Hockey Podcasting Was a Mistake

Now, it’s not about my career in podcasting– we don’t have the time and I’m already paying a guy to help me work through that.

No, it’s about the new Don Cherry podcast that’s going to be happening soon after the 85-year-old was booted off of the Sportsnet airwaves due to another crazy rant too far from the former Jack Adams Award winner. I won’t rehash that because what can be said about it that hasn’t been shouted back and forth into the void that is called the Internet??

Yet, Don Cherry starting a podcast just shows that allowing anyone to have a podcast was a mistake. You can say that for several podcasts about anything that has already been made, but now it’s being used as a redemption tour or a “I’m still relevant” thing for those who are well past their time.

But it goes back to my whole thing about the NBC podcast situation where they started podcast well past the time they should have for the contract with the NHL they had; we’ve heard the same bit from Don Cherry for decade– Canada’s great, foreigners are suspect, mangling last names. People have always had the ability to tune out when on TV, but now they can really tune out…unless they want to be the dog whistle for others and give this show more publicity than it should get– but that’s their own lane.

Anyway– it’s something that’s a mistake because we’ve heard it all before. Cherry has at least two books about it, a four-part CBC biography, and years and years of stuff on backlog that never really deviates from his usual gimmick. Knowing the history behind him, I doubt there will be any new listenership than what would have already listened already.

I guess it’s a good idea to keep Don Cherry alive because who knows what he would have done if no one paid attention to him after this incident. There has been studies that the grief of someone or something being taken from you can take its toll on the mind and body– which is sometimes a death sentence for those in an older age bracket due to their body not being as strong as younger people. If this is something that’ll bide his time; great. Like I said– people who want to listen and those who won’t, won’t. Simple as that.

Then after all is said and done, we’ll have to see what legacy people will paint him with– though they’ve already done that for a while as he still breathes.

Face Off Hockey Show: Barely Legal

Half my life.

That’s the time I’ve spent conducting the Face Off Hockey Show. And it’s been a helluva ride. So many studios, so many production changes, so much new technology. The only constant was the hosts and Marc moving every five or so years.

The show itself isn’t much, we’ve had our chances to expand only for the season-killing lockout of 2004-05 to really squash that. But it has afforded me the opportunity to do a lot of things I never thought I would, travel places I didn’t think I’d get to, and do some things I thought I would do– but didn’t know when it’d happen. It’s also helped my writing career and all of that, too.

Face Off Hockey Show is a podcast that pre-dates the iPod by two-and-a-half months. Of course, we just called them “archived on-demand streams” at that time, so it’s not like you could carry it with you. But smartphones weren’t a thing either, so it’s not like you could have downloaded to your mobile device.

Since then, we’ve created more podcasts, killed more podcasts, and won a Labatt Blue hockey tournament. What other podcast can say that?? Maybe a few. Still though, it’s been a fun time for all involved…I hope.

Hell, the NHL knows about us enough to not really let us into events under our own name anymore. Thanks NHL HQ!!

While we’re deep into this, there is still a little hope of us actually hitting it big at some point. All of us have good jobs right now and if a life-changing offer came along, we’d have to think long and hard about it– but it would be awesome to start doing it every day as a job.

“How can WE help??” no one reading this said. Glad you asked. The FOHS Media Faction Patreon is a way to do it. We’re doing all kinds of stuff this summer and hopefully going into the next season. Maybe check it out and go from there. It’d be great if you could.

In another 18 years, I’ll be in my 50s and who knows if we’ll still be doing it or if media will be the same now. But it’s been fun doing FOHS for all these years and I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to it. Here’s to more years and more times that our media servers change their way of doing things for us to keep up with the times.

So…if you’re so inclined– an 18-year-old show. As always– take care of yourself and someone else.

NHL Branded Podcasts Are Exactly What You Would Expect

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Logo via NHL.com

This past week, the NHL got into the late-2000s by releasing their own branded podcasts, one of which is called the NHL Executive Suite. Every other week, Deb Placey will talk to hockey executives about, according to the release, “how each guest broke into the game, why they pursued their careers, how they see the future of the sport and much more.” Their first podcast was with Hall of Famer Gary Bettman, the NHL Commissioner (f-f-f-f-for life).

In between having a ton of podcasts and avoiding writing on this blog apparently, I gave this a listen. Now, this won’t be a complete deconstruction of the podcast and nit-picking from my 17 years of experience, because I don’t think it needs deconstruction for what it actually is and who it’s put out by. Plus, if I were any better at doing podcasts, I’d be in a spot on the NHL Productions Radio spot.

No, this is more about the concept of the project with who is putting this out.

If it were anyone but the NHL, the podcasts would actually have things people want to hear and not fluff pieces about these executives that are going on. I can’t blame Deb Placey, she’s great in directing the conversation, getting the topics that they want to put across, and pretty much following through the whole thesis of what they want this podcast to be about. Placey is fantastic as a host and her history with the NHL and knowing how to deal with executives from her time with Gary Bettman and his radio show is perfect in knowing how the league wants this all to play out.

