Untitled Wrestling Blog: B+ Player Radio
Written by Mark Adam Haggerty
When I was a kid my dad was always taking me to local sports events. He knew I didn’t like baseball or basketball or football or hockey, but he got the tickets for free from work and we went anyway. I didn’t mind going to the games because my dad was—not to sound like a suburban white kid—my hero in a lot of ways. I also knew that, unless it was an ultra-important event, he wouldn’t mind leaving before the end to “avoid traffic.” Whenever we did leave early, he’d flip on the local sports radio station to hear the rest of the game on the way home, and it always made me think: why isn’t there a wrestling radio station like that? At 8 or 9 years old I fantasized about a pro wrestling radio show that recapped events I couldn’t—or at that age, wasn’t allowed to—watch. Little did I realize that some twenty years later there’d be these things called “podcasts” that literally anyone could produce. Talk about getting more than you bargained for.
My name is Mark Adam Haggerty and this is the “Untitled Wrestling Blog” presented by BodySlam.net. Each week, or every two weeks, or once a month—whatever the case may be—I’m bringing you another chapter in the story of my career. Last week I talked about The Dynasty and how an impromptu trip to Upstate New York led to one of the most pivotal tent pole moments of my career. If you haven’t read that, or any of the previous chapters, I invite you to do so by clicking HERE.
Chapter Four – B+ Player Radio
In the autumn of 2014 I was still living in Long Beach California where I worked as press secretary to a locally-based state politician. I had my evening ritual down to a science: I’d get home and feed my cats, I’d smoke a little weed, I’d pound no fewer than two beers while standing in front of my refrigerator considering suicide, and then I’d scroll through my phone to get the latest breaking wrestling news. It was a pretty dark time for me, both personally and professionally; I was at the tail-end of a life-alteringly abusive relationship while simultaneously telling lies for other people for a living. But pro wrestling proved to be a sufficient enough distraction, the same way it had been back when I was a kid.
One night while visiting one of my favorite ‘dirt sheets’ I saw an advertisement looking for contributors and I responded soon thereafter. One thing led to another and I started writing for a number of different sites including Cheap-Heat, Daily Wrestling News, Lords of Pain, TWNP News, Wrestling INC., and several more. I had a ton of responsibilities that woke me up early in the AM and kept me awake all through the night. Whenever any kind of news would break, I’d get a message from my boss who would send me a link to something he just wrote. I’d copy his article verbatim and post it to some dozen other websites that he was getting paid for. I’d get paid based off his salary, plus bonuses for extra submissions including lists, reviews, op-eds, or whatever else I could come up with that could then be plastered with advertisements.
Mondays, Tuesdays and the occasional Sunday were always the worst as I was expected to sit by my computer and type move-by-move play-by-play for everything from RAW to Smackdown to pay-per-view events. I know it sounds like I’m complaining but this was—at the time, at least—a dream come true. I was writing about something I cared about for once, and getting paid to do it. It was around this time my editor at Cheap-Heat—now owner of BodySlam.net, Cassidy Haynes—suggested I give podcasting a shot. I was hesitant, insisting that everyone had a podcast and very few of them were any good. I put the idea out of my mind for a few months until Christmas of that year when I visited some friends here on the east coast. At the time I lived in California, my buddy Dario lived in Florida, and our pal Gary lived in New Jersey. We were all wrestling fans that had grown up together and the idea of chatting about wrestling once a week, with an audience or not, seemed like too much fun to pass up.
I returned to Long Beach, Dario went back to Tampa, and Gary—well, Gary stayed where he was because we were visiting him. A week or so later, we—along with our friend Matt—jumped on Skype for the inaugural episode of B+ Player Radio, then titled “The B+ Player Podcast.” The first episode was unintelligible, which I guess is usually the case when first time podcasters try podcasting for the first time. And, as I mentioned in the prologue, I wasn’t aware of how to produce a podcast. I had never so much as opened Garage Band or any of the recording software on my computer so the first half dozen shows featured a lot of trial and error.
As noted, B+ Player Radio began as a standalone podcast with four friends shooting the shit about wrestling on a weekly basis. But the more we learned how to podcast, the more fun we had and the larger our audience became. Dario and I started producing a show called the “Outsiders’ Edge” which became the flagship program by retroactively absorbing the original B+ Player Podcast as other shows were added and it became a ‘Network.’ Gary and I started—and completed—a WrestleMania retrospective called “BroCase of the Immortals” with special guests from the world of wrestling, comedy, television, and music. We welcomed our childhood friend James to the team and he introduced “It’s Still REEL to Me,” a podcast reviewing movies featuring professional wrestlers. He and I also started—and are still in the midst of—a show called “LIVE! From Hollywood Alabama” where we review every single episode of Wrestling Society X in excruciating detail.
