Listen: Ain't That Swell // Rainbow Republic Special

Rick Snowden
Swellnet Dispatch

It appears it’s been a while since the Swellians have been up here on the Swellnet wall.

For the unacquainted, Ain’t That Swell is the most adored, unapologetically vulgar, Aussie-lingo-coloured surf podcast on the planet. It’s a free-flowing talk show with minimal script and maximum honesty.

You all know Jed Smith. He’s a top bloke, opinionated, and somewhat enlightened, who found he had a real knack for the podcast world. Seated next to him is Vaughan Blakey, another core surf icon, and kinda like Jed’s big bro. I admire the warmth of his character, along with his wisdom and adoration for all things Aussie surf culture.

For this ep Jed leads the show. He’s got multi-creative, shaper, filmmaker, musician, publisher, Andrew Kidman on the mic, along with his wife, Mish, who upholds quality control on the sometimes questionable ATS dialogue.

Ellis Ericson, co-collaborator with Andrew for their Greenough-inspired masterpiece On the Edge of a Dream, is in the house, as is mysto core-lord identity @surfcore2001 (give his posts a read if you’re on Instagram – trust me).

Topics covered? Gut health, phase bottom craft, artificial wave laybacks, Derek Hynd’s house fire, the level of Wollongong glamour, Tracks mag heritage and much, much more (of varying importance).

Recently the lads have moved into the live talk-show scene. You may have seen and heard moments from their viral gig starring Kelly Slater and Mark Occhilupo. The gents just listed a bunch of fresh dates, and if the level of debauchery lands anywhere near the previous, they’ll be a hoot. 

Check the dates and locales

This brings me to a final thought. Personally I’m a big fan of the podcast medium. I like the way you can hit play and digest anything from succinct news headlines, to ultra engaging non-fiction, freeform talk shows, to audio books and the like, all while you go about your daily business hands-free. Video’s great, but for me, being informed and entertained while walking my dog, or plodding through Sydney traffic, is a major win. 

Stu tells me Swellnet have considered producing a show themselves. There’re plenty of angles to run if they so choose, whether they be timeless or topical pieces of journalism, or maybe news and weekly swell forecasting. It sure got me excited.

So let me put it to you guys, what would you like to hear should Swellnet take a wander down the audio pathway?

Comments

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 3:05pm

On one hand surfing is already swamped with podcasts, and on the other hand few of them are any good, so my answer is maybe, but it'd have to be good.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 3:16pm

Appreciate the constructive comment, Derra.

derra83's picture
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derra83 commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 3:29pm

I may not know art etc . What I know is that everyone has listened to radio stations, FM, AM, so they know what a podcast SHOULD sound like. But most poddies fall well short of that because of simple things like um, ahh, *....dead air....*, or conversations that circle around the station without ever arriving at it. Avoid that stuff and you're 50% ahead.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 3:46pm

Ditto my earlier comment, without the sarcasm this time.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 4:19pm

I'm loving podcasts these days.
If you guys were to do one I guess I'd be interested in hearing about things that people have done. For example maybe Camels stories about his Indo days or other people's travels and explorations and what they encountered and had to overcome. Doris would be a good one. Laurie Towner talking about some of the waves he's caught, and the preparation and thinking and training that led up to those moments.
Hearing from shapers about their craft.
Freeride about some of his fishing trips and mishaps and whatnot. He can tell a decent story.
Even other commenters talking about some of their travels and the waves they've scored and poundings they've got along the way.
That kind of thing.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 4:27pm

Some very good suggestions there, GF!

Rick Snowden's picture
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Rick Snowden commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 4:50pm

Very constructive, thanks Goofy. What about the forecast angle? I'd be into the report thing if it was short and sharp. Perhaps mid week for clarity on what we could expect for the weekend? Or when a major swell event is picked up? I think Jed and Vaughan have the loose talk show thing nailed, no use doubling up there. My 2c.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 4:56pm

Nah i think the forecast is better when you can read it and take a bit of time to digest it.

Fazesurf's picture
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Fazesurf commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 9:59am

Or potentially a swellnet poddy on forecasting, groundswells, charts etc... that's why we are all here, isn't it?

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 4:36pm

I've had a couple of cracks at getting into podcasts......where the fuck do you find the time though?

most of these things seem to drag on for hours. I get 15 minutes here, then 30 there, then a week later try and get the rest and forgot what they said in the first bit I listened to.

I listened to one about Dave Parmenter driving back and forth to Kirra during TC Oma swell, I think that is the only surfing one I have got through end to end.

