This is day two of our special five part series titled 5 Podcasts in 5 Days. If you missed the review of Pardon My Take from day 1, click here.
For this exercise, I’ve tasked sports radio veteran programmer and on-air talent Gregg Henson to put his ear on five different podcasts and share his assessments of what he learned from each episode. If it helps the hosts involved with each show improve their product and intrigues readers enough to sample the content, then it benefits everyone.
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. Having been in a programmer’s chair numerous times, I know what goes into helping a personality become their best. Last year I tackled this challenge myself, but as business has picked up for BSM, I’ve learned the importance of delegating so I’m thrilled to put it on Gregg’s plate and see what he’s able to come up with.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gregg, he’s 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.
The five podcasts being reviewed this year 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 got that out of the way, let’s get to Gregg’s in-depth review of The Big Podcast with Shaq!
- TITLE: The Big Podcast With Shaq
- DATE: July 25, 2017
- LENGTH: 54 Minutes
- CAST: Shaquille O’Neal, John Kincade, Rob Jenners
- SPONSORS: Podcast One, True Car, Paintcare.org
- PRODUCTION: Fantastic production. Great use of audio, drops and music beds.
There was no rundown for this episode. It was simply a “Shaqtacular.” The hosts made it clear that this show was going to be about having fun and it was wildly entertaining, but all over the place. A great example was the “Chuck a Chicken Wing” game where John and Shaq take turns trying to toss chicken wings into Charles Barkley’s mouth.
I was impressed by how strong the chemistry was between all three hosts. Shaq in particular is funny and relatable and his ability to engage the audience demonstrates why he’s a major star. Kincade, a familiar name and voice to many in sports radio circles, is a talented guy and very funny. The bits were well done and enabled John and Shaq to have a chance to be entertaining. Collectively, the three members sound like they get along, understand one another, and enjoy being part of this production.
There wasn’t much offered in terms of sports content, but it was clearly planned that way. This episode was meant to be off the rails, wild, crazy and fun, and it accomplished those goals.
The sky is the limit for “The Big Podcast With Shaq!” What you have on this show are three talented guys with a great understanding of what it takes to execute. It’s an easy listen, but be prepared for the wheels to fly off at a moment’s notice. I view that as a positive.
What I appreciate is that this show creates a sense of urgency, making you feel like you could miss something good if you turn away. As a personality, I love Shaq, but Kincade and Jenners were a revelation. They are talented, understand the medium, and their use of sound adds to the presentation.
It is obvious that a lot of time is invested in preparing this show because you simply cannot have such great production and content if you don’t dedicate serious prep time. The Shaqtacular’s only downside is that it can leave you with whiplash when jumping from bit to bit in the wink of an eye. Every once in a while that’s a good thing, but it can become exhausting if hearing it repeated on a weekly basis. In sampling a few of their other episodes, it’s clear the other shows aren’t as nutty as this one.
You’ll find that this program uses mild profanity. Words like “hell” and “dammit” may appear from Kincade and Jenners, but Shaq refrains from speaking the same way. I assume he keeps it clean because he understands his brand and how he appeals to people from all age groups. Shaq’s riff on Mickey Mouse in particular stood out because it was extremely funny and well done.
A little bit of confusion appears on the program when commercials are introduced. The cluster ran much like a radio stop set, without production or imaging. The first spot in fact was a Spanish language commercial which I honestly didn’t know was a spot since I don’t speak Spanish. It was followed by a promo mention for Podcast One and concluded with a Shaq endorsement for True Car. There was no bump back into content from the commercials, which is something I think they could clean up so the audience is aware of the separation between programming and paid for advertisements.
Immediately this show goes into my podcast rotation. It checks all the boxes for what I look for in a program. That includes being fun, entertaining and fast paced. The production is stellar, especially for a podcast, and the drops, bits, intro’s and music add a lot of depth and help it move along.
If you are downloading this program and expecting heavy sports takes, this particular episode isn’t for you. It was a “Shaqtacular” which allowed for more variety conversation than the standard talk show approach.
Overall, these guys are doing a great job of creating compelling content and not simply reacting to the daily sports headlines. It’s delightfully off the rails, out of control, nuts, funny, engaging and real. The best compliment I can give it is that there aren’t many podcasts like this, most are very traditional and sound like a typical sports radio talk show. My advice, try listening to this episode, and fall in love with it, but fasten your seat belt, because it’s quite possible you could get a sore neck.