In the world of Champaign-Urbana sports talk radio, options are generally pretty dry. Outside of ESPN Radio’s Tay and J Show and assorted sports programs on WDWS, there isn’t really anything alternative to the mainstream.
Luckily, WILL has been seeking to change this lately with their podcast, The Bandwagon, which is available online every two weeks or so. You can stream the podcast here, and for more information, check out the press release below:
Join WILL’s Brian Moline, Lisa Bralts, and John Steinbacher every two weeks for your new favorite sports podcast, The Bandwagon.
“This all started with a conversation last year about how to bring people who don’t identify as sports fans into a conversation about sports,” said Brian Moline, co-host of the show.
This idle suggestion-turned-podcast stands at the intersection of sports and culture, pondering what’s really going on. The Bandwagon isn’t just about scores and trade rumors and the holy trinity of MLB/NBA/NFL, it’s also about having thoughtful discussions around issues that affect athletics and ethos. Hosted by two guys and a woman with wildly different athletic interests, each episode’s topics can range from ping pong to dressage to youth sports to social media’s role in the sports world.
In fact, the distinct lack of “hot takes” and “REAX” is what makes The Bandwagon distinct among the many other sports podcasts out there. “While outcomes are very interesting, the experience of ‘the game’ itself from the athlete’s perspective, the viewer’s perspective, the perspective of someone who doesn’t think sports matter but is affected by them anyway… those are the things that interest us and that’s what we love to discuss,” explained Lisa Bralts, co-host of the show.
Sports are both a fascinating diversion and a reflection of our society, often serving as a significant component of people’s interaction with one another, whether they identify with sports or know nothing about them, e.g. The Superbowl. “They’re a way for people to connect on a larger scale, and especially given the polarization going on around so many topics in today’s society, I think they can be more significant than ever before,” said John Steinbacher, co-host of the show.
However, things that avid sports fans take for granted aren’t necessarily common knowledge for everyone, so The Bandwagon works to be a bridge between the sports and non-sports camps—a podcast place where everyone can come to listen and learn something new.
There is also a lot of rivalry talk. “Rivalries are what make sports great both for the athletes—who need someone or something to compete against to keep the fires stoked—and the spectators,” continued Bralts. “I think the three of us learn something new every time one of us brings a rivalry, whether it’s in the research or in the on-mic discussion.”
So forget the “hot takes” of your typical sports podcasts and come aboard The Bandwagon. This week the show is talking about lesser-known Olympic sports, the US-USSR Olympics rivalry during the Cold War, the Crossfit Games, and the silly stuff we saw on social media this week!