Podcasts are having a moment. That's why, after 87.7 Cleveland's Sound transitioned to Latino programming last January, former program director Ryan Benes took to the online airwaves, where the likes of Serial and WTF with Marc Maron are booming. In November, Benes founded CLESound, a network of six weekly shows available online via iTunes and Stitcher. "The concept is rooted in what 87.7 Cleveland's Sound was, which was very hyperlocal-focused," he says. Here's what we're listening to.
The cast: WKYC producer Danielle Sills and reporter and weekend anchor Sara Shookman discuss the news — from the Ebola virus to dog medicine — with an eye on what matters to 20- and 30-somethings. In a pod: "A lot of what we do in our day jobs at Channel 3 News is great, it's important, it's good work," says Shookman. "But it's not something that appeals to young professionals like ourselves, necessarily. We wanted to make it a conversation our friends were having and add to the news value of that conversation." The gist: The pair hosted a radio show at Ohio University, so their friendly disagreements have a married-couple-with-matching-sweaters vibe.
This is Awesome Wrestling Show
The cast: Glenn Moore, a former sports writer for Northeast Ohio Media Group, hosts a podcast with comedian Steve Guy on the most American of sports: professional wrestling. In a pod: "I've been a wrestling fan since I was 13 years old, back when it was really big," says Moore, now 31. With wrestlers of his day — Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena — crossing over into mainstream entertainment, Moore wants the podcast to be a gateway for new fans. "So if you don't watch wrestling, you know who some of the big stars are." The gist: The show feels like a greased-up baptism into the cult of pro wrestling. Put on your headphones and step into the ring.
The Rickonia Show and #RAKE
The cast: Ricky Smith, philanthropy evangelist and comedian, hosts two shows — one on the movement he sparked, Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, and the other styled after his stream-of-consciousness Twitter handle @Rickonia. In a pod: "My thing is like Jackass meets Mother Teresa," he says. The #RAKE show highlights worthy deeds and causes. "For instance, I just found out about how homeless people want socks," he says. As for The Rickonia Show? "This is the Jackass part." The gist: Smith knows how to spin a yarn and make you feel good for listening. Expect tales culled from his oddball life: paying for strangers' food, dating budget-style and tons of cheesy jokes.
The Sit Down Zumock Podcast!
The cast Comedian Chad Zumock, beguiling champion of the argyle sweater vest, brings his podcast to the CLESound network with guests such as Jeopardy champ Arthur Chu and fellow joke-teller Ryan Dalton. In a pod: "I always wanted to be a fly on the wall in conversations with people that I find interesting," he says. "That's how I've always done my podcast: You're listening to these two guys have a real, candid conversation." The gist: Let Zumock be Zumock — sophomorically funny, incisive and a good talker on everything from the Cleveland Browns to arcane Jeopardy trivia.