I’ve teased it for a few months now, Rob Tornoe wrote about it on Philly.com in his story about Leslie Gudel coming aboard as a contributor, and I’ve been conducting early morning – 6 a.m.! – test shows off and on (on and off?) for a few weeks. Now, we’re ready to rock with a morning podcast.
We’re going with a three-man booth consisting of yours truly, Adam Lefkoe, and Russell Joy. The show will start off as Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and record most days at 6 a.m., aiming to be available for download by 7:15 a.m. The plan is to eventually make it a daily show and stream live, but we didn’t want to spread ourselves too thin to start, especially over the summer months. We plan to debut on April 26, the day before the NFL Draft.
Adam currently works for Bleacher Report and co-hosts a podcast for them with Chris Simms, “Simms and Lefkoe.” He’s also a Lead Host and does video work at Bleacher Report. He is a multiple Emmy Award winner (!!!) and former AP Sportscaster of the Year… in Kentucky. He was born and bred here – and by here I mean the mean streets of Bucks County – went to Council Rock and Abington Friends, and used to have an AIM screenname of DAWK4MVP. A quick check of his Instagram (@adamlefkoe) shows an AI jersey, a Snapchat face swap with Verne Lundquist (!!!), and a cameo in the Ben Simmons documentary:
“Ball is life,” is how Adam explained the appearance.
Russ, too, has vast experiencing in sports media, and has worked his way up the ladder from the back room logging game film to calling premier sporting events. Just kidding– he’s a high school teacher. In fact, I’m not sure he’s done anything in the space, but it seems experience isn’t a prerequisite for local morning shows. A Son of Ben, Russ had a deep knowledge of sports and started off his test show – to keep the playing field level, all test shows focused on the Sixers’ front office – by talking about how Joshua Harris-owned Crystal Palace spent little on players in the Premier League’s transfer window as Harris benefitted from a TV rights deal (sound familiar?) while his team plummeted back toward the bottom of the EPL table. That’s the next-level, non-hot-take, reasoned insight I was looking for, and it is missing from sports talk radio.
Russ grew up in Pottsville and went to West Chester University. In his initial email to me, he explained his vision thusly: “If I were listening to a daily morning pod, I would want something vastly different from the Fanatic and WIP morning shows. I’m over the hyperbolic, brochacho, fake Italian nonsense… and an unwillingness to adapt to the audience. I’d be interested in doing a solo show or a duo/trio. It would have to be a fast, hard-hitting show with a recap of the previous day/night’s game, social media roundup and a preview of the day ahead. There’s a market for such a show, from college students walking to class to young professionals on their morning commute to a worker looking for a reprieve on their lunch break.” Yep, nailed it.
So why will this trio work? First off, Adam will run point– he is way more comfortable in front of a microphone and camera than I am. He’s knowledgeable but doesn’t seem to take anything too seriously and displayed an near-instant recall of obscure references. Russ is the opposite, somewhat more serious, analytical, and sounds like he belongs on Serial. I’m somewhere in the middle. We’re all different, and I think that tends to be a good thing.
A three-man booth works for a show that will aim to grab people for their morning commute. There’s more energy. And, quite frankly, I always find that I perform better with two other people, and indeed I will avoid the joke about every man on Earth gauging their wife’s reaction to that line. With the exception of interview shows, the half-assed podcast efforts I did with Dave Grzybowksi (now on TV!) and Kevin Matuszak, and Jim and John Barchard (now on the radio!), always turned out better than when it was just me with one other person and I had to lead.
Where we’re all the same is in our agreement that much of what is happening in mainstream sports media blows, and that you can have a daily (or near-daily) show without sinking to the levels of call-baiting morons with fake draft scenarios. We’re not going to be NPR, but we’re also not going to be WIP. There’s a middle ground there, and we want to find it.
Great, does it have a name? Not quite yet. But we think we got it.
How can I listen? The show will be available through all conventional podcast platforms – iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play – and there are plans to incorporate the full show or portions of it onto social media. We would eventually like to stream it live, and perhaps to do in-person shows (at the right price– Adam is in New York).
Will it really be available by 7:15 a.m.? That’s the goal. We aren’t calling it a morning show, because each episode should remain relevant for at least a few days, but we want it to be part of your daily routine. No local podcast has attempted to become part of that highly coveted morning commute. And I think there’s an opportunity there.