Features 21 Mar 2013

The US Report: 11

PulpMX's Steve Matthes checks in direct from the US every Thursday, presented by Fox.

I’m a fan of all sports (besides the obvious one of motocross) over here, football, hockey, baseball and a little bit of basketball. And with that passion for sports comes a commitment to gain knowledge about the teams and players. So that led me to podcasts and sports talk radio shows about said sports. And to be honest, a lot of that stuff has taken up my main listening hours.

What used to be music for 100% of my time in a car or while I’m working has now turned into 70% podcasts, sports talk radio or perhaps a book on tape here and there. The amount of time I spend on airplanes is pretty high so there’s plenty of time for me to get new info about the sports I love.

It struck me a few years ago, why isn’t there anything like this for motocross? As a passionate fan of the sports history and lucky enough to make my living covering the sport today, I always wanted to hear the stories of my childhood heroes.

Remember, with no internet and the media coverage probably a third of what it is today (and I’m probably being kind at that), there wasn’t much information back then on what went down back in the day. And my job now allowed me to strike up conversations with these old heroes whenever I saw them. And the stories I heard made me think about how there are all these people out there that would die to hear these tales.

Steve Matthes' podcasts are always filled with interesting content with a range of riders and industry insiders.

Steve Matthes’ podcasts are always filled with interesting content with a range of riders and industry insiders.

So with no one doing anything about capturing these stories in podcast form, that’s what I set out to do in 2008. My first set-up was a laptop and about $140 bucks in equipment (including the $90 software recording program for said laptop). And my first ever podcast (after a whole bunch of frustrating tries to try and get it to sound good) was Chad Reed. After all he was a present star, I knew him well and it was a good test. And from there, I created a cottage industry of podcasts.

They went over well, word spread around about these podcasts and I got busy calling the heroes of the sport. Jeff Ward, Broc Glover, Ron Lechien, Jeff Stanton, Jean Michel Bayle, Damon Bradshaw- you name it and I was on the horn with them with a ton of questions about their great careers. Of course I did the present riders as well. I even called Jeff Leisk in Australia and Dave Thorpe in England- there wasn’t anything going to stop me!

There were some glitches along the way, like when my laptop battery died on me in the middle of a David Bailey podcast (I couldn’t find the wall charger and severely underestimated the laptop’s battery life) or the time that I accidently erased the first 30 minutes of JMB’s podcast and had to ask him sheepishly if we could do it over.

Smashcut to 2013, I have a catalog of over 200 podcasts on iTunes with a ton of old and new riders, industry people, bench racers, I had a contest for a listener to win a podcast with me, heck, a fan even did one on me and my career as a mechanic! I love talking to the old guys about the old stories, rivalries and behind the scenes things that went on back in the day. And these guys being retired they don’t care about keeping any secrets.

The PulpMX setup has grown over the years to quite a technical audio setup.

The PulpMX setup has grown over the years to quite a technical audio setup.

I recently did one that stretched almost two hours with Rick Johnson who really was the last guy on my bucket list of superstars. I still do a lot of these old guy podcasts but I’ve switched the focus to wrapping up the just completed supercrosses and national races with Racer X’s Jason Weigandt, David Pingree and Jason Thomas. It’s a fun little three-way conversation talking about what went down on the weekend. And each podcast gets around 10,000 listeners when it’s all said and done.

I’m amazed when I print out the reports every now and then that the old podcasts are still downloaded and listened to. It seems that people are discovering them for the first time years later and that’s a cool feeling. That’s what they’re there for!

At some point, I thought a live call in show with guests would be a good idea and the Pulpmx Show was created. It was more of a sports talk radio station feel to it and we took calls from fans. And I created drama with my old co-host Kenny Watson to get people to talk about these two guys arguing with different opinions of the sport. And then there were the times where I didn’t need to create anything as Watson was just that upset at me.

Through my first co-host in Paul Lindsey to Watson to now where we rotate people in and out, the Pulpmx Show has grown to become bigger than I ever thought it could be. I can’t believe the reach and power it has and we’re always trying to make it bigger and better.

From that first $140 equipment purchase, I’m on about my third or fourth set-up and the price is somewhere around 7K now to handle the phone calls but it’s all in the name of having good quality audio and being able to let the fans call in.
And it all started because I just wanted to hear some of my heroes tell their story – It’s been a hell of a ride so far.

(You can find the Pulpmx Show, The Steve Matthes Show and The Steve Matthes Classics all on iTunes or buy the Pulpmx App to listen to these shows)