Extended▶: Pop Culture Podcasting with Chris Watts

Christopher Watts
May 29 · 7 min read
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ExtendedPlay (EP) is Drake Cooper’s reverb series featuring staff, their side hustles, and the talent they use to keep the creative juices flowing.

It’s Tuesday evening. Well, it might not be Tuesday when you’re reading this, but this isn’t about you, it’s about me, and for the purposes of this blog, it’s Tuesday evening. It’s almost 7 o’clock, and I sink back into an oversized, mid-century, dull-orange chair that was my great grandmother’s. She used it as her knitting chair, or at least that’s what they tell me. See, here’s the chair….

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The oversized, mid-century, dull-orange chair.

Now, my “side hustle” has nothing to do with chairs, but when you find a good chair, the kind you really would miss if it were gone, it deserves to be called out. So anyway, it’s 7 o’clock, and I’m in that chair. I pop open my laptop and plug in a bulky, silver Yeti microphone. It has two buttons and three dials. I don’t know what any of them do. All I know is that when I talk into it, my voice sounds buttery smooth, and I really like that.

Next comes the fun part. I make a phone call. After a couple of rings, my friend Brad picks up on the other end. His name isn’t my friend Brad. He has a full name. It’s Brad Baxter, but his real name is actually Brad Philips (that’s a long and unimportant story). This is him…

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My friend Brad a.k.a. Brad Baxter a.k.a. Brad Philips.

I met Brad in 2013 when he got hired to work with me at a little mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant in Boise called P.F. Chang’s. You’ve probably never heard of it. I’d spent a good share of my life pretty deeply invested in both nerd culture and pop culture. As it turned out, Brad was too. We’d spend hours talking about Marvel, DC, Star Wars, The Simpsons, Disney (you get the picture). It was fun. Those interests and obsessions had been a huge part of my personality since my father would sit me down in front of his old box of comics and tell me all the stories he knew like they were folktales being told around a fire. I was hooked, and I’d remained hooked. That said, it was something I spent most of my life keeping to myself. I figured, how could you be cool in high school with 43 mint condition Marvel Legends Action figures hanging on your walls? So finding Brad was instrumental in finally letting me bring those interests to the surface and realize it was ok to enjoy the things I enjoyed. The creativity that made me want to be more creative.

Then…the unthinkable! In 2017, Brad moved to the Big Apple (that’s New York City by the way. I think only the real die-hards call it the Big Apple). So off Brad went, but even though he was gone, we still needed to talk about all the stuff we just loved talking about. So we set up a weekly phone call where we would just unleash the inner nerd for two or so hours. Then, during one of our normal phone calls, we concluded that if we were going to be talking about all this pop culture stuff, we might as well record it and see if anyone else would like to listen to it.

G-Splash was born!

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I know what you might be asking yourself, “G-Splash? Is that some kind of sex thing?” The short answer is no. The long answer is probably, but that’s not how we use it. The actual name is “GutterSplash,” and it’s highly possible you’re even more confused than before. Quick lesson. When you crack open a comic book, each page is made up of a collection of panels. The very small white area around the outside of the page and sometimes between panels is called the gutter. Splash, on the other hand, comes from hitting a deep shot in basketball or just making some noise. Put them together, and what you got? The dopest podcast in the world.

The formula is simple; we kick every episode off with five pop culture news stories you need to know about, and then we dive into our main topic. The main topics can be anything, and I mean anything. 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: Episode IV. Top 5 Simpsons Episodes of All Time. Best Theme Park Halloween Decor. We get in…to…it.

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A selection of tiles from our Instagram that highlight our chosen topics.

Recently, we’ve added another weapon to our arsenal. The fabled Instagram Live. Now, during our normal recording session, we also go live on Instagram. It’s been a fun way to connect with fans and get questions and input in real-time, but more than that, it’s been a really cool way for Brad and me to interact face-to-face.

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And now we’re back to Tuesday night. Sitting in the dull-orange chair, talking to my friend, and recording our out-loud thoughts. It’s been like this almost every Tuesday for the past three years. As I’m writing this blog, we are preparing to record our 127th episode of the main show (we have other side shows that all fall under the G-Splash brand, and they are definitely worth checking out). While it’s hard to track total listens across multiple platforms, we have been able to track download per episode numbers, and we’ve been lucky only to see that number grow over the past year (2019–2020).

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Here are some numbers.

But we didn’t get into any of this for the numbers or the iota of potential fame. Our intention was to create a podcast that combined the things we love with the things other people love and to not get so lost in the niche that we’re inaccessible to the people out there who love nerdy stuff, but don’t want to be overwhelming in the minutia of the culture (have you ever been on a hyper-specific pop culture Reddit thread? Yikes.) We wanted to build something that didn’t feel perfect or overly polished. Something authentic and real. Something that felt like you were eavesdropping on a conversation between two friends who live 2,000 miles away from each other. And if during that eavesdropping session you wanted to laugh along with us or put your two cents in a comment or email, we were there to talk about it and dive deep.

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Two buds on the way to see Avengers: Endgame. I’m the one on the right. Duh.

It’s all been a good lesson in how creativity truly does come from passion and how that passion generates energy. If you can build good energy and then expel it out into the universe in a fun authentic way, you’ve hit gold. We may not ever get another listen, but each week we have that good energy and fun times locked and loaded. The experience also opened doors for us that we never even thought about trying to open. For example, in October of 2019, we were invited to New York Comic Con with full press credentials and access. We ended up sitting front row in panels and screenings we would never have had access to before. All because we just loved talking about stuff like “Would Wolverine win a fight against Batman?” (he wouldn’t by the way, but that’s not the point).

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We’ve been guests on other podcasts, we helped launch a social conversation app called SAY by being featured promoters, and we’ve even pitched a reality show to a few networks (TNT hit me up if you’re reading this). It’s been a crazy ride to go along with an awesome friendship. Now enough of me…narrating… your ear off, check out our latest episode here, and we’ll talk your ear off.

G-Splash is currently available wherever you get your podcasts. Find past episodes and new weekly episodes on gsplashpodcast.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Sticher, and more.

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Chris Watts
Chris got started at Drake Cooper late in 2014. Initially working primarily on the accounts side, he acquired a deeper understanding of the complex business mechanics of the advertising world. While managing projects for clients, Chris’s creative itch broke out and started to spread. With no cream for that sort of itch, he put his English Writing degree to use and has been writing copy and creatively contributing to projects all across the agency since 2017.

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