Discover more from The Read Optional
An update on the future of The Read Optional
It's good news!
Forgive me if you’ve heard this story before.
Back when I was a 17-year-old living in the middle of bum-bleep nowhere in the north-west of England, I worked at this crappy two-for-one restaurant. It paid minimum wage. I brought home $120 a week.
I’d wander back from a shift, open up the Miami Herald, and set to work gobbling up the stylings of Dan Le Batard.
Now, this was back in the before times; when you couldn’t just click on a writer’s name and pull up their past archive, a never-ending Rolodex of takes and posts. No. You had to *shock, horror* pay for each and every piece. You had to request each specific column, it often arriving as a PDF snapshot from the newspaper itself — the kind you would pull up alongside an archivist in a local library. It was not cheap.
I devoured it. All of it. I’d get home, make a giant pot of coffee, and load up my reading list. My bills went something like this:
The essentials: Le Batard columns.
The maybe-possibly stuff: food, clothing, shelter.
I can still, some eleven years later, recite ledes like some kind of Patrick Bateman of the sporting press. “laughing and smiling and kissing and hugging”
Le Batard’s writing — his voice, his perspective, his ambition, his ideals — has informed my writing, career, everything from those days to this day.
As I noted in a note to subscribers post-Super Bowl, this has been the most professionally gratifying year of my career. The ability to write about the most granular things (Odd Mirror, Baby!), without having to default to WHY QUARTERBACK X IS BAD in the classic two-for-you-one-for-me, back-and-forth with an editor is one thing (and typically a bad thing). To have that embraced is something else entirely.
The success of this little-newsletter-that-could has led to all sorts of offers over the past six months. Companies that I would have slept on a bed of nails to secure a byline with early in my career have come knocking on the proverbial door to gauge my interest.
But any of those deals would have meant giving up The Read Optional — taking my style over there with the typical (and fair) concessions that go with working for the biggest and best in the industry.
None of those fits felt right at the time. As ever I returned to Le Batard.
Le Batard’s work was and is littered with talk about freedom and free-DOM and freedumb. He cared about serving the audience, nothing else. Not always what they wanted, necessarily. But what they needed. Anyone who has enjoyed his Radio Show/Podcast since his fingers stopped working will know what I’m on about.
Just over a year ago, he and his staff ditched the worldwide leader in sports to set up Meadowlark Media. The reasoning: Rather than chase happiness and freedom within one of the bigger media entities, why not build one himself?
I’m going to follow the same path. So I’m delighted to announce today that I’ve joined Platform Media to create all kinds of *Buzzword Klaxon* content. I’ll be editing Gridiron Magazine, creating podcasts, documentaries, audio docs, live shows, and a whole bunch more. All with a similar voice to what you’ve read and listened to here over the past season-plus.
As for The Read Optional, there’s only one change: More. I’ll have more time, resources, support, and staff to build this thing out and produce more. Subscribers will get more.
I’m excited. It’s a deal that gives me the most creative freedom possible — in every medium possible. That’s pretty cool.
For now, thanks for everything, everyone.