Wed. Jul 18th, 2018

5 Podcasts in 5 Days: R2C2 with Sabathia & Ruocco

Day 4 of our 5 Podcasts in 5 Days series has arrived. If you missed the review of Pardon My Take click here. To read the review of The Big Podcast with Shaq click here. To gain insight on The Voice Behind The View click here.

This week’s project is being conducted by sports radio veteran programmer and on-air talent Gregg Henson. I did the exercise last year but BSM business has picked up, thus creating a need to delegate. I’m thrilled to hand off the assignment to Gregg and have him put his ear on five different podcasts and share his assessments on what he learned from each episode. If it helps the hosts involved with each show improve their program and intrigues readers to sample their shows, then it’s a win-win for everyone.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gregg, he’s no stranger to the sports radio business. He’s programmed radio stations 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.

The five podcasts being reviewed this week are 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 critiqued was produced in late July and runs about an hour in length.

Now that we’ve covered all of that, let’s jump into this week’s review of The Players Tribune’s R2C2 featuring Ryan Ruocco and New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia.

  • TITLE: R2C2 with CC Sabathia and Ryan Ruocco
  • DATE: July 26, 2017
  • LENGTH: 39 minutes
  • CAST: Host(s) = Ryan Ruocco and CC Sabathia
  • SPONSORS: Zip Recruiter, Pepsi
  • PRODUCTION: There isn’t much production other than bumper music in and out of the show. The program does use music underneath the commercials to differentiate spots from commercial content. The audio quality is great except for a few occasions where Sabathia moves too far away from the mic. The show did something unique in the beginning, using a clip of the upcoming interview as an open for the show, nice creativity.


In this episode of R2C2, the guys pay a visit to Houston and chat with former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy. Jeff and CC discuss their Bay Area roots, the Oakland Coliseum and the bright future that awaits the Raiders in Las Vegas. They also do a deep dive on Phil Jackson and Paul George, while Jeff dishes on some of Pat Riley’s greatest locker room speeches.


There is good chemistry between Sabathia and Ruocco, however the show meanders without direction for most of the podcast. It doesn’t ruin the show, it simply makes it harder to consume when jumping from topic to topic with no immediate payoff for the audience. It seemed like the guys just sat down and started talking about old times, which can been good with a plan.

Jeff Van Gundy is a dynamic personality; it was fun when he used his skills as a broadcaster to interview Sabathia about his days growing up in the Bay Area. He’s a strong talent, but in this case he was supposed to be the guest. Either way, he helped keep the show flowing and got a couple of laughs out of CC and Ryan.

The show had it moments as Sabathia, Ruocco and Van Gundy were interesting when riffing on Oakland sports and Van Gundy’s NBA stories. A little more structure and direction would help improve this show and make it a great podcast.

The show was good on sports content, great insight and behind the scenes stories that make it worth your time to check out. You’ll notice the chemistry that Ryan and CC have, and as a pair, they seem to be engaged and having fun.

When live reads needed to be executed they handled them really well. One thing that stood out was that they read them together and made them their own. They also telegraphed spots with a “cue” to make sure you understood it was a paid commercial, NOT content.

These are likeable guys and the show is for all audiences, except when Van Gundy cursed while telling a hilarious Phil Jackson story.


This show is a podcast by every definition. It isn’t anything like a typical sports radio show. There isn’t a ton of opinion shared, and the “behind the scenes” stuff comes more from Van Gundy than Sabathia. That should be a bigger strength for the hosts since CC is a current player and likely has plenty of stories to share. One thing that would help these guys is adding a few benchmarks to give CC a chance to offer insight and analysis, especially during baseball season.

In pointing out a few areas which could be stronger, please don’t misunderstand my critique. I think there is a lot of potential waiting to be unlocked on this podcast.  

From a positive perspective, Ryan and CC are eager to engage the audience, they share a few entertaining stories, and they don’t smother the guest. They recognized that Van Gundy was “gold” and let him be himself. That made for a great listen.

The show is conversational and comfortable, and now they need to take the next step. If they’re able to add a few features, and map out the show in order to make it easier for the audience to understand what it’s about and how it is to be executed, they’ll be on their way to delivering a strong show.

If you’re looking for hard hitting sports takes or inside information, this won’t cut it for you, but if you enjoy great stories and a few laughs, put it on your playlist.

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.

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