MidAmerica sophomores Ryan Landreth, Daniel Cunningham and Joshua Brisco recently found success as sports commentators when their podcasts, Roughing the Kicker and Inside the Paint, partnered with popular sports blogs about the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas Jayhawks.
Currently, Roughing the Kicker is featured on Chiefs blog Arrowhead Addict, with Inside the Paint – a podcast focused on Jayhawk basketball – appearing on Rock Chalk Blog. According to Brisco, the two most recent episodes of Roughing the Kicker each broke 2,000 plays in January, with Inside the Paint garnering over 400 plays for its latest outing. Brisco said that while both shows are now produced in a private residence, the pilot episodes for each podcast were done on MNU’s main campus utilizing university equipment and facilities.
“During my first semester, I immediately joined a multimedia workshop class,” Brisco said. “Chad Jenkins talked about the program requirements and mentioned doing a podcast. I was able to talk my friend, Ryan Landreth, into joining the class as well. We ended up starting an NFL podcast focusing on the Kansas City Chiefs. MNU gave us a huge leg-up on this. If it wasn’t for MNU, we would never have gotten started.”
The first episode of Roughing the Kicker premiered in September 2014 from KMNU Radio's headquarters in MidAmerica’s Smith building.
After producing several episodes of Roughing the Kicker, Landreth said he wanted to start work on a new podcast called Inside the Paint, focusing on the Kansas Jayhawks and college basketball. The original host lineup featured Landreth, Brisco, and MNU student Tyler Jenkins. Landreth said that Jenkins “played a pivotal role” in starting Inside the Paint, though he is no longer with the show. During the second season, the host lineup and content delivery style morphed to feature Daniel Cunningham, a sports enthusiast and avid analyst of the Jayhawks team.
“Ryan ended up just giving me a mic and telling me to give an opinion,” Cunningham said. “I study KU basketball religiously, I haven’t missed game in eight or nine years, and I read all the major ESPN writers.”
Landreth said he decided to bring in Cunningham – a marketing major – as a permanent co-host because both students share a highly informative approach to sports commentary.
“Ryan and I share a very informational style,” Cunningham said. “Josh, he brings an entertaining surprise. He moves things along and brings in a lot of humor. I can feed off Josh’s energy; I can be more spontaneous.”
Brisco said that, prior to the podcasts’ partnering with Arrowhead Addict and Rock Chalk Blog, he felt like the audiences for both Roughing the Kicker and Inside the Paint were too small for the amount of work the programs required.
“I felt like I was putting in a lot of work for very few ears,” Brisco said. “So, I got in contact with Ben Nielson, editor of Arrowhead Addict. I essentially cold-called him and told him about our podcast.”
Brisco met with Nielson in October of 2014 and worked out a partnership that Brisco described as “symbiotic.” Now Arrowhead Addict hosts Roughing the Kicker, and in return, the program is exposed to a much larger audience. As of January 2015, Arrowhead Addict has over 15,600 followers on Twitter, and the popularity of the students' podcast had grown exponentially since its inclusion on the site.
A few weeks after Roughing the Kicker found a home on Arrowhead Addict, Landreth was contacted by a representative of Rock Chalk Blog who expressed interest in partnering with Inside the Paint. After some negotiation with editors from the site, Landreth was able to procure a deal similar to one reached with Arrowhead Addict. Rock Chalk Blog currently has over 17,600 followers on Twitter, which again exposes the program to a much larger audience. Landreth said that both Inside the Paint and Roughing the Kicker strive to make full use of humor as well as in-depth analysis in order to produce a balanced, yet still entertaining show for their now burgeoning audiences.
“We don’t take it too seriously,” Brisco said. “We want to give serious analysis and real, relevant discussion, but still be able to crack a joke by the end of it. It can be very weighty but also very humorous. At the end of the day, it’s an internet show about a game. And if it’s not fun, why do it?”