ESPN’s Bomani Jones Gives Us His Take on the Podcast Craze, Social Issues Invading Sports

It’s always the right time to listen to the unique voice of Bomani Jones, but now the ESPN host is airing his frank opinions on sports and social issues on a podcast instead of his long-running radio show.

“I think the biggest difference is that it’s more concentrated,” Jones told TheWrap of the podcast that airs Tuesdays and Thursdays. “What we really want to do is take the best of what we were doing before and just kind of trim the fat, give people the best concentrated version of what I have to offer,” he said.

“The Right Time With Bomani Jones” podcast reboot premiered earlier this month and Jones’ upcoming daytime television show with Pablo Torre is set to debut this spring from ESPN’s new Seaport District Studio.

Also Read: FiveThirtyEight Leaves ESPN for ABC News

Jones’ new show continues ESPN’s push into the world of podcasts, which includes a “30 for 30” series on yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, plus other recently debuted shows “Jalen and Jacoby,” “Sports? With Katie Nolan,” “Marty Smith’s America” and “The Plug” from Undefeated.

While they’ve still a solid roster of radio and TV shows along with new streaming platform ESPN+, what makes podcasts the new go-to platform? On that, Jones, as usual, had plenty of thoughts.

“If you do a radio show for 15 hours a week, you’ve got to please so many different people because everyone in radio is trying to grab that elusive listener for 15 minutes,” Jones explained, comparing the two formats. “With a podcast, you are dealing with people who are opting in, it is your most dedicated diehard fans and people who are making a conscious decision to walk in the door.”

Also Read: Coolest Things About ESPN+ Streaming Service, From ’30 for 30′ Film Library to Live Sports Events

One way he wants to cater to those diehards is by doing less interviews.

“On the radio show, I would try and do interviews such as with a beat writer for a team as a way to share information on a story and then I would give my opinion on it,” he said. “But we won’t have to do those nearly as much. If we’re coming off an NFL weekend and we’re trying to figure that the games are to talk about, now we don’t have to talk about that second or third game — we can focus on whatever the biggest game was.”

Also Read: ESPN Lets Viewers Binge Watch ‘We the Fans’ Season 2 by Stacking Episodes Back-to-Back

Podcasts are also a “far more intimate medium” than television, Jones continued. “With a podcast, I think it’s really a chance to get in touch with those people who want to be there the most.”

As for why he thinks podcasts have become such as trendy medium, especially since the success of “Serial” in 2014, Jones said it is because anyone can do one.

“Not anybody can do a very good one, but in terms of theory, anyone can set up a microphone, run it into their computer and then go do a podcast,” he explained. “Regardless of whether the person has a public profile or not, they can say ‘this is something that I could put out there for people.’”

Like social media, Jones said, “Podcasts allow a lot of those people just to have regular conversations, and there is a demand that comes from the listener… It makes them feel like they are a lot closer to people who are otherwise untouchable.”

Also Read: Jemele Hill Denies ESPN’s Chris Berman ‘Left Any Racially Disparaging Remarks on My Voicemail’

Despite this explosion in podcasts over the last few years, “I still don’t think people know what a podcast is,” Jones marveled. “For me, a big part of putting this together is how it will evolve and for me learning not just what a podcast is but what a podcast can be. The page is so wide open right now, which makes it really attractive to a lot of people because no one is really telling you, ‘this is how we have to do it.’”

Jones, left, on ESPN’s “Highly Questionable”

In terms of topics covered, the boundaries of sports and politics have increasingly blurred since President Trump took office, such as NFL player protests and NBA stars clashing with a certain Fox News host. With a masters degree in politics, economics and business, it is only natural that listeners expect Jones to comment on topical social issues.

“Me going outside of the realm of sports has always been dictated by what is going on in the realm of sports,” Jones told TheWrap. “We had a situation at the end of 2016 and early 2017 where the real world topics were coming up in a way that mattered when came to sports, so we talked about the immigration ban because you had NBA players who were potentially caught up in that.”

Also Read: ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Tells Us Why His New Show ‘Get Up!’ Has the Right Chemistry

As for the new podcast, “I think we will fill the show with sports as much as possible as that’s what people come to us for. But once you are there, you’ve got to take it wherever you need to go to answer a question. If that comes from somewhere else, that’s where I am going to go to, but I don’t think it is effective to ramrod politics into your sports discussion because it doesn’t do you any good to talk if there ain’t nobody listening.”

Obvious exceptions have included when boxing legend Muhammad Ali died, as you couldn’t cover his life story without talking about the Nation of Islam, “which is not the easiest thing to do,” Jones said.