I listened to that Snowtown one and almost got to the end.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 4:47pm

Have a go at Waterpeople Podcast (Dave Rastovich and Lauren Hill) with Mark Healey.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 4:54pm

ha ha you beat me to it!

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 6:10pm

Good aye. I had this idea that he'd be a bit of a blowhard, but he's super interesting and well spoken.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 6:13pm

He is epic to listen to. He has also been on Surf Splendour and the Occ-cast.
One fucking tapped unit, really makes you realise how much of a pussy you really are

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 6:17pm

I was well aware of that already :-/

surfstarved's picture
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surfstarved commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 6:22pm

It helps having to drive over an hour to the coast to get your surfing fix Steve. I get through so many podcasts travelling to and from the bottom of the Fleurieu Peninsula, and even more if I'm heading over to the Yorke.

Stu, my two bobs' worth - a focus on the grassroots, lesser-known personalities, design theory, and the (sub)cultural history, blended with a heavy dose of irreverence and the hosts not taking themselves too seriously would make a podcast I'd want to listen to. Maybe the occasional reference to competitive surfing, but only in passing.

Don't let the bastards grind you down

saltyheaven's picture
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saltyheaven commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 5:15pm

I was thinking of a few ideas for things that I'd like to hear, and there are plenty for sure...
However the podcasts I enjoy the most, especially in the surf realm, are the ones where the person(s) running the show are hugely engaged and enthusiastic about whatever the topic is.
Sounds obvious really. I guess that means my answer is to follow your heart, whether that's in depth 'geeky' deconstructions of forecast data and techniques, board design, surf history, underground heroes... yada yada. I'd listen to them all if they're done with heart.

saltyheaven's picture
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saltyheaven commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 5:19pm

....Except WSL or WCT focused podcasts. I've got zero interest.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 6:13pm

Not a huge fan of podcasts.

I'd rather read.

Not to say i've never listened to one, i just prefer reading.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

braudulio's picture
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braudulio commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 6:20pm

Podcast featuring Gary G could be ... umm ... enlightening

‘IF YOU UNDERSTAND, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, THINGS ARE JUST AS THEY ARE.’

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 6:39pm

That i'd listen to but probs NSFW.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Bnkref's picture
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Bnkref commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 10:06pm

69 minutes of Gary G whispering sweet nothings wouldn’t be his thing I don’t think.

He’s more of an interactive webcam kind of guy.

Clivus Multrum's picture
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Clivus Multrum commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 5:23pm

I can definitely see a Dr Gary cameo role. A few minutes of innuendo laden life advice each week from Australia's favourite surf creep

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 9:49pm

Absolutely. Get into it Swellnet. I have no doubt you mob could keep me informed on all things ocean and swell on those long drives across various parts of this wide brown land. Would be epic!

chrisss_91's picture
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chrisss_91 commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 9:57pm

Would love to see a swellnet podcast

Something I haven’t seen in the surfing world but have in the car world (checkout vinwiki on YouTube for what I’m talking about)

Is just everyday people telling stories about surfing eg the day of days at the local, encounters with toothy creatures, road trips and all the stories that go with them, being skunked after planning a full trip...

I’m sure there are so many people out there with some epic stories

Just my 2 cents

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Thursday, 31 Oct 2019 at 11:02pm
etarip's picture
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etarip commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 7:21am

I’d listen to a Swellnet poddie.
Purpose: 1. get into some topical issues with an informed series of presenters. 2. Opportunity to get some first hand accounts of classic surf stories from the wealth of history and talent on the website and forums.
Style: For mine, a middle ground between the potty mouthed irreverence of ATS (which I love, just can’t put it on in the car with the kids listening) and the overly self-conscious seriousness of Surf Simply (which has som great eps but too vanilla). Occasional profanity, in context, ain’t a problem.
Frequency: I reckon every 2-3 months would fit into my listening schedule with the other stuff I listen to.

Food for thought. Good luck if you do it. I’d be keen.

geek's picture
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geek commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 8:34am

Sounds like Lipped podcast is exactly what you are after

NDC's picture
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NDC commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 8:22am

There’s a lot out there so perhaps infrequent and high quality is the go - monthly or quarterly

I like surf splendour by David (?) slade - it’s very US but thoughtfully so - often too long 2 hours - 1 hour is ample. Basically I like this cause I learn stuff ... about board manufacture, materials, some design (not too much as so much of surfboard design speak is meaningless waffle to many I believe) about the history of our sport, new surf training ideas, ideas on how to surf better...

