What do you get when you put two good friends with strong Southern roots and a deep appreciation for NASCAR together in a recording studio – and add in an all-star list of guests?
You get the Marty & McGee podcast on ESPN.com, now 18 months old and going strong.
Co-hosted by Marty Smith – ESPN’s lead NASCAR reporter for SportsCenter – and Ryan McGee, senior writer for ESPN the Magazine, M&M is sometimes a mixture of humor and general silliness. Still, it can be as serious as the news of the week dictates.
The podcast has caught on and has developed a following, and the two humble co-hosts still can’t believe they’re doing it every week with a valuable assist from producer Daniel Dopp. (Note: A new show usually is available for downloads by mid-week).
“Marty and I always joked that two people [like us] are allowed to be on SportsCenter in the first place,” said McGee. “And so then the fact that they give us a chance to just tell stories – it’s a guy from middle of nowhere Virginia [Smith] and a guy from middle of nowhere North Carolina [McGee].”
For Smith, the long-form platform is important.
“One of the coolest things about it for us is the opportunity to breathe,” said Smith. “I know that sounds odd, but when you live in a world of 90-second bursts like we do on SportsCenter, I love the opportunity to cut up and really dig in deep to the fabric of sports.”
In addition to most of the top drivers in NASCAR, past guests have included country music star Eric Church, Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” and Jake Peavy of the San Francisco Giants.
The two refer to their listeners as “The 406,” a number that Smith randomly threw out in the show’s infancy when downloads weren’t strong.
“I said ‘I want to start this show by thanking the people that are here, and the people that care, and there might not be but 406 of you, but we’re passionate and all right, we’re the 406,’” Smith said. “And ever since then, that number exploded. It’s been the nuttiest thing ever.”
“I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to do it, and I know Marty is, too,” said McGee. “It’s the most fun we have, and we don’t take it for granted.”