“What makes it a little bit different for me is that I am kinda good at it [talking about social issues]. There are a lot of people that when these issues come up, they look at me as they feel like I am a person who can address them,” he said. “I think in the time that I have worked this job, I’ve managed to do this without having any kind of giant controversy over any kind of observations I’ve made.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Coolest Things About ESPN+ Streaming Service, From ’30 for 30′ Film Library to Live Sports Events

ESPN Lets Viewers Binge Watch ‘We the Fans’ Season 2 by Stacking Episodes Back-to-Back

ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Tells Us Why His New Show ‘Get Up!’ Has the Right Chemistry

It’s always the right time to listen to the unique voice of Bomani Jones, but now the ESPN host is airing his frank opinions on sports and social issues on a podcast instead of his long-running radio show.

“I think the biggest difference is that it’s more concentrated,” Jones told TheWrap of the podcast that airs Tuesdays and Thursdays. “What we really want to do is take the best of what we were doing before and just kind of trim the fat, give people the best concentrated version of what I have to offer,” he said.

“The Right Time With Bomani Jones” podcast reboot premiered earlier this month and Jones’ upcoming daytime television show with Pablo Torre is set to debut this spring from ESPN’s new Seaport District Studio.

Jones’ new show continues ESPN’s push into the world of podcasts, which includes a “30 for 30” series on yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, plus other recently debuted shows “Jalen and Jacoby,” “Sports? With Katie Nolan,” “Marty Smith’s America” and “The Plug” from Undefeated.

While they’ve still a solid roster of radio and TV shows along with new streaming platform ESPN+, what makes podcasts the new go-to platform? On that, Jones, as usual, had plenty of thoughts.

“If you do a radio show for 15 hours a week, you’ve got to please so many different people because everyone in radio is trying to grab that elusive listener for 15 minutes,” Jones explained, comparing the two formats. “With a podcast, you are dealing with people who are opting in, it is your most dedicated diehard fans and people who are making a conscious decision to walk in the door.”

One way he wants to cater to those diehards is by doing less interviews.

“On the radio show, I would try and do interviews such as with a beat writer for a team as a way to share information on a story and then I would give my opinion on it,” he said. “But we won’t have to do those nearly as much. If we’re coming off an NFL weekend and we’re trying to figure that the games are to talk about, now we don’t have to talk about that second or third game — we can focus on whatever the biggest game was.”

Podcasts are also a “far more intimate medium” than television, Jones continued. “With a podcast, I think it’s really a chance to get in touch with those people who want to be there the most.”

As for why he thinks podcasts have become such as trendy medium, especially since the success of “Serial” in 2014, Jones said it is because anyone can do one.

“Not anybody can do a very good one, but in terms of theory, anyone can set up a microphone, run it into their computer and then go do a podcast,” he explained. “Regardless of whether the person has a public profile or not, they can say ‘this is something that I could put out there for people.'”

Like social media, Jones said, “Podcasts allow a lot of those people just to have regular conversations, and there is a demand that comes from the listener… It makes them feel like they are a lot closer to people who are otherwise untouchable.”

Despite this explosion in podcasts over the last few years, “I still don’t think people know what a podcast is,” Jones marveled. “For me, a big part of putting this together is how it will evolve and for me learning not just what a podcast is but what a podcast can be. The page is so wide open right now, which makes it really attractive to a lot of people because no one is really telling you, ‘this is how we have to do it.'”

Jones, left, on ESPN’s “Highly Questionable”

In terms of topics covered, the boundaries of sports and politics have increasingly blurred since President Trump took office, such as NFL player protests and NBA stars clashing with a certain Fox News host. With a masters degree in politics, economics and business, it is only natural that listeners expect Jones to comment on topical social issues.

“Me going outside of the realm of sports has always been dictated by what is going on in the realm of sports,” Jones told TheWrap. “We had a situation at the end of 2016 and early 2017 where the real world topics were coming up in a way that mattered when came to sports, so we talked about the immigration ban because you had NBA players who were potentially caught up in that.”

As for the new podcast, “I think we will fill the show with sports as much as possible as that’s what people come to us for. But once you are there, you’ve got to take it wherever you need to go to answer a question. If that comes from somewhere else, that’s where I am going to go to, but I don’t think it is effective to ramrod politics into your sports discussion because it doesn’t do you any good to talk if there ain’t nobody listening.”

Obvious exceptions have included when boxing legend Muhammad Ali died, as you couldn’t cover his life story without talking about the Nation of Islam, “which is not the easiest thing to do,” Jones said.

