The podcast renaissance has finally hit Penn Athletics, just maybe not in the place you would expect. But the Penn Squash Podcast has finally arrived, and it looks like it’s here to stay.
Whether it’s coach Jack Wyant discussing the big Harvard-Dartmouth doubleheader over winter break or the men’s captains reflecting on the transformation of the program over their past four years, the new podcast is the home of everything Penn squash.
So just exactly whose idea was this?
“Well, I have a long commute to work in the morning, so I’m always looking for some form of entertainment outside of the radio,” Wyant admitted. “I love listening to Bill Simmons’ podcast. So when I talked to [Athletic Communications Assistant] Daniel [Kurish] and asked if we could do this, we just decided to give it a whirl.”
And just like that, on a whim, the podcast was up and running. After Kurish figured out the logistics of the podcast — which turned out to require not much more than the voice memos app on the iPhone — the duo set off on the pilot episode back in the early days of the season in November. Since then, it hasn’t quite hit the popularity level of Bill Simmons’ podcast, but that doesn’t mean that it’s been a futile effort. The podcast’s SoundCloud page has about 600 hits so far, with the ultimate goal being just to get some exposure.
“Our goal is really just to help promote the team and to let people get to know the coaches and players a little better,” Kurish said in an email. “It’s so easy to just look at performance and records and base your perceptions on those, but this podcast gives us an avenue to really get to know them and that’s a great thing, because they’re great people.”
Exposure might be one of the goals of the program, but for senior men’s team captain Augie Frank, the podcast is also a great tool for the players.
“I think it’s a great thing to have, especially at the end of the season as a type of recap,” Frank explained. “I think it’ll be interesting to see what the coaches are saying, what the captains and other players had to say at different points throughout the season and at the end of the season reflecting on that. It will be good for our young guys to see, you know, what was the tone after a really big win, like after we had the St. Lawrence-Rochester matches, after we split the Harvard-Dartmouth weekend, after we lost to Trinity.
“Squash is such a mental game, so being able to see where you are when you’re at your highest highs and your lowest lows during the season will be very valuable for the guys going forward in this season and going forward into next season.”
This new medium certainly has plenty of potential use and room to grow, but for Wyant, the podcast fits into a bigger theme of doing things outside the box to bring his program success.
“Everybody asks me if I try to model our squash program after programs like Trinity College or Harvard, and the answer is always no,” said Wyant. “I’m a sports fan, I try to follow as many college sports programs as I can. I grew up in Ohio, I love Ohio State football. So I look at what other big programs in more evolved sports are doing, and I try to emulate that.”
It’s unclear just how big or popular the podcast will get in the coming years, but one thing is for sure: if the podcast is anywhere near as good as the Penn squash teams, then the broadcast certainly has a bright future.
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