In 2016 I moved to New Jersey and the network began expanding due to my now immediate proximity to some of the people I started working with via social media. Shawn Donavan—who recently debuted on Impact Wrestling—was frequently featured on B+ Player Radio on shows like “BroCase of the Immortals” and the “Outsiders’ Edge.” When I moved to New Jersey I started producing a weekly interview show with Shawn called “Ravishing Reminders.” I also began working with Damian Gibbs, Beefcake Charlie, Mike Del, and Jay Enterprise—collectively known as the Aesthetic Males—on their podcast entitled “The Aesthetic Perspective.” My crowning achievement up until that point however was working with local promoter and wrestler Pat Buck on both his show, “The Pat Buck Show,” as well as his side project with former WWE Superstar Ryback.
Working with Pat and learning from him, even via our brief messenger correspondence, was invaluable as it led to countless other relationships that helped me parlay my podcasting talents into an actual career in professional wrestling. Even after I finished producing Pat’s podcasts, he still had enough faith in me to recommend me to other talents looking to get programs off the ground, most notably Pepper Parks and Andy Williams. I’m not sure Pat realized then—or even knows now—how his trust in what I could do helped get me over a serious psychological hurdle that was keeping me from pursuing my goals for a very long time.
Back in chapter one I detailed how I went from podcaster to announcer, but I never had any intention of pulling back on producing audio. Primarily because my sponsors—AudibleTrial.com/BPlusPlayers and FrameGenie.com—help me pay my bills, but also because there were other people on my network looking for the same opportunity I received and I wasn’t going to deprive them of that platform. In fact I was going to keep expanding. I recruited standup comedian Patrick Bean for a show called “The Wrestling Machine” focusing on lesser-remembered wrestlers from yesteryear. I brought “The Gent” Jimmy Konway onto the network for a brief stint. Shawn Donavan ended “Ravishing Reminders” and debuted “A Genuine Taste of Wrestling.” Lance Madewell premiered a 1990s Pop Culture retrospective called “The 90s Nut.”
As my career on the road began to take precedent over my role as the executive producer of B+ Player Radio, I found myself on the other end of podcast interviews for the first time. Instead of me asking the questions, I was the topic of conversation for the first time in my life. I appeared on Wrestling IQ 101, The High Spot Podcast, The American Sports Connection, and A Shot of Wrestling and developed a creative rapport with each host thereof, and invited them all to join B+ Player Radio. My theory, then and now, is something related to strength in numbers and I think I’ve proven that over the past four years with B+ Player Radio now producing a minimum of six FREE podcasts every single week.
B+ Player Radio has produced 28 different programs totaling 1,900 hours across 750 episodes since debuting during the final week of 2014. In addition to podcasts I’ve already mentioned, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge The Ken Reedy Show, Eric Jayden’s Love Hotline, Survivor Theories, A Drink with Gino, D-Struction 101, Adventures with the Trendsetter, The 4th Wall, Twenty Count, The Primetime Podcast, and Round the Water Cooler—most of which are still being produced with new episodes being added to our stream regularly. The future of B+ Player Radio is unclear but it most certainly involves greater expansion along alternate avenues. Our most recent acquisition was “The 90s Nut” with Lance Madewell, signaling my sincerest intention of growing beyond professional wrestling and encompassing pop culture as a larger medium. B+ Player Radio is also producing video over on our YouTube Channel, including my weekly vlog as well as back episodes of BBWF Primetime. So while the future is far from certain, I can rest well knowing it’s all in the hands of people I trust and believe in. And that’s pretty awesome considering I started this network against my will.
For those of you who’ve not yet subscribed to B+ Player Radio, our entire back catalog is available on iTunes, TuneIn Radio, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or wherever you get your hands—or ears—on podcasts. And finally a note to any podcasters who might be reading this: as discouraging as this shit might seem sometimes, there’s a reason you started producing your own show. Keep at it, keep learning, keep perfecting your craft because there’s literally no telling where it might lead at some point down the line. And to anybody out there who’d like to interview me on their podcast, my DM’s are always open. No matter how big or small your show or audience might be, we all have to start somewhere and I’m happy to lend a hand whenever possible.
Next week’s edition of the “Untitled Wrestling Blog” focuses on one of the most stressful weekends of my young career thus far. Let me set the stage—Robbie E and myself have back to back shows with World of Hurt Wrestling in Whitehall New York, but Robbie’s also booked for a convention in Syracuse. No problem, right? Well, it wouldn’t be a problem so long as I checked my oil once in the previous six months. Unfortunately I did not and absolute insanity ensued featuring the likes of Tugboat, Sgt. Slaughter, Danny Davis, and a late night comic con club night you won’t want to miss.
Until then, please follow me throughout social media on Twitter and Instagram @MarkAHaggerty. Follow B+ Player Radio @BPlusRadio and follow this blog @UntitledWBlog. Thank you as always to Bodyslam.net for giving me this platform. Don’t forget to check them out @BodySlamDotNet and remember! I’ve got brand new t-shirts on sale right now over at ProWrestlingTees.com/Haggerty! And breaking news, a percentage of all proceeds collected from the month of November will go to benefit an LGBTQ charity working to save transgender rights. If that shit’s not important to you… well, fuck off, but still buy a shirt. MAH
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