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The voice behind Vox Media's Lakers podcast
Jas Kang is the host of this popular podcast which gives Los Angeles Lakers' fans across the planet a chance to be informed and connect in a podcast format.

Podcasts are not hipster; and yet, it's undeniable that we are all listening to the modern form of radio descended from the dominant form of entertainment early in the past century. Podcasts inform and entertain us while performing mundane tasks, exercising, or even meditating. For sports fans, they offer additional commentary and opinions. At their core, sports are about connection.

Podcasts provide the semblance of connecting one on one with an expert who is talking "directly" to the listener. American digital company Vox Media (currently valued at more than $1 billion USD) has become the preeminent voice in podcast sports broadcasting. Vox owns and operates thousands of websites dedicated to a particular team, school, or topic. Each NBA, NHL, and MLB team has their own blog site while NCAA schools have multiple websites dedicated to specific sports for diehard fans. While they also operate outside the sports realm, the company is deeply rooted in this genre from their early days. One of the most popular podcasts for Vox is the Lakers Podcast show, hosted by Jas Kang. A renowned Canadian sportscaster with an affinity and deep knowledge of hoops, Kang has cultivated a loyal following with Lakers fans for Vox Media. As a part of the new breed of personalities delivering sports insight, Jas is undeniably a combination of the sports broadcasting tradition and modern delivery.

The "30 podcast" is presented weekly and hosted by Kang. Experts and sports journalists are invited to discuss the latest happening in the Lakers world and future prospects. Past guests have included ESPN reporters/writers: Ramona Shelburne, Jorge Sedano, Kevin Arnovitz, and Brian Windhorst, as well as Arash Markazi of the LA Times. The casual tone of the show is carefully crafted by its host as he aspires to the feeling of two friends simply hanging out at a bar to talk hoops. From Jorge Sedano's energetic delivery to long-time editor of the LA Times sports section Bill Dwyre's wealth of knowledge and more "print based" pacing, each guest presents something unique while being rooted in a wealth of sports information.

Anyone under the age of sixty can attest to the fact that the podcast world has exploded in recent years. This has opened up new ways to meet and interact with fans as well as new revenue streams. For journalists like Kang, it has reinforced that both video and audio skills are highly desirable for a host (Jas is co-host of the Lakers Nation postgame show presented on Facebook Live. Lakers Nation is the biggest non-NBA basketball site in the world). The subtle differences between video and audio are quite substantial as he relates, "You have to be mindful of the difference of being seen versus not being seen. When I'm on camera, my delivery has to be done in a way that you can see the emotion on my face as well as hear it in my voice. You can see my feelings on the topic, even if you are watching it without the sound on. Audio is much more about painting a picture for the listener. Radio/audio is theatre of the mind. If I am discussing a specific play, I have to describe in detail what happened, so the listener can play it out in their mind. Understanding how 'big' to make a topic is the difference in engaging an audience and losing them." As an avid podcast listener himself, Kang presents his show with an awareness of the segmented manner in which it may be consumed as well as the conversational aspect delivered via ear buds. He notes, "It's not about having funky sound effects or overselling a story. I know people are typically doing something when listening to my podcast, so I try to make it as easy on the ears as I can. I try not to yell or be over the top, since listeners might find that too distracting. You also have to factor in being entertaining as well. Podcasts are as much about being a consumer for me as they are about creating one. Whether I am travelling, at the gym or lying in bed at night, podcasts are a great source of entertainment that I enjoy. I want my listeners to feel the same way."

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