head of talk.
He will lead the development and growth of Religion of Sport’s audio and podcast business including launching new series, identifying talent and working with video, scripted and branded content teams and developing multi-platform partnerships.
He has been at NPR since 2016 and has developed, launched and acquired more than 20 podcasts including working on the team that launched It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders.
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Prior to his time at NPR, Nelson was the Director of On-Demand Programming at American Public Media, where he helped launch the organization’s first podcast network.
It comes as Religion of Sports has launched a number of podcasts over the last few months including Crushed, which recounted the 1998 MLB Home Run chase and delved deep into the league’s steroid era, and Lost In Sports, a show on a quest to solve sports’ biggest untold mysteries as part of a partnership with public media organization PRX.
Last year, Religion of Sports raised $10M in funding led by Elysian Park, Advancit Capital, co-founded by Shari Redstone, and Courtside Ventures.
“Sports have the unique ability to transcend beyond on-field competition. They’re part of the fabric of our life,” said Nelson. “Religion of Sports tells stories that everyone can relate to, with podcasts that are well crafted and thought-provoking. I’m delighted to join this exceptionally talented team of creators, thinkers, and storytellers as we look to continue creating engaging narratives and push the boundaries of what we can do in the audio space.”
“One of our core philosophies is that sports test the limits of human potential, which might include greatness, failure, mindfulness, performance, or mental health,” added Adam Schlossman, co-executive producer of audio at Religion of Sports. “We’re thrilled for Steve to join us to help create new content tying together these threads while connecting the stories and wisdom found in sports in order to build community, connection, and personal growth among our audience. Steve is a thoughtful leader who excels at bringing teams together – he’ll take ours to the next level.”
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