Fri. Mar 22nd, 2019

Tyler’s Take: Off The Bench with Kanell and Bell

Title: Off the Bench with Kanell and Bell episode 38

Date: February 18, 2018

Length: 54 minutes

Cast: Hosts Danny Kanell and Raja Bell

Extra: You can subscribe on iTunes


Versatility in a podcast has seemingly become a rarity. Today, it seems hosts are choosing to angle their podcast to a team-specific or certain sport, to appease a particular listener base. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with that thinking. In fact, several successful podcasts have been reviewed on this website that fit that exact guideline. However, it also doesn’t mean versatility on a podcast has lost its luster. I’d actually argue the opposite. When it comes to Off the Bench with Kanell and Bell, tackling a major number of topics is the name of the game. And they do it well.

When I stumbled on to this podcast, I thought there would a sole focus on the NFL and NBA, seeing as Danny Kanell and Raja Bell have backgrounds that are known most notably in those particular sports. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard just about every major sport being mentioned throughout the entire episode. More importantly, these guys are willing to discuss what most other podcasts try to stay away from – politics.

I’ve never been a #StickToSports kind of guy. In my opinion, if you have a thought, let it fly and be heard. Now more than ever, sports and politics are intertwined and capturing major headlines. If you think about it, the biggest stories in today’s sports world usually stem from a political remark or action. What I admire about these guys talking about these subjects is that they’re not afraid to take different stances. At one point in the podcast, Bell speaks his mind over the Lebron James-Laura Ingraham dilemma. Though Kanell could easily agree and move on, he didn’t and offered a different angle on Lebron’s comments. From there, the podcast could have taken a turn into two hosts rambling and yelling at each other for how wrong they are. Instead, the two respected each other’s opinions and moved on. I admire both for standing firm on their thoughts and presenting them well. It may not be the part of the podcast all listeners enjoy, but it’s certain to garner a few responses.

If you dislike politics in a sports podcast, that’s fine. Though they do dedicate time to it, Off the Bench with Kanell and Bell offered only a few minutes of politics overall. By no means was it the main focus.

There’s one thing which really stuck to me while listening to this podcast. No matter what the subject was, both Kanell and Bell seem like down-to-earth dudes that shoot everything straight. There was no fluff or anything pretend with this show. They were real and offered genuine thoughts and opinions. Both guys enjoyed success at the professional level, but there was nothing about them that came across as entitled or fake.

Though the guys seem to have a good rapport, the versatility is what impressed me the most. The advantage of that is it causes the podcast to not become repetitive or stale. By hitting on a number of different topics, you can keep the listener engaged on numerous discussions and keep them guessing on what’s coming next. If the listener is intrigued, you have a winner.

Final Thoughts:

I can’t speak on all of their podcasts, but I enjoyed the fact that CBS gave this podcast more freedom than most other major outlets. By letting the hosts say what they want and not worry about a random curse word, it allowed the listener to experience their true thoughts, feelings and personalities. That’s invaluable. Sure, the listener comes for the entertainment, but if they become a fan of your personality, you have a listener for life.

I like having two hosts from different sports, because listeners crave insight from former athletes. With backgrounds in college football, college basketball, minor league baseball, NBA and the NFL, Kanell and Bell combine to have experience in almost every single major sport.

Though the two are only at 38 episodes, there’s a ton of potential with this podcast. As their chemistry grows, so too will the downloads and listener base. CBS should be excited for the future with what they have in Off the Bench with Kanell and Bell.

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