If you’re a Philadelphia sports fan, you’re probably familiar with JAKIB Media. You’ve seen clips from their YouTube videos show up in your social media feed, be it Dan Sileo riffing on the NFL topic of the day or Seth Joyner sharing a postgame Eagles opinion.

The company is run by Joe Krause, a local media and sales veteran with prior stops at the Philadelphia Soul, Greater Media, and other organizations. He launched JAKIB’s digital sports platform in 2020, which currently hosts the following shows:

  • Birds 365: an Eagles program with Jody McDonald and John McMullen
  • Sports Take: a Philly-centric show with Rob Ellis, Tone DeShields, also Derrick Gunn and previously Barrett Brooks
  • A Philadelphia Eagles pregame and postgame show with Mike Missanelli, Marc Farzetta, Seth Joyner, Gunn, McMullen, Kayla Santiago, and previously Devan Kaney
  • The National Football Show: Sileo talks about the NFL and related topics
  • Philly Sports Power Hour: hosted by Bill Colarulo

There are JAKIB shows that no longer exist, like The Middle, which was hosted by Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Brooks. There were football shows with Jeff Kerr and Ric Serritella as well, which stopped at the end of 2022. JAKIB has also partnered with local media outlets, like Philly Voice, 6 ABC.com, and 97.3 ESPN, either to simulcast programming or share in content and advertising.

About halfway through 2023, Crossing Broad was made aware that JAKIB contributors were not being paid on time, or at all. We spoke to more than 10 people with direct knowledge of the situation, who estimated that the outstanding money is in the range of “tens of thousands of dollars.”

Speaking on background, contributors and adjacent figures told us the following:

  • Payments are often months late, and require repeated effort to obtain. Three contributors told us that they’d often try to chase down payment, only to be strung along instead. Excuses like “I’m currently out of town” and “send me an invoice” were regularly used, with the onus placed on the contributors themselves to go out and secure the money they were owed. One person noted that they felt like Krause was hoping that workers “would simply forget” about the outstanding payment.
  • When contributors did receive money, sometimes it came in as incomplete amounts, for example, one person being owed $8,000, but only receiving half of that, and then having to track down the rest. This created a scenario in which people were perpetually behind, and trying to catch up.
  • Some contributors threatened to stop hosting their shows unless they were paid.
  • Others had to get lawyers involved, with varying degrees of success. Some mentioned that they didn’t feel like it was worth the trouble to go to small claims court to get their money.
  • There were instances of checks bouncing.
  • A couple of contributors theorized that certain people were being paid before others, based on the level of push back they would give.
  • One contributor, who no longer is with JAKIB, estimates they’re still owed $7,000 that they will never see.
  • Others said the problem, present from the beginning, has gotten worse instead of better.
  • Several people mentioned that the offered pay was “well above market value,” which, in their mind, served as a means to attract contributors in the first place.
  • It was noted to us that the editorial strategy was essentially to throw a bunch of big media names in the mix and tell them to figure it out. This was described by one contributor as “a shit show.”

Two contributors theorized that Krause simply overextends himself with accounts receivable, resulting in a loop where he’d “have to chase down advertising money” and therefore not have enough funds to meet current payroll. It’s a plausible explanation, and anybody who has worked in advertising can confirm that getting clients to pay is a royal pain in the ass. Regardless, industry standard is to pay workers first, using a business loan or investor money if necessary, and then reimburse yourself when the client fulfills. This was described to us as JAKIB “holding people hostage.”

Going along with that theme, a couple of contributors described unusual pay structures written into their contracts, which had payment periods stretched out in two-month blocks. They were expected, and agreed, to work eight weeks at a time and receive their pay in larger chunks instead, but oftentimes were late and had to push to get what they were owed. In one instance, a payment that was supposed to hit after 12 weeks didn’t come until 18 weeks, a full four and a half months until after the work was first performed.

The contracts were described to us as “unprofessional” and unlike anything people had ever previously signed. For contributors with professional representation, their leverage was stronger, thanks to existence of agency legal departments that were called into play. That wasn’t an available path of recourse for independent contributors without agents.

But not all of the feedback was negative.

Two contributors told us that they were “caught up” with Krause, one noting the nature of a startup business doing its best to meet its obligations in a difficult market. The sports side of the venture is still relatively new, they explained, and there were always going to be hurdles to navigate in the beginning, in terms of bringing on clients and working out operational kinks. In their mind, this was regarded as “par for the course” in sports media. They also pointed out that the YouTube account has grown to more than 45,000 subscribers, with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter now approaching 15k.

Furthermore, they noted that contributors willingly signed their contracts and agreed to the conditions.

Additionally, PhillyVoice CEO Hal Donnelly told us the following:

“We had an advertising partnership for a few years that ran its course mutually. It came to an end in 2021. This was early on, when JAKIB was just starting in YouTube (shows). Together we learned a lot and I wish him (Krause) nothing but success.”

Donnelly told us that PhillyVoice does not give on-record comment when discussing the financial standings of partners or clients, current or former.

Crossing Broad spoke with Krause, who shared this statement:

“At JAKIB Media, we place immense value on both our talent and contributors. It’s a fundamental principle that we’ve always honored: Upon completion of their contract deliverables, every talent is paid what they’re owed, without exception. Our dedicated team continues to actively contribute to JAKIB daily and have been with us two-three years. It’s important to note the context of our business: we’re a self-funded small enterprise, devoid of any venture capital or inheritance. We’re determined to build what we believe will become the largest digital network in the market. While we recognize that experiencing growing pains is inevitable, we approach them with openness and embrace the challenges they bring. We remain steadfast in our transparency with our talent and will continue to uphold this principle moving forward.

This journey underscores our resilience, transparency, and determination to succeed in a competitive landscape.”

In the interest of full disclosure, Crossing Broad contributors have appeared on various JAKIB shows over the years, as guests. These were voluntary, unpaid segments.

(Anthony SanFilippo contributed to this report)