As digital currency goes, it’s podcasts, rather than Bitcoin, whose value has continuously risen. It should come as no surprise. As internet users desired shorter, more digestible content—spurred by the proliferation and ubiquitous use of mobile phones—word counts have decreased accordingly. Longform used to mean a 3,000-word magazine profile. Now it means a 500-word blog entry.
Do I like this trend? Not necessarily; last year I wrote a 5,000-word story on the sport of luge. But I would be lying if I said that content that’s easier to consume isn’t appealing in its own way. Enter podcasts, which can be enjoyed without a word being read, or for someone to stop whatever it is they're doing. This week, I’ve listened to podcasts while dropping my son off to school, while working on this website, while eating meals and while cleaning the house. Fifteen years ago, I wanted an iPod so I could listen to music. Today, I don't have a single song downloaded onto my iPhone, but I've never listened to more audio.
And here’s the best part: podcasts, both long and short, can go deeper than most stories because of their intimacy. Even the world’s greatest writers will have a difficult time crafting a story that gets you closer to a subject than a podcast—where the subject is either right there, telling you the story themselves, or being discussed in great detail. Bill Simmons’ interviews on The Ringer Podcast Network, and Malcolm Gladwell’s reporting on Revisionist History, are fine examples of this. Brief podcasts have their place, too. Consider how much information you’ll receive in a well-done, 20-minute recording than you would if given 20 minutes to read. Morning listeners of The Daily, from the New York Times, are likely nodding their heads in agreement.
This isn’t to say that the written word is obsolete, or that all podcasts are as informative and engaging as those I’ve mentioned. More than anything, I find podcasts to be great complements to other content—whether online, on air or in print—and vice versa. One begets the other, allowing for an immersive experience with a topic through a variety of mediums.
Which is why I’m using these words to introduce you to the Tennis Channel Podcast Network, something I never could have imagined when I began hosting a podcast nearly a decade ago. But maybe I should have heard it coming.
What I can tell you with certainty is that our website’s podcast is the best it’s ever been, with editor Nina Pantic and WTA player Irina Falconi giving their inside perspectives of the sport and speaking with some of the game’s most important players and minds. I don’t think it’s an accident that Pantic’s assumption of the TENNIS.com Podcast coincides with the creation of our new podcast network.
But, hey, maybe you disagree with me, and you prefer another tennis podcast. Well, the Tennis Channel Podcast Network has plenty of others to choose from. Want to hear from an ATP player? The Coffee Cast, with Noah Rubin and Mike Cation, may be just for you. Mehrban Iranshad, a former Division I college tennis player and present-day attorney, discusses how you can improve your game on The Tennis Files. And like a pair of seasoned all-courters, Alex Gruskin and Max Rothman tackle the game from a variety of angles on The Mini-Break, Great Shot Podcast and Cracked Interviews.
If you're looking for something specific to this year's US Open, Steve Weissman delivered two preview podcasts from New York City; if you're looking for a listen you can count on no matter where the tours go, the Tennis Channel Live Podcast features top analysts, experts and former players discussing the latest happenings. And more feeds are on their way.
sounds the cover of the latest issue of Variety, which chronicles the transformation of “the niche medium” into a digital essential. Podcasts have been just that in my life, both for sports I watch all the time, like hockey (31 Thoughts) and college football (The Audible), and for sports I’ve come to understand on a deeper level almost entirely through my ears: basketball (The Lowe Post) and, yes, even wrestling (Cheap Heat).
Whether you’re a diehard tennis fan or just curious about the sport, I’m certain you’ll find at least one podcast—if not three or four—on the Tennis Channel Podcast Network that hits your sweet spot.
Wake up every morning with Tennis Channel Live at the US Open, starting at 8 a.m. ET. For three hours leading up to the start of play, Tennis Channel's team will break down upcoming matches, review tournament storylines and focus on everything Flushing Meadows.
Tennis Channel's encore, all-night match coverage will begin every evening at 11 p.m. ET, with the exception of earlier starts on Saturday and Sunday of championship weekend.