Dallas, TX-based podcast production firm and SZERDS (Szerletich Design
Solutions), the content creation and digital marketing firm based out of San Diego, CA finalized their merger July 1st, putting top executives in a position to move ahead with plans they believe will transform the new company podcast production and content creation brands, including Studio SZ, into a
reinvented digital media powerhouse. The merger creates a robust and comprehensive content and podcast production media company.
Outlining a strategy
The new company CEO — Stephen Colon, who will lead the overall operations under the name Knucklehead Media Group, and Justin Szerletich, formerly founder of “SZERDS”, who will lead content creation and podcast production services as Director of Content Strategy — stated in a joint interview that they have a compelling opportunity to reinvent the business and expand digital revenue. Both said the company will continue to focus on its mission of bringing the brand’s human voice to its consumers.
Our mission is to give your brand a human voice, bring dead leads to life and continue providing content and information that informs and educates the public about the power of podcasting," Colon said. " Great content really is the core of that mission. Social, email, website, you name it, there needs to be a synergy, a purpose and sound strategy to complete the mission. The question really becomes, what’s the sustainable and exciting business model that powers that mission," Szerletich added.
The current COVID-19 pandemic had slowed some plans, but most Knucklehead Media Group’s employees were already virtual/work from home. Extraordinarily, no employees have been laid off or cut due to this merger. “It would have been unconscionable for us to cut jobs or lay people off in the middle of a pandemic.” Colon said.
Going forward the dozens of podcasts and brands that are part of the new Knucklehead Media Group
will now see their content teams headed up by Szerletich and the team that previously comprised
SZERDS, “We are unbelievably fortunate to be able to bring every single employee and contractor from SZERDS with us to the new Knucklehead Media Group,” Szerletich said. “often employees get lost in mergers, but Stephen and I made it a point to ensure that there was a place for everyone before making this move.” Again referencing the pandemic he adds, “A pivot in our digital transformation strategy has been undertaken as we’ve studied our audience insights and watched in real-time as daily routines,
engagement behaviors and listening habits evolved throughout the pandemic.
This pivot has allowed our podcasts and brands to continue to grow throughout the crisis, we’re excited to watch the
continued deployment of these strategies for all of our clients.”
Shedding overlapping costs
In the short term, the success of the merger is allowing the new Knucklehead Media Group to shed overlapping costs as they become a single entity.
Those cost savings will come from a wide variety of areas, including corporate functions, networking, client acquisition, news operations, digital presence, and what Colon called "centralized" services where
there is significant duplication. He said the overall cost savings goal is " very, very reachable," in part, because it only 5.5% of the combined company’s total revenue, compared with 10% to 15% in a typical
Concern about cuts Employee advocate groups fears heavy-handed layoffs in already strapped media groups, newsrooms, and content creation companies that provide the content that drives engagement, viewership, readership fuels digital ads and attracts paid subscriptions online. Colon said he’s confident the company can achieve its cost-savings goals " without deep cuts and without losing a single employee. "
Szerletich said the new Knucklehead Media Group is " committed to delivering great quality content," including new podcasts, additional mediums, industry education, and meaningful reporting. " Those are the things that people subscribe for, and we believe we deliver that," he said.
Company Overview Knucklehead Media Group, founded in 2018, helps companies and organizations tell their story using
podcasts and best practices for content distribution. Home to some of the top podcasts across multiple categories, captivating coursework on gaining traction with you show, and consulting to those
companies BOLD enough to #getsomewins. We believe your mistakes set the foundation for your success, those stories help customers beat a pathway to your doorstep, and the myths from bringing business online should not hold you back from getting yours.
“The easy button for podcasting”, Colon says. Over the years they have helped create and produce some of the top podcasts across multiple industries, helping brands connect with their audience and increasing revenue generation across multiple channels.
Stephen Colon is a United States Marine Corps Veteran, serving as an Operation Supervisor, Logistics Liaison, and Manager from 2006 to 2015. Colon graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s in Business.
Szerletich Design Solutions, founded in 2017, is home to SZERDS, the digital marketing, and content creation arm, as well as Studio SZ, a live and virtual event broadcast production and management
“Elevate your brand, was our go-to catchphrase. SZERDS mission was to keep you ahead of your competition and better convey your brand’s personality to consumers through our amazing content
creation and content strategy.
Justin Szerletich is also the United States Marine Corps Veteran, serving as an Infantry Team Leader from
2006–2010. Szerletich graduated from Champlain College with Bachelors degrees in Business
Management and Supply Chain Management. He is a current student at Harvard University’s Extension
School, completing a Masters in Digital Media Design.
More information about the services offered by Knucklehead Media Group can be found at the company
Knucklehead Media Group