Hack 28. Build a Great Sports Podcast
Create a show that brings a unique view on the passion of the sports world to your podcast listeners.
The NBA Finals, the World Series, and the Super Bowl are the three most widely covered sports events on American mass media. But what about the Snocross Worldwide Championship? For that you'll need Sledhead Radio, the podcast dedicated to snowmobiling.
When I launched the first sports podcast in October 2004, there were less than 50 podcasts to speak of worldwide. Now, in addition to The Sports Pod (http://thesportspod.com/), sports junkies worldwide have access to hundreds of sports podcasts on just about every sport known to man. When you consider that only a few years ago, listeners had access to only one or two local sports radio programs, it's no wonder why listeners describe podcasting with a sense of liberation. The geographical nature of sports provides the prime example for how podcasting thumps traditional radio. Great sports podcasts require consistence, quality, content, and distribution, and with the ammo that follows, you will be on your way to All-Star status.
4.10.1. Podcast Your Passion
Sports stirs up the emotions like nothing else, to the point that blatantly biased arguments are celebrated under the guise of "talking smack." Loyalty and passion are of the highest priority, and the experiences of our youth programmatically bind us to our favorite sporting events. Your job is to exploit that passion within yourself. Capture it, organize it, and publish it, for the world to experience along with you.
Gill Alexander is a Washington, D.C. native and radio veteran now living in San Francisco. As a kid, he dreamed of the day when Washington would have a hometown baseball team. When the Washington Nationals were born, Gill's excitement led him to launch The Nationals Play-By-Play podcast, where he podcasts the team's games, play by play, from his living room. "My friends and I always wished we could broadcast the games and tell it like it really is," he says. Podcast your passion, and you'll enjoy the process and increase your chances for success.
4.10.2. Segment Ideas
Here are some ideas for segments that you can use in your show:
4.10.3. Sports News Resources
Here is a list of key resources for integrating relevant content into your podcasts:
You should register your sports podcasts with these directories:
4.10.5. Great Sports Podcasts
I had the opportunity to talk with a few sports podcasters about what makes their podcasts great.
220.127.116.11 Triathlete's Garage.
Brett Blankner uses his Triathlete's Garage podcast (http://triathlon.blankner.com/) to bring a personal perspective on training for and competing in triathlons. And that view starts literally in his own garage, where he uses Audacity, a Lansing boom microphone, and his HP computer to bring you into his world.
Triathlons are grueling events. They comprise three stages: biking, swimming, and running, any of which is enough sport for the average person. But triathlons blend all three into a single event. The training for this sport is equally intense. To keep his triathlete listeners going, Brett creates shows that contain upbeat music, interviews, and segments of his perspectives, based on his experiences. He even blends in soundseeing tours [Hack #72] from the races he competes in using a MuVo MP3 player [Hack #69] with a voice recorder.
He records the podcast on the one day a week he takes off from his intense training. He uses his garage/studio to do the recording. Starting with some experiences from the week, he adds any interesting sounds he has recorded as well as any news or tips the audience would appreciate. When he's done, he uses Audacity [Hack #50] for the final mix to MP3 before uploading to the site, and then modifies his hand-written RSS 2.0 feed [Hack #37] to point to the latest show.
His audience is a blend of athletes, people interested in the sport, and his own family. The feedback he gets from the show is mostly positive. Sometimes he even gets some technical advice from his listeners that he uses to improve the show's sound quality.
But it's not all about sound quality, he warns. He thinks the show works because of his enthusiasm for the sport and the fun that he has creating the show. The show completes an emotional circle with the audience: he trains, competes, and then shares his personal victory with the podcast world.
18.104.22.168 Southern Sports Week.
If you are more of a fan than a participant, you should check out Kit Baty's Southern Sports Week (http://kitbaty.com/ssw). Kit's 20 to 30-minute podcast covers the sports news from the Southern states as well as items he considers "off the radar" of the mainstream sports press.
Show notes are Kit's first step when building a show episode. These include the headlines he wants to talk about, stories he has researched, and any emails he wants to talk about. Then he uses Audacity [Hack #50] and his Plantronics headset [Hack #12] to record the show. It takes about 45 minutes to put together a show. It can take around an hour if it's an interview show.
He's pretty harsh on his voice, saying that he sounds like "an NPR host who hasn't yet hit puberty." But his production value and confidence increase with every podcast, as does his listener base. In the long run, he wants to have a listener base large enough to get him into coaches' press conferences and Southern sports events, with full press credentials. For now, he is satisfied with providing an alternative to what he sees as fresher and more free-form than what is on commercial sports radio today.
22.214.171.124 Fantasy Focus.
In case you missed it, Fantasy Baseball has become a multi-million-dollar industry over the last decade. Bill Powers' Fantasy Focus (http://podsumer.com/fantasyfocus/) is the first podcast to cover Fantasy Baseball. Bill and his co-host, Chris, create one podcast a week. The show's format evolves as the season progresses. Before the season starts, they cover the fantasy drafts. And once the season starts, they cover the hot fantasy players and the match-ups that are coming up.
To produce the show, they use Cool Edit [Hack #50], which is now called Audition and is sold by Adobe. It takes between five and seven hours to produce a single show, from drawing up the show notes to recording and through to editing and uploading. They get highlights of recent games by purchasing them from the Major League Baseball site (http://mlb.com/).
Most of the feedback so far has been from men who share their passion for fantasy sports. Once the season gets started, they use the email they get to suggest team strategies and trade proposals with their audience.
4.10.6. See Also