If you can bring the quality of the editorial of your current offer to the podcast realm I would tune in and try it

Also - I’m an older bloke (50 yoa) .... I don’t know your general demographic but I find usually interviews with older guys Or girls who’ve seen a bit more of the world, have a few more stories and some small doses of wisdom are good... make it surf centric but it needs to have freedom to go off on non-surf specific tangents to remain interesting

... the exception to older interview subjects being better are the ego-centric ones ... it’s kind of shocked me how quite a few of the old pros or some high profile shapers etc are so ‘the older I get the better i was/an’... not always but generally the underground guys with lower profiles seem a lot less likely to be like this

There’s some pretty interesting guys in these threads who seem to be able to tell a story in print.. I like blowin’s posts, there’s one of the coaches from the surf high performance centre at casuarina who posts In here, other everyday people who I expect have made surfing a big part of their lives without becoming one dimensional

Hope it helps

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 11:48am

Few worthwhile nuggets of advice in here - thanks all.

I'm a bit like Steve in that I've got no idea how people find the time to plough through two and three hour podcasts, and to do it on a regular basis. 'Spose commuting on public transport or sitting in traffic would help.

Ben and I have been turning over ideas in our heads for a while, watching the space fairly closely. As readers of our editorial would know, we rarely do topical stuff, hence there's a mountain of more timeless pieces in the back catalogue, many of them with additional info to what appeared in the online version (notes, scrapped story lines, etc etc).

Rescripting some of those is a possibility. But then so is speaking to shapers, guys whose ideas form part of design history and who've seen the industry ebb and flow. We've other ideas too, prolly best not to air them on here.

Theme and form are important, so we want to jump in but are hesitating cos we're not sure how to deliver those two things. And that's kinda where things are at now, and have been for a while.

However, with Rick coming on board - an unabashed knob twiddler - he's blown a bit of air on the coals.

Stay tuned...

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 12:14pm

Something else to consider - the biz aspect (sorry to put a downer on the discussion). 

As the Swellnet business aligns more and more towards a subscription based offering, how would podcasts fit in? 

The production costs associated with good podcasts are not insignificant. I've got no interest in churning out fast, cheap content - I've got a broad music/audio background and would like to harness some of that knowledge to produce something more memorable.

However, I don't really want to try and recover costs through ads (because they're potentially more disruptive on audio than screen). In any case, potential ad revenue is very small and is likely to only get smaller in time, much in the way general display/pre-roll video ads have been over the last ten years.

The podcast market is still in a growth phase which means there's a lot of free content out there - so charging a flat download fee per-podcast wouldn't work.

On the other hand, whilst offering them as part of Swellnet Pro makes the most sense, I am not confident that the number of new subscribers (just because we started doing podcasts) would cover the expense of putting 'em together.

Sam2609's picture
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Sam2609 commented Saturday, 2 Nov 2019 at 9:02pm

ahhhh the fiscal fury...
your probably not gonna get many new subscribers for a podcast, not when theres already a glut of free content out there, but as an advertisement of your business its gotta have some worth.
I dont think there's much choice when it comes to monetisation, adverts are a fact of life in this day and age, but it doesnt have to be a harmful thing, you gotta remember youve got the creative control. and if theyre shit. it can be a chunk at the start or the end that the savy consumer can skip, 30 seconds at a time, the whole promo code thing seems like a winner as your client will see exact how much business your bringing them, I'm already hearing surf ears, surely balter's got a few spare bucks, all the good eggs love a drop. I see magazines as potential but theyve kinda already got their foot in that door already... what kinda money do you think jetstar or virgin would be willing to throw at in international forecast segment..."the purple blob last seen lighting up cow bombie will breach the bukit on this day, ______ can drop you off the redeye before for $X."

at the end of the day, podcasts are either sell ads or they're passion projects. its accepted.. at the end of the day, joe rogans adds are about 5% of his program...
as long as your not coastalwatching us with 30 seconds ads before a 120 second clip its acceptable. especially if its relevant to us. if your selling a surfari on a surf channel. I'm actually interest in a potential deal.

Sam2609's picture
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Sam2609 commented Saturday, 2 Nov 2019 at 9:04pm

if your giving a tease of a forecast.... you might actually drag some people in.... tell them theres swell coming but dont say when, just say where they can find out.

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truebluebasher commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 12:31pm

Swellnet Ratings for 1st Nov /19

Nike sell Hurley ratings # 44
Shivering in Sumatra # 32
Swellnet Podcast Couch # 27

[news] Dutto redacts Top Secret swellnet report in the interest of national security.

