Newsletter Special Feature #7
'Why We Watch’, ‘Wrestling Mount Rushmore’, ‘Five Rounds’ and ‘Radio Tekkers’ Podcast Host
Mags is one of the premier podcast hosts of the Internet Wrestling Community. He hosts 4 podcasts, mentioned above, and is a regular guest of many many more! Mags is well known for being an incredibly supportive member of the IWC, it’s as if he can’t stop himself from putting others over!
Hello Mags and a warm welcome to the PWMusings Weekly Newsletter! Firstly, could you give us a quick rundown of how you started podcasting and your four podcasts?
Sure, and I really appreciate the opportunity to do this. It’s much appreciated. So, I listen to a lot of podcasts, as the background noise to daily life. But, I never pictured myself creating them until I guested on a couple of friends shows, @TheMattAttackUK and @itsreycash. I then caught the bug. So, I talked to my podcasting buddies, got some equipment and it kind of snowballed from there.
In terms of my shows, I started with Why We Watch with another buddy, Mike Arrant. Unfortunately, real life meant he couldn’t commit to the show long term, so I did the show solo. Then, I added Badlands to my portfolio, with another buddy, @raincounter. That’s such a fun show to record. Then I stepped away from wrestling podcasts with 5 Rounds, a UFC review show that I do with my son, and ICO British sub-strike champion, Carlos. More recently, I got involved with Talk At The Table, a fortnightly wrestling grumble-fest with @elcompactonewt and @TheMattAttackUK and Radio Tekkers, a football show with @TexasGentleman_. Damn, that’s a lot of content. I have a problem.
Do you have a particular style or aim in how you create content? Do you have an ultimate aim or are you aiming to enjoy the process?
I don’t think I have a particular style through the shows I do. Obviously, there’s similarities, with the intro, sign-offs, etc. But, the topics and formats are pretty diverse to separate them as their own entities. As for an aim, I like to think I’m different to most podcasters, especially in our little corner of the scene. It’s never been about the fame, clout, listens or money for me. I couldn’t tell you, week on week, the numbers I get. It just doesn’t interest me. It’s all about the conversations and the enjoyment of the shows for me. I suppose I measure the success of the shows by the people who tweet and DM me saying they enjoy the content. But, the truth is, if it starts becoming a chore I’d quickly stop.
During our recording of ‘Why We Watch’ I slipped into negativity whilst talking about NXT and you course corrected the conversation by stating the positivity of having two good shows to watch on Wednesday. What are your other well-trodden paths as a podcast host and how do you get the best out of your guests?
I appreciate the kind words, sir. I try and stay as positive as possible, because wrestling is meant to be entertainment. That being said, it’s sometimes hard to avoid negativity. So, I try to be balanced and fair. Listening back to the earliest episodes, I noticed how very robotic and scripted the shows were. With experience, you kind of forget the microphone is there and the conversation flows much easier. Now, I tend to have questions to fall back on if the chat slows down, but I like to try and free form the conversation and allow the natural flow happen. It tends to lead to more open talk and the guests feel at ease and comfortable straight away. Many guests who have never been on podcasts before start really nervous, which is perfectly natural. I aim to let them share their stories, views and thoughts without feeling that nervous pressure.
In terms of well-trodden paths, I tend to have parts of the shows that take place every episode. Things like the opening question on Why We Watch and the collated Mount Rushmore on Badlands help with the uniformity and style of the shows, almost like a USP.
Are there any conversations or guests that stand out to you as significant over the course of your podcasting career?
Being perfectly honest, I’ve enjoyed every single chat and recording with the guests. I’m always thankful that they take the time out of their busy lives to spend a couple of hours to talk to me and Paul. But each recording comes with it’s own obstacles and hurdles.
To pick a few out that mean a lot to me, firstly, I’ve got to mention the Dave Pozefsky episode of Why We Watch. Dave, and he wouldn’t mind me saying, has a significant stammer, and was incredibly nervous. It was relatively early in my podcast ‘career’ and the editing took forever. But, Dave was pleased with the show and that really meant a lot. He really is a ‘Good Guy’.
With Badlands, Paul and I are always saying the latest episode is the best and it’s probably true to be fair. The best episodes are when we have genuine belly laughs at the absurdity of wrestling. With big hitters in our community like Anthony from Smark to Death, Warren Hayes, UTTRob, Fowl Original, Speez and Ricky and Clive, we’ve had some genuinely amazing recordings. And they keep getting better.
What are the most important things you have learned about as a podcast host?
The most important thing is to not take yourself too seriously. The cold, hard truth is 99% of podcasts won’t be a financial success. So, if your aim is for this to be your job, I wish you all the best but it’s very unlikely to happen. So, do it to enjoy yourself and don’t be too harsh if you don’t create something perfect. Those imperfections add character to your content.
Next, be unique. There’s too many people in this scene that blatantly steal ideas and concepts from other. Don’t be that person. Work out what makes you, you. Run with that, you’re your best selling point.
Next, stick at it. Your first 5-10 episodes with be awful. It’s jarring to talk into a microphone and it takes time to get used to it.
Lastly, pay it forward. Remember that you were new at this at one time, and people helped you. Reach out to burgeoning podcasters with advice and help. It’ll mean the world to them.
Positivity is an interesting topic in the IWC, how do you manage to tread the positive observations versus negative criticisms balance?
It’s such a fine line to tread. Recently, the IWC has seemed more fractured than at anytime I’ve been involved. And interestingly, it’s not just the negativity that is the toxic factor. There’s a growing hyper-positive section of the IWC that is becoming troublesome. The positivity itself isn’t the issue, it’s the close-minded echo chamber it creates. At either end of the spectrum, if you can’t listen to valid criticism of your viewpoints without getting angry and emotional about it, you’re just as bad as the Everything Sucks brigade.
I tend to stay in the middle, no man's land part of the IWC. I have my favourite wrestlers and promotions, but I don’t think they are above criticism or are perfect. Similarly, there are companies and talent that I don’t particularly care for, but I understand that other are emotionally attached. That’s the best thing about wrestling. It’s subjective.
My advice is to just be open to conversation.
Are there any stories or interesting observations from your time as a podcaster you would like to share with our readers?
Damn, the life of a podcaster never runs smooth. So, here’s some snippets of stuff that has happened to me as a creator.
The content I recorded with @UTTRob that we released was a 2nd set of recordings. The first lot were totally unusable because Rob’s audio didn’t come through on the files. Much love to Rob for re-recording.
In the first episode of Badlands on Chairshot, Paul’s side was so quiet and no technical trickery would make it usable, so I edited it to sound like it was just me monologuing, taking all of Tolley’s stuff out. He was not a happy bunny.
We once recorded an episode with @Jon_Olen where he was locked outside of his house.
I was once ghosted by Alicia Atout who actually DM’ed me for an interview in the first place.
But, I’ll leave you with what I hope to be the defining factor of my time as a creator. The thing I enjoy the most is helping other people with an interest in podcasting get their voice out there. If anyone wants advice on equipment, software, editing, feedback on ideas and shows my DM’s are open. As I said earlier, pay it forward.