Greg Cote

Here’s how Miami-based ESPN radio and TV star Dan Le Batard is growing his empire again

Dan Le Batard, ESPN’s Miami-based personality and a former Herald sports columnist, is expanding his brand again beyond the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on radio and TV’s Highly Questionable.

The “major announcement” that has been teased on the radio show and by the @LeBatardShow Twitter account is to be announced by ESPN and revealed at 11 a.m. Thursday. But why wait? We have it first. This is it:

The Le Batard And Friends Podcast Network, starring the flagship “South Beach Sessions,” will include a series of weekly in-depth, one-on-one interviews featuring Le Batard interviewing a guest from sports, music or entertainment.

The full weekly schedule is to launch on Jan. 8, but there will be a preview episode debuting Tuesday, Dec. 18, in which Le Batard interviews former ESPN personality Jemele Hill. Guests on subsequent episodes of South Beach Sessions are expected to include Chappelle Show co-creator Neal Brennan, broadcaster Joe Buck and iconic Miami producer and activist Luther Campbell.

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The Le Batard And Friends Podcast Network, which will be promoted and linked on the show’s social media platforms, also is expected to incorporate other existing podcasts under its umbrella, Though unconfirmed, the network also might eventually include original content featuring Stugotz and the radio show’s popular “Shipping Container.”

Le Batard’s radio show (weekdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), which features Herald columnist Greg Cote as a regular Tuesday co-host, also is available via podcast and is regularly ESPN’s No. 1-rated podcast, averaging more than eight million downloads per month.

The new podcast network is expected to be augmented by a new website to launch soon. The site will include a merchandise component featuring Le Batard Show T-shirts and other stuff.

Le Batard, who turns 50 on Sunday and is engaged to be married for the first time, recently signed a four-year contract extension with ESPN. He will celebrate his birthday Saturday night with the third of his occasional “Mas Miami” events, another recent side project that is a celebration of Miami sports, music and culture. This one is being held at The Wynwood Yard, and is sold out.

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Greg Cote is a Miami Herald sports columnist who in 2018 was named top 10 in column writing by the Associated Press Sports Editors. Greg also appears regularly on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio and ESPNews.