13.7.08

A Blogging Tradition: Not Covering the News, But Covering the Coverage of the (Boxing) News

Uatu may be all-seeing, and sometimes all-knowing as evidenced but his prediction record, but even he gets bored waiting for and riding trains. So his daily routine involves loading his iPod with various ESPN podcasts to pass the time. And to his pleasant surprise, he stumbled upon the "ESPN: Heavy Hitting Boxing Podcast." So Uatu decided to download 7/10 -" Kieran Mulvaney previews Wladimir Klitschko's heavyweight title defense against Tony "The Tiger" Thompson" and 7/7 = "Sixty-one seconds is all it took for Kendall Holt to beat Ricardo Torres on Saturday, but he didn't have it all his own way. Kieran Mulvaney reports." to listen to while doing some exercising and train riding. Here are some thoughts:

The good news:

1. The podcast exists at all! Any piece of boxing coverage, especially from the mainstream heavy hitters, is a welcome addition. It's very exciting for ESPN to regularly cover boxing and to see it embrace new media outlets.

2. It looks to be a very regular podcast. There are listings for 7/10, 7/7, and 7/2 already just for July.

3. ESPN picked a badass insider like Kieran Mulvaney to do the podcast. Uatu appreciates greatly the fact that they didn't use one of their know-nothing talking heads from ESPNews to just recite the results of the week. It's not entirely their fault, since ESPN puts them into the position of weakness, but it is downright embarrassing to listen to some of those guys and gals interview fighters and reporters on ESPNews. Please, do at least the minimum amount of homework. Mulvaney is one of the stars of ESPN "Fight Credential" and shines there regularly. So kudos to ESPN on selecting him. It is not clear if only Mulvaney does this podcast, but looking down the list available on iTunes, his name appears on every one. Dan Rafael would be awesome too.

4. It's free!

The bad news:

1. The podcast is ridiculously short! It is pathetically short. We are talking sometimes under two and a half minutes! Uatu does not know all the costs and distribution channels involved, but ESPN regularly has daily podcasts of 20+ minutes, and Bill Simmons has them for over an hour sometimes. Mulvaney can't even get ten minutes! A disgrace.

2. This is surely a product of point 1, but the coverage is shallow. Mulvaney does not have the time to go in-depth about anything. He has no chance to cover any new ground, because he barely has the chance to cover any ground. His coverage is good, but if you follow the fights themselves, MaxBoxing, ESPN.com, Boxingtalk, FightNews, hell, even BoxingWatchers, you will already know everything that Mulvaney talks about and then some. The coverage will be great for those who aren't diehards, but for people who follow closely, maybe not so much. But will anyone who is not a diehard even find this podcast and listen to it to begin with? Mulvaney goes to a lot of fights, has ESPN behind him, and has the types of contacts that people like the BoxingWatchers lack. So it makes the most sense for ESPN to leverage that and get some interviews or features on this podcast.

Some two-cent advice:

1. Longer podcasts.
2. Mulvaney interviews some personalities and does some features. Rafael joins.

Bottom line:

It's a welcome addition to the podcast world and Mulvaney is great. It pales in comparison to the vastly superior "The Next Round" on MaxBoxing, which is the greatest boxing coverage of any kind including the web, podcasts, tv, radio, whatever. So check that out, but check out the ESPN Heavy Hitting Boxing Podcast too and hopefully it gets even better.

3 comments:

Kieran Mulvaney said...

Many thanks for reviewing my podcast. Much appreciated, and I'm glad to see you're happy with at least some elements of it. As for the length: We did make a conscious decision to make it short but sweet, but we're not at all averse to including more as things develop. This particular podcast is on a shoestring budget: It's basically me at home chatting into a microphone. We did try incorporating phone interviews with fighters prior to bouts but the quality wasn't very good. It is something we may revisit. We do also hope to expand multimedia coverage in general for boxing, but the podcast as it stands is kind of our foot in the door, so to speak. I hope it is just a start. Feedback is really helpful and useful, and we are more than open to incorporating suggestions as they come up. Many thanks, Kieran Mulvaney

uatu said...

Your podcast is definitely going to be can't miss from here on out. The 7/14 has already been downloaded and listened to, and it's closer to a column or feature format than just a preview or result show, which is great. In addition, from your comments here it's obvious that the advice given by us is not anything that you didn't already know and consider, which is great too. Hopefully the podcast will get even better with time.

Kieran Mulvaney said...

Thank you. I think one thing I can take from your observations, which I am happy to implement immediately, is that, even with brevity, the podcasts will be of more use and interest if they are more opinionated - or, when I am in Vegas, providing direct reportage of the kind that is not so easily found. I'll try to do that with far greater frequency henceforth. Thanks again.