With help from the Pod, four friends made the most of daily debates over sports
Shortly after they met their freshman year, Andrew Owusu, Osahon Ogbebor, Adam Ward and Gavin Broome found themselves arguing daily as they ate lunch at Nelson Dining Hall. The debates were relentless and always about the same subject: sports.
One day, Ogbebor, a biological sciences pre-med major from Dayton, suggested that they turn their daily arguments into a podcast.
“He said people would like to see this,” recalled Ward, a sophomore journalism major. “We do make some good points. And we never really did anything with it, but then we had another argument and I said, ‘You know what? We might as well put some effort into it to make something positive.’”
The group reserved a time slot in the Pod, a studio dedicated to podcasting in the lobby of the Schoonover Center for Communication. Students with a major in the Scripps College of Communication can access the studio free of charge during all hours the building is open. As Ward can attest, there is no experience necessary.
“I remember signing in to the desktop and not really knowing what to do… like, literally having no clue what I was going to record it on or how I would get the recording or anything,” Ward said. “I remember asking one of the students at the front desk. You learn more as you start to do it over and over again. As far as getting set up, that was probably the only learning curve, but he definitely helped.”
The friends had first met as part of the LINKS program during their freshman year, where they made plans to play basketball together. Those plans evolved into the daily lunch debates.
They chose the name "Pushing Podcast" after a track by Gunna and Young Thug.
“We wanted something that encapsulates the culture as well as our message,” Ward said. “We felt like above all else we wanted to push our platform and push our podcast regardless of the name.”
That ambition played out soon after they published their first episode, when one of the clips Ward posted to their Tik Tok account racked up 10,000 views.
“When we saw that, it motivated us to take it seriously and learn how to do stuff, put in time with it and then really focus on what we were going to do going forward,” Ward said. “So we did hit the ground running.”
The group identified the topics that generated the most engagement from their expanding audience. Ward said they discovered their clips were especially well-received when they challenged “widely accepted narratives” about athletes and the sports industry.
“That’s where we get the best content,” he said. “Those are the best arguments, when we do challenge things that people just widely accept as true.”
One of their most successful clips addresses the legendary NBA player Magic Johnson and questions whether he really is the best point guard of all time. The segment has nearly 35,000 views on TikTok.
While the podcast’s popularity is gratifying, the friends agree that getting to spend time together is one of the best parts of the experience. Broome has since transferred schools, but continues to participate remotely.
“Doing the podcast for me has been a really good way to get away from school work and just talk to my friends about the sports we love,” said Owusu, an exercise physiology (pre-physical therapy) major from Columbus.
An aspiring sports journalist, Ward said he has learned valuable skills, including balancing the competing priorities of coursework and the podcast.
“I learned how to not only work on your craft but be consistent with it, how to work with deadlines,” he said. “I would also just say learning how to showcase your opinions and use your voice, because a lot of people don't necessarily know how to share their opinions, or they might be afraid to share them with the world.”
Ward said he would encourage other students to start a podcast of their own.
“You should absolutely take advantage of the podcasting studio that Scripps offers,” he said. “That equipment may be expensive to get on your own, or hard to access anywhere else. The fact that it's so easy to just walk in and tell them what you're about and they'll sign you right up, and then you show up at your time and record. That's really something that you shouldn't miss out on.”