During the five day exercise, I shared my thoughts on what stood out from each broadcast, offering praise when warranted, and objective criticism where opportunities to improve existed. In sports media circles, feedback is given infrequently. Some programmers place a strong value on meeting regularly with their hosts to review the progress of their shows. Others choose to leave their talent alone and focus on their own priorities.
Since launching BSM, I’ve tried to be transparent. Having been in a programmer’s chair numerous times, I know what goes into helping a personality become their best. If my ability to hear certain things and share them with readers helps a few industry people avoid pitfalls and fine tune their presentation, then it’s well worth the time to do it.
However, one of the great problems of growing a business, is that there comes a point where not every project can be pursued. In radio we preach often about the importance of delegating, but many of us have a hard time of letting go and trusting others to execute projects that we believe deserve our attention.
I was guilty of it earlier in my career but learned over time to allow others into my circle, and for this year’s podcast project I’m doing the same. I believe informed analysis from programming people is important for helping industry professionals improve, and rather than putting the 5 podcasts in 5 days exercise out to pasture, I thought I’d give another experienced PD the opportunity to dissect a few programs and share what they learned.
Enter Gregg Henson.
Gregg is no stranger to the sports radio business. He’s held programming jobs in Philadelphia, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne. He’s also spent the better part of the past twenty five years hosting in a number of different cities including Dallas, Austin, Grand Rapids and the others I previously mentioned.
I challenged Gregg to put his programming ear to work and analyze five podcasts in five days. Not only was he up to the task, but I think you’ll find his analysis beneficial if you’re considering listening to one of these shows and are unsure if they’re worthy of your time.
The five episodes selected for reviews this year were Pardon My Take, The Big Podcast with Shaq, The Players Tribune: R2C2 by The Players Tribune, The Voice Behind The Voice, and the MMQB Podcast with Albert Breer. Each episode that was examined was produced in late July and runs about an hour in length.
- TITLE: Pardon My Take (Mike Tyson)
- DATE: July 23, 2017
- LENGTH: 1 Hour 4 Minutes
- CAST: Hosted by Dan Katz, better known as “Big Cat” and the anonymous “PFT commenter” who has a parody account of the same name. Contributors: Hank and Bill.
- SPONSORS: The Challenge 30 on MTV, Upside.com, MeUndies.com
- PRODUCTION: The production wasn’t great, but the audio quality and mic quality are very good. The show doesn’t use a music bed to indicate a commercial break, but each live read is followed by a stinger.
(2:17 – 4:41): Michael Phelps raced a shark and we all got duped.
(4:41 – 11:15): Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland and Jordan Spieth filibustered the British Open.
(11:15 – 16:03): Who’s back of the week.
(16:03 – 23:40) Mt. Rushmore of things to do at a wedding.
(25:03 – 47:37): Former Heavyweight Champion and the baddest man in the world, Mike Tyson joins the podcast to talk about his new podcast, his pet tiger, biting Holyfield’s ear and Mayweather/McGregor.
Other segments include Hurt or Injured, Talking Soccer/Cyclones/Thrones, Trouble in paradise for the Seahawks locker room, Hank hot in the street, the dancing snap chat hot dog, and the debut of a new segment, fun facts with Billy Football.
It’s easy to see why “Pardon My Take” is such a popular podcast. The chemistry among the hosts and contributors is very enjoyable to listen to. This podcast accomplishes many of the goals that we strive to achieve in sports talk radio on a daily basis. PMT sounds like a couple of guys simply talking sports and riffing on the events of the day. That may sound generic, but it’s what audiences relate and connect to.
The focus of this program is remarkable. With everything going on, they are able to stay on point and keep the show moving forward. That’s a challenge for even the most seasoned radio professionals, but Dan and “PFT” do it well.
A better job can be done by the lead hosts to let us know who the contributors are and why they matter, Most of the time the guys just “appear” and I didn’t understand who they were or why they were there. A little bit of character development would help.
Where the show excels is in the form of chemistry. It’s really good. They come across as guys having a lot of fun working together, and it feels informal, which I believe is a positive. That makes the show more welcoming and not pretentious.
You will hear the hosts use profanity, which I think is funny, but some may not appreciate as much. I think their use of colorful language fits the overall attitude of the show and they speak like regular guys which softened things a little. If it bothers you, I suspect this show isn’t for you anyway.
Hank and PFT did a nice job with the Mike Tyson interview and got the former heavyweight champion to give some great opinions. Iron Mike’s candor led to some great moments, and the overall conversation was wide ranging while still hitting on all of the key points. Especially important was getting his feedback on the Mayweather-McGregor fight which is a popular topic among sports fans.
The live reads on the show are also well done. They were focused, and everybody got involved. The meundies.com spot was hilarious as the guys discussed their “d&^k game” in their new skivvies. Sponsors will be thrilled with that kind of content connection to their product. When a great personal touch is added by hosts for the clients who associate with their programs, it goes a long way. The only change I would make is to use the “stinger” at the beginning and end of the live commercial read. Another small point, I wouldn’t start the show with a sponsorship read.
“Pardon My Take” is rich in content, covers every relevant topic, and offers great opinions/takes on each discussion. I love the show’s “matter of fact” delivery, which is so much easier to listen to when guys aren’t in your face and fighting for the microphone.
The show also provides a great pace, and avoids getting bogged down, even with a huge guest like Mike Tyson. Pacing and momentum were well executed and key to the show.
“Pardon My Take” is a really good show. The only thing missing is better production value. If they’re able to make that small adjustment, it’ll make the show very slick.
Keep in mind, this is more of a barstool show. It’s a few guys hanging out discussing the sports issues of the day in a conversational way, rather than grabbing you by the collar, screaming, and insisting you take note of where they stand on a particular issue. It avoids the typical radio dreck, and just gives you an entertaining hour of chatting about sports among friends.
Overall, if this show enhanced the production and did a better job of presenting individual segments and topics it could be a really good radio show that would find an audience. Granted, you can’t use profanity on the air, but I get the feeling that these guys could find funny ways to be “naughty” on terrestrial radio and still get the desired result.
Great podcast, entertaining, funny, focused and interesting. ”Pardon My Take” has found an audience for a reason…it’s great!
Gregg Henson has spent over twenty five years working in sports radio as a host and programmer. He’s enjoyed stints in Austin, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, and recently joined Alpha Media in Lincoln, Nebraska as a program director and morning drive host. He can be reached on Twitter @GreggHenson or if you prefer to send him an email click here.