My problem with something like this is that these are people that other podcasts would love to have on and not have the sugar-coated questions. There is a lot to the onion of any of these executive’s stories, but they’re so guarded in where they are working that these stories are not something that will come out on podcasts as long as they’re employed. This is a podcast where I would rather have nothing at all than to have something like this that only scratches a surface that will never be fully scratched because hockey people are that way.

Earlier in the month, the NHL released their Fantasy on Ice podcast– again, years after they should have had one. However, with all the new sponsorship deals they have with MGM and Fan Duel and Yahoo– why not have a fantasy hockey podcast licensed by the NHL?? It’s a simple thing that should have been done years ago, but now that other places have something like that– the NHL is trying to finally make a splash and hope that people go with the NHL brand over other places.

Listen, it’s okay that these exist, but for the NHL to be producing them lets you know that it’ll be as milquetoast as you think it’ll be for a league putting out content like this. In fact, I’m surprised the NHL did this because they are probably the league that most protects their brand against people who aren’t going with the company line.

(Don’t believe me– just ask me about my interact with a recently retired NHL executive at the Dallas Draft and why it’s harder than hell to get the Face Off Hockey Show in with credentials to NHL events.)

These programs– as well as the ones on NHL Network and NHL Network Radio– are going to protect the league in any way they can. Sure, there might be some discussion to the contrary about different things, but with these hosts contracted by the league to do a service– they won’t go against the grain and risk a job because they know spots at The Athletic are filling up to capacity and the bubble may burst soon. It’s a cozy job, it’s an easy job, it’s something people would enjoy if they want to just see the money roll in.

But what fun is that when you’re just hearing the company line. There’s plenty of great stories out there that many won’t tell because they’re too close to the game, but the guys outside of the game will talk your ear off about them. It’s my hope that one day there’s going to be a wrestling-style “shoot” interview with some players or executives and it’d be a great time….but some hockey players aren’t that way and it’d never have the full effect, though it could be a great money maker.

So– here’s to the NHL for finally getting onto the podcast life years too late from when they should have. It’s great to have another hockey podcast– despite it being a color-by-number interview segment that rarely touches on the things people want it to touch on.

Seventeen Years Ago, It Started in a Garage

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In a garage in Lanham, Maryland- Broadcast Monsters Inc. had created their own, totally in-house hockey internet radio show out of the ashes of another hockey show. They had created shows for a year in a market of streaming media which was very untapped and created a format of “archived, on-demand streaming” which predated the podcast format and allowed people to not have to worry about appointment listening.

And on this date (August 8th) in 2001, the Face Off Hockey Show was born. It was supposed to be a hodge-podge debate show in the same vain as Pardon The Interruption, but it soon morphed into four friends getting together to talk about their life….and then occasionally hockey when it warranted.

Sure, I write something like this every year, but it still amazes me that we get another year older for this show that probably shouldn’t have been with everyone of the hosts moving locations a couple times for those years (which you can hear in our Patreon Extra Shows). For 17 years, we’ve been doing an average of a show a week– some weeks we have extra shows, some weeks someone is sick or technology gets the best of us and we don’t have one. Yet, since 2001– a month before the iPod came out– we started a show that’s still going today. Hell, it’s what gave me my most notoriety and allowed me to do what I’ve done since 2001.

This show has been with me for just under half my life. Hell, I haven’t been in a relationship as long as I’ve been on this show. Maybe that speaks more about me than my commitment to the show, but I digress. Even through all the moves– Marc’s on his 39th studio area and I’ve gone through two states and a province– we’ve still done this whole damn thing and made it work for two hours a week.

These past 17 years have been full of memorable moments, full of fun, full of debates, full of stupid shit that probably only makes us pop for ourselves. We’ve been able to get credentialed for NHL Events, NHL Parties, AHL, ECHL, NCAA, WHL, World Juniors– a whole helluva lot. However, it’s been tougher in recent years, as it seems those in the NHL Communications department doesn’t think we’re worthy enough on our own history to be credentialed under Face Off Hockey Show– this showing when I met someone in that department and when I mentioned who I did podcast for….they knew who I was, what the show was, and didn’t seem too pleased with either. But that only drives me more to get you to know our name and, as the kids say– put some respect on it.

It’s been awesome. But there’s still a lot to come from Face Off Hockey Show and the Face Off Hockey Show Media Faction.¬†With the Media Faction, we’ve added the Soderstrom Bubble and will be adding a yet-to-be-named Maryland hockey podcast which will follow the NAHL’s Maryland Black Bears, all the club hockey teams, all the Marylanders in pro hockey, some of the high school stuff– and maybe add more stuff to our network; who knows. We’ve had a wrestling podcast just waiting for a while now– the stars just haven’t aligned.

For the people who have listened for a while or if their first show was a week ago– thank you. While we mostly do this show for ourselves because we like to talk to each other about hockey and see what everyone is up to– we also appreciate the friends we’ve made from the people who have listened to our insane podcast. We appreciate you though we may act like total asses about it.

Thanks to everyone who has listened, who might listen, or who have supported us without listening (Thanks Mama Wazz and Big Stan)– we appreciate it more than you know.

Here’s to another 17 years.