Internal audit reveals shocking revelations by trusted Surf Media Moguls...
*Product placement & Weather Reports the secret formula for surf podcast success.

"swellnetonians we spoke to swear they were never really on board in the first place!"

Shock News! Webmaster pulled Surf Media live Podcasts after infamous xxx scene.
https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2019/08/20/watch-occ-cas...

No offence to all parties but as ugly as it sounds, swellnet pulled it's own plug.
Nevertheless tbb & crew salute #1swellnet webcasts & new podcast casting couch.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 2:32pm

Just tried listening to waterPeople podcast.

I really like Rasta but holy shit, the ramble is a gruel to listen to.

13mins opening ramble before his guest even gets to open their mouth.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 5:07pm

I personally thought it was a brilliant and respectful introduction of someone who he obviously looks up to and painted a pretty cool picture. Far better than alot of the so called 'surf journalism' nowadays on the trashy womens weekly surf websites. Story telling should be encouraged, especially by those who have actually lived it and inspired others.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 5:59pm

I'm glad I persevered because the rest of it was really good.

I still think Rasta rambled way, way too long in the intro before he got to the meat in the sandwich.
3 or 4 times there I had to fight the urge to quit it and I'm interested in the subject matter.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 6:24pm

Fast Forward is your friend :-)

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 6:27pm

haven't figured that out yet IB.

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Lanky Dean commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 2:51pm

In primary school, I joined the book club. Fridays were always such a treat. I still get giddy walking into a library.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 6:29pm

Still wondering about this comment, LD

Care to expand?

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 2 Nov 2019 at 3:42pm

When a new swellnet "tm" article appears here Its like the book club all over again.
On another note, I'm over most to all podcasts because unlike most written articles. They bare almost zero creativity after the first few episodes.
Usually the host is someone in the twilight years of there career.
So it is a heavy exercise in personal branding, for the host and for the guest.
Most hosts have minimal media training/ limited journalist skills.

Some are great, most are just a repetition of the same questions and format repeated over and over......
So is radio though......
If you guys went the pod cast route you would have to make it very different and honestly, if it's not making swellnet money then ?

AndyM's picture
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AndyM commented Friday, 1 Nov 2019 at 9:43pm

I don't know where people get the time either, whether it's an hour plus with Rasta, an hour and a half with Joe Rogan or or two hours with the fellas above.

But for me, when I do listen to an audio-only, obviously there's no background to look at, none of Occy's weird mannerisms to gawp at, so it has to be total engagement - there's only the voices so it has to be good.

For those reasons, I think audio is actually the most intimate of mediums.

Having said that, I can get through a Rasta surf clip but I couldn't get though a podcast, his voice just doesn't grab me, too drawling and not to the point.

And the talent and/or the topic has to have some meat on it - on this site, Stu's found some fascinating topics over the years and has written intelligently about them, with quality research and questions.

If you're going to keep me listening to a podcast, the presenter really needs to have done their homework and be sharp with applying it.

Also, the editing needs to be brutal - cut out all the shit including the umms and ahhs and massive pauses.

Sam2609's picture
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Sam2609 commented Saturday, 2 Nov 2019 at 8:37pm

YES PLEASE..
why limit yourselves with one format, if the title of the episode is succinct, people can choose what they want to listen to... keep the forecast brief, if we wanna know the details we've already got AMAZING detail forecasts to pour over(thankyouthankyouthankyou).
but like, i quick summary, for example... WA you can put your guns down after that blast but keep the wax handy its gonna be cleanish this time and that Vicco, swells up but the winds rotten these days. Tassie its cold and wet again. NSW its flattish and windy guys get your work done and save that time in lieu. Queensland still flat but we have an interesting outlook in the coral sea.
then you could hype up the kids with upcoming holidays with a look around the usual haunts, indo hasnt turned off yet, hawaii is coming to life, theres a blip missing fiji but brushing close enough for samoa and tahiti to see some fun.

the real zinger will be the underground content. the gary g rambles and and gooftyfoot opinions. local environmental calls to arms, weather anomalies that'll effect a seasons surf prospects, story time from the boardriders battles and interclub challenges, summaries of bombing swells, explanations of how the liberals are gonna make your next surfboard unaffordable, wozzle recounts/opinions, freesurfer talk stories, compsurfer talk stories, old waxheads reminising talk stories. shameless self promotion/reflection

if the sound is quality and your presenters... that might be the hardest part. finding the right person to present confidently and with enough personality/creativity/wit. it takes a special type of person to waffle convincingly... we will love you for it and we will lap it up. as you said, the beauty of the podcast is that it can make a tedious drive a pleasure, a mundane job a joy... do it right and it'll improve the lives of Australian surfers. fuck it up and no one will really care that much other than to tell you how to improve. theres nothing to loose from trying.
i've been binging the kyle thiermann show this past week and a major takeaway for me has been a new mantra of "you will not regret the things you do, but the things you do not"

goodluck and UP THE FUCKING SWELLIANS!