“What makes it a little bit different for me is that I am kinda good at it [talking about social issues]. There are a lot of people that when these issues come up, they look at me as they feel like I am a person who can address them,” he said. “I think in the time that I have worked this job, I’ve managed to do this without having any kind of giant controversy over any kind of observations I’ve made.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Coolest Things About ESPN+ Streaming Service, From '30 for 30' Film Library to Live Sports Events

ESPN Lets Viewers Binge Watch 'We the Fans' Season 2 by Stacking Episodes Back-to-Back

ESPN's Mike Greenberg Tells Us Why His New Show 'Get Up!' Has the Right Chemistry

Deadline’s TV Talk Podcast Returns: Emmy Comedy Best Actor Contenders & More

It’s Emmy season 2018 and that means we’re back with a brand new run of TV Talk. Coming just days after our packed Deadline’s The Contenders Emmy event at the DGA, we’re jumping in right away with a look at the legacy of Atlanta’s Donald Glover and who…

It's Emmy season 2018 and that means we're back with a brand new run of TV Talk. Coming just days after our packed Deadline's The Contenders Emmy event at the DGA, we're jumping in right away with a look at the legacy of Atlanta's Donald Glover and who could be up for a Best Actor in a Comedy Series when the Primetime Emmy nominations are announced July 12. Will Solo: A Star Wars Story actor Glover take home the Emmy again with Atlanta Robbin' Season? Could Black-ish's…

Let’s Talk About Donald Glover as Teddy Perkins… and Jimmy Kimmel as Karl Malone (Podcast)

It’s been a big month for makeup: On “Atlanta” last week, Donald Glover played a whitefaced weirdo named Teddy Perkins on “Atlanta.” And over the weekend, Sean Hannity escalated his feud with Jimmy Kimmel by calling him a “bigot” for impersonating NBA star Karl Malone in blackface, years ago.

In our new “Low Key” podcast, which I host with fellow nerds Aaron Lanton and Keith Dennie, we talk about when makeup is and definitely isn’t okay. (“Low Key” looks at pop culture through a racial lens, focusing on the low-key things some people might miss to discuss their deeper meanings.) You can listen on Apple or right here:



Also Read: Wakanda Over Everything: How the Fictional Country of ‘Black Panther’ Might Exist in Real Life (Bonus Podcast)

Our topics include whether one of the great strengths of “Atlanta” — absurdity — is leading to missed storytelling opportunities. And Aaron explains what it means to go full Killer Mike, and why you should never do it.

We also talk about “Pokemon” and a very questionable plan to prevent school shootings.

Kimmel impersonated Malone in makeup on Comedy Central’s “The Man Show,” which ended in 2004. In 2016, he used face-swapping technology to impersonate Malone.

Hannity asked Kimmel over the weekend if he has apologized to Malone. Kimmel replied that Malone is “a man I love dearly” and said he had a picture of himself and Malone in his office.

Hey @jimmykimmel have you apologized to Karl Malone yet? Yes or No? pic.twitter.com/G7cyniqdYX

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 6, 2018

If you like “Low Key,” be sure to check out Keith and Aaron on “Meanwhile in the Multiverse,” in which they look at real-life events from the perspective of an alternate reality to help make sense of the world in which we actually live.

And you might also like “Shoot This Now,” the podcast where Matt Donnelly and me we talk about stories that should be made into TV shows and movies.

Related stories from TheWrap:

That Time Sean Hannity Got Fired for Homophobic Comments… and Went to the ACLU for Help (Podcast)

Scott Aukerman, Lauren Lapkus and Paul F. Tompkins Tell Us Why Podcasting Is Good (and Slightly Bad) for Comedy

Wakanda Over Everything: How the Fictional Country of ‘Black Panther’ Might Exist in Real Life (Bonus Podcast)

It’s been a big month for makeup: On “Atlanta” last week, Donald Glover played a whitefaced weirdo named Teddy Perkins on “Atlanta.” And over the weekend, Sean Hannity escalated his feud with Jimmy Kimmel by calling him a “bigot” for impersonating NBA star Karl Malone in blackface, years ago.

In our new “Low Key” podcast, which I host with fellow nerds Aaron Lanton and Keith Dennie, we talk about when makeup is and definitely isn’t okay. (“Low Key” looks at pop culture through a racial lens, focusing on the low-key things some people might miss to discuss their deeper meanings.) You can listen on Apple or right here:

Our topics include whether one of the great strengths of “Atlanta” — absurdity — is leading to missed storytelling opportunities. And Aaron explains what it means to go full Killer Mike, and why you should never do it.

We also talk about “Pokemon” and a very questionable plan to prevent school shootings.

Kimmel impersonated Malone in makeup on Comedy Central’s “The Man Show,” which ended in 2004. In 2016, he used face-swapping technology to impersonate Malone.

