I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I’ve always had a complaint: There aren’t enough good ones about sports. Most of the sports podcasts that have met my ear are interview style, and deal mainly with current events surrounding one team or one league. In effect, they’re largely indistinguishable from better-than-average sports talk radio.
I yearn for something meatier. So my interest was piqued recently by the arrival of “GameBreaker with Keith Olbermann,” an Audible Original series that makes its public debut today. Audible, which is owned by Amazon and started as a producer of audiobooks, has branched out into podcasts, and the company is doing some interesting work.
I listened to six of the 10 GameBreaker episodes, and I liked them a lot. These are layered, audio magazine-style features, and there is depth and creativity in the subjects. Here’s the audio trailer, if you want to get a sense of what they’re doing.
One bit of relief: Olbermann, the veteran of ESPN and MSNBC, does not narrate the episodes. He merely provides a brief introduction of each topic. His voice, too iconic at this point, would have been a distraction.
The centerpiece of the series is a three-episode dive into the rape case involving members of the Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team in 2012. I followed that case with interest, partly because I have a colleague who grew up in Steubenville and played football there.
I listened to GameBreaker’s Stuebenville treatment with trepidation, ready to pause the pod and turn to something else, because I had no desire to hear (again) of the terrible things that happened to that young woman. I was happily surprised. The GameBreaker episodes spend scant time recapping the crimes. Instead, they focus on everything that came after – the prosecutor’s investigation, the people who became outraged at what they perceived as a cover-up, the involvement of hackers aligned with the group Anonymous, and how the city of Steubenville wound up besieged and divided by the incident.
It’s fascinating, and it challenged my assumptions. I came away thinking differently about Anonymous’ doxing efforts in Steubenville, and about vigilantism in general.
Do you podcast? I’d like to know what you think about GameBreaker.