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Monday, 4 Nov 2019 at 1:29pm

First, you've got to nail your demographic...

https://www.2gb.com/show/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/

With a soupçon of surfing, this format-style could be a winner!

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Saturday, 9 Nov 2019 at 10:24am

Press release from the WSL this morning:

WSL’s New Podcast Launches Today
It’s official. World Surf League is finally getting into the podcast game. Our very own Dave Prodan breaks things down with influential figures from all across the surf landscape. In the inaugural episode, Dave talks with legend Peter Townend about becoming surfing's first world champion and his illustrious career that followed.

So there's another player in the surf podcast market... and one with a seemingly blank checkbook in which to produce content.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 4:23pm

I’m guessing this will be shithouse

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 5:04pm

Prodan had a podcast previously, I think an official one under the ASP banner.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 5:39pm

Yes that's correct. Only three years ago too.

"The Kill the Messenger Podcast with Dave Prodan is a surfing podcast wherein the 10-year ASP/WSL employee reviews current happenings in the surfing world as well as attempts to contextualize the entertainment, comedy, inspiration, misery and unending transcendence that surfing and its community provide on a daily basis."

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/kill-the-messenger-podcast-with-da...

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stunet commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 3:28pm

Went along last night to see Aint That Swell at Gong Uni. I've maybe listened to a combined 30 minutes of their podcasts to date, so I sorta know the schtick though I'm not a fan. That's more to do with podcasts in general, as explained above. I was curious to see how the whole thing would go in a live environment, especially as its hosted by two writers, a breed not renown for skillz on the mic.

Vaughan and Jed had their safety nets, the lines they could rely on to get them out of trouble, but the biggest laughs were off the cuff, unscripted quips, and both of 'em landed a bag limit. Calling it mere shit talk is selling it short.

Occ, Lowey, and Richo were the guests: Occ was Occ, Lowey matched Jed and Vaughan's energy, while Richo the old silver fox ran as a foil to the din made by the others.

Think I'd heard all the stories that were told, but then I was probably the oldest person in the room. As a format it worked unreal for telling stories, especially live and backed with vids and photos - not sure how that's gonna work when they post the poddy.

Not sure if it's changed my mind about listening to podcasts, but as a live show it was fucken unreal.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 5:04pm

they're playing at Lennox pub sometimes this month. might go along based on that recommendation Stu.
$23 a ticket! good luck to them. Maybe a paying gig.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 5:18pm

How far in advance will you know the guest list ?

Who’s at Lennox ?

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Westofthelake commented Sunday, 10 Nov 2019 at 6:50pm

Without a doubt if you are going to do a podcast then it's going to be because of the passion.

Strangely, I went right to the podcast before reading all of the post,. I got about 15 minutes in and thought "Stu and Ben would be all over this and if this is the benchmark, the Swellnet crew would easily take it to the next level "
Then I read all of Ricks Dispatch.

As a punter all I can say is 'Get on it' (it could be really fun, and educational)
On behalf of Dad's with young children (based on the above poddy) Can you produce it with less (fucking) swearing please? [On-Air swear jar could be required.] :)

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 1:22pm

Report: 250 Million Americans Still Need Guests On Their Podcasts This Week

https://entertainment.theonion.com/report-250-million-americans-still-ne...

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mugofsunshine commented Tuesday, 12 Nov 2019 at 1:54pm

This kinda relates to my 2c. I listen to a fair few when driving or shaping or mowing but I'm a cherry picker. I tend only to listen to people/subjects I'm keen to hear about but the crux is that occasionally when one leads straight into another with someone I've never heard of it's often more interesting!

I would highly recommend not setting yourselves up for a fall by A. Not promising a regular time slot or episode amount and B. get a whole season (even more than you need) in the bag before you start broadcasting. That way you can spend heaps more time editing and also it'll give you time to dip your toes in and see what people are reacting/engaging with and potentially cut dead wood from content already on the hard drive or ditch it all together.