With the constant drama in the San Diego media market thanks to noted dickhead Dean Spanos moving the Chargers to Carson, a lot of fan attention has been focused on how the media covers our favorite teams. With the vacuum created by Spanos, it’s been a lot easier to notice how inept and terrible old media coverage of the Padres is.
This is to be expected when the large majority of hosts are former Chargers or former football players (with Darren Smith’s typical excellence being the exception). As can be expected in a free market economy, the void in quality Padres coverage has been filled by new media.
Old media like 1090 and the U-T will point to their metrics that say Chargers content has the highest audience, and I don’t doubt it’s true… for now. But this is short run thinking. It’s like a corporation that continually manages to the quarterly report without looking at long term strategies to ensure their survival. It may make sense in the short run, but it usually bites them in the ass eventually. In my opinion, there are permanent changes in consumer behavior happening where the podcast is not only becoming generally accepted, it’s becoming preferred and habitual. At the point that an old fossil like Padres Twitter celebrity leisurefriar who is knocking on death’s door can not only learn how to find, subscribe to, consume, and ultimately prefer podcasts, you know that old media has taken a gross misstep in ceding this territory to podcasters so they can hopelessly cling to a dying focus. 1090 and the U-T are essentially the buggy whip manufacturers reporting to investors that their metrics show that way more people needed buggy whips during the past fiscal year because more people have buggies than Model T Fords, while ignoring the obvious path the future will take. Look at it this way, the Golden Age of Padres Podcasts started roughly 2 years ago, and the team is 2 or 3 years away from really competing. That’s 4 to 5 years for local media to ignore the Padres or provide subpar, terrible Padres content. That’s also 4 to 5 years for content consumers to discover and adopt podcasts as a preferred source for Padres coverage. Chargers’ interest will continue to dwindle and old media will realize the short term decisions they made have put them behind the eight ball once they, out of necessity, have to start covering the Padres. It’ll be too late. Old media is desperately grasping to the short run as disruptive technology puts nails in their long term coffin.
The Padres have made clear they prefer old media, have been miserly in providing key team employees for podcast interviews, and have stated very clearly they will never grant media credentials to podcasts (while notably continuing to grant one to local blogger Lee Hacksaw Hamilton). At this point, the only competitive advantage old media has in Padres coverage is access to these team employees (think Padres Wednesday Fowler interviews which I’ll add THE PADRES HAVE TO PAY 1090 TO DO), but I think the media consumer is at a point where it’s difficult to trust team employees who fart rainbows about whatever the team is doing or flim-flam men like Wayne Partello. They are tired of complicit old media hosts that never ask a follow-up question, tee up softballs, and in the end, care more about protecting their personal access than providing a quality product to the consumer. This, my friends, is why we’re in the Golden Age of Padres Podcasts.
We’ve discussed the Golden Age of Padres Podcasts here before, but I thought we should check in and update our list of podcasts to act as a reference going forward.
Current and Active Golden Agers
Gwynntelligence Podcast: We kept chugging along with varying levels of audio quality here at Gwynntelligence. We were able to produce 19 episodes, 25 hours of content, despite Marver’s immense number of excuses and appalling lack of written content production. I believe we provided strong analysis, timely response to current events, and plenty of smugness. I greatly enjoyed interviewing Jeff Dotseth last year,
East Village Times: James Clark and Patrick Brewer have excelled at continuing to produce content and attract guests. They have largely focused on getting prospect writers to review the Padres system which gives an outsiders’ view of the minor league system. I’ve found many of these interviews, especially those with Eric Longenhagen and (despite being Torrey Pines trash) Kyle Glaser, to be incredibly insightful. Just in terms of sheer content quantity, EVT put out FIFTY episodes last calendar year, totaling well over 50 hours of content. Just a comparison, Padres Wednesday on 1090, the primary Padres talk on 1090, totaled roughly 22 hours of content. I know James and Patrick are sometimes polarizing on Padres Twitter, but there is no denying the sheer amount of quality content they are pushing out on a consistent basis.
5.5 Hole: By sheer luck, I stumbled on the 5.5 Podcast. At a Lake Elsinore Storm game, I happened to be sitting three seats down from Eric and his now wife, and he mentioned that he’d been doing a podcast. I’d never heard of it before, but am always starved for quality content. I listened on the way home that night, and the rest is history. Dashing Danny Ortiz and Eric have brought a unique edge to the Padres podcasting community, have produced regular content, and are awesome dudes in general. In their last episode, Eric discussed having a Padres Twitter Recap Podcast, kind of in the spirit of Howard Stern’s wrap up show. I can’t wait. In their rookie year, 5.5 Hole produced 20 podcasts and 20 hours of content.
The Kept Faith: The Kept Faith is the godfather of the Padres podcasting community given their production’s leisurefriarish advanced age. In the past year, they’ve gone beyond just podcasters, they’ve helped to bring the Padres Twitter community together via their live podcasts. The TKF gang also has the added legitimacy of being part of the Voice of San Diego podcast network and recording out of their studios in downtown. At the end of 2017, they’ve started a monetization campaign with Patreon to expand their productions and provide incentive for Dallas to not leave every episode early. While retaining their title as San Diego’s #1 Stadium Talk Podcast, they’ve also pivoted towards more Padres talk, UNLIKE SOME LOCAL RADIO STATIONS. TKF put out 37 podcasts in 2017, totaling roughly 40 hours of content.
Make The Padres Great Again: John Gennaro and Craig Elsten continue to produce a premium product. They are a dynamic team with great rapport, and offer great commentary on Padres going-ons, as well as analysis of long term strategy. As soon as an MTPGA episode pops into my podcast feed, I know I’ll have a great commute home. It also makes me a little sad that one of the local radio stations literally has these two in their employ, and waste their talents by keeping them off the air. Elsten is a pro’s pro, has decades of experience, and is whip smart. I’ll never understand how he’s so underutilized. The MTPGA crew produced 40 episodes last year totaling over 50 hours of content.
Podcasts on Life Support
Padres and Pints: Chris and RJ are one of the oldest Padres podcasters on the scene, and so far, the only one to pivot to video. We had a brief glimmer of the old days when they released two podcasts out of the blue during one glorious week in July. But since then, crickets. I have a feeling P&P will pop their heads out when we least expect it, but it appears the days of regular content from them may be done.
Pads Pod: Pads Pod, my dearest Pads Pod. I’ve said many times that Pads Pod was my favorite Padres Podcast during the Summer of Pads Pod 2K16. They didn’t go totally silent, but they only put out four episodes last year, and have gone radio silent since July. All I want is Ryan, Manny and Yoshi to make a triumphant return in 2018.
If you did the math, the Golden Age of Padres Podcasting produced nearly TWO HUNDRED HOURS of content. And I’m not even counting the Dave and Jeff Show which is outstanding and has produced eleventy billion hours of content this year, but I’m not ready to declare it a Padres podcast yet. If I had to guess this is at least 4x the total Padres content produced by both sports talk radio stations combined, with a greater depth and quality of analysis.
Rest In Peace
The hardest part of having a Padres podcast is sustaining it and continuing to create content even when the team is mind numbingly terrible. During the Golden Age, we’ve had some podcast fatalities. Let’s grant them a moment of silence.
Fare thee well:
Padres Prospectus, Padres and IPAs, Padres Unplugged Podcast! with Rich Herrera, Friar Fanatics, Padres Social Hour Podcast