Hannity asked Kimmel over the weekend if he has apologized to Malone. Kimmel replied that Malone is “a man I love dearly” and said he had a picture of himself and Malone in his office.

If you like “Low Key,” be sure to check out Keith and Aaron on “Meanwhile in the Multiverse,” in which they look at real-life events from the perspective of an alternate reality to help make sense of the world in which we actually live.

And you might also like “Shoot This Now,” the podcast where Matt Donnelly and me we talk about stories that should be made into TV shows and movies.

Related stories from TheWrap:

That Time Sean Hannity Got Fired for Homophobic Comments… and Went to the ACLU for Help (Podcast)

Scott Aukerman, Lauren Lapkus and Paul F. Tompkins Tell Us Why Podcasting Is Good (and Slightly Bad) for Comedy

Wakanda Over Everything: How the Fictional Country of 'Black Panther' Might Exist in Real Life (Bonus Podcast)

Gimlet Media’s Spring Slate Includes Scripted Series Toplined By Kristen Wiig & Alia Shawkat

Brooklyn-based Gimlet Media, the company behind hit podcasts such as Reply All, Homecoming, The Nod and StartUp, has set its spring slate with three new original series. They are Sandra, a scripted fiction series starring Kristen Wiig (SNL, Bridesmaids) and Alia Shawkat (Search Party, Arrested Development), simulated Mars mission docudrama The Habitat, and We Came to Win, the company’s first sports podcast.
Written by Kevin Moffett and Mathew Derby, Sandra follows Helen…

Brooklyn-based Gimlet Media, the company behind hit podcasts such as Reply All, Homecoming, The Nod and StartUp, has set its spring slate with three new original series. They are Sandra, a scripted fiction series starring Kristen Wiig (SNL, Bridesmaids) and Alia Shawkat (Search Party, Arrested Development), simulated Mars mission docudrama The Habitat, and We Came to Win, the company’s first sports podcast. Written by Kevin Moffett and Mathew Derby, Sandra follows Helen…

‘Disgraceland’: True Crime Podcast Digs Into Dangerous Side Of Rock N’ Roll & Eyes TV Future

Did Jerry Lee Lewis kill his wife and get away with murder? Was the Church of Scientology involved in the death of Jeremy Blake, the artist who produced the cover of Beck’s Sea Change album and how did Sam Cooke and Sid Vicious really die? These are all stories from the first season of Disgraceland, a true crime podcast that looks at the deviant side of rock ‘n’ roll.
The podcast, which launched last month, was created by Boston musician Jake Brennan. Here, he talks to…

Did Jerry Lee Lewis kill his wife and get away with murder? Was the Church of Scientology involved in the death of Jeremy Blake, the artist who produced the cover of Beck's Sea Change album and how did Sam Cooke and Sid Vicious really die? These are all stories from the first season of Disgraceland, a true crime podcast that looks at the deviant side of rock 'n' roll. The podcast, which launched last month, was created by Boston musician Jake Brennan. Here, he talks to…

Senator Bernie Sanders Is First Guest For Mehdi Hasan Podcast ‘Deconstructed’

Attention, Bernie Bros: former presidential challenger and Senator Bernie Sanders will be the first guest on the new podcast Deconstructed, hosted by British journalist and author Mehdi Hasan and sponsored by The Intercept news organization. Hasan will also join The Intercept’s staff as a columnist and senior contributor.
The new podcast is envisioned as unpacking the consequential news of the week and challenging the mainstream media’s takes on American and global…

Attention, Bernie Bros: former presidential challenger and Senator Bernie Sanders will be the first guest on the new podcast Deconstructed, hosted by British journalist and author Mehdi Hasan and sponsored by The Intercept news organization. Hasan will also join The Intercept’s staff as a columnist and senior contributor. The new podcast is envisioned as unpacking the consequential news of the week and challenging the mainstream media's takes on American and global…

Senator Bernie Sanders Is First Guest For Mehdi Hasan Podcast ‘Deconstructed’

Attention, Bernie Bros: former presidential challenger and Senator Bernie Sanders will be the first guest on the new podcast Deconstructed, hosted by British journalist and author Mehdi Hasan and sponsored by The Intercept news organization. Hasan will also join The Intercept’s staff as a columnist and senior contributor.
The new podcast is envisioned as unpacking the consequential news of the week and challenging the mainstream media’s takes on American and global…

Attention, Bernie Bros: former presidential challenger and Senator Bernie Sanders will be the first guest on the new podcast Deconstructed, hosted by British journalist and author Mehdi Hasan and sponsored by The Intercept news organization. Hasan will also join The Intercept’s staff as a columnist and senior contributor. The new podcast is envisioned as unpacking the consequential news of the week and challenging the mainstream media's takes on American and global…