Review of podcasts: Cyclingnews

A lot of views were aired about the Cyclingnews podcast in this comments section under my post about the Guardian podcast. In summary: could and should do much better.

This podcast offers good insights and news about the pro scene. However it focuses only on pro news, and since most other podcasts cover this too, the big let-down is that with the journalistic access I assume they have, that these insights don’t go deeper. Cyclingnews should be trumping most other podcasts for news, interviews and inside scoops.

At 30-40 minutes the podcast is a nice length but could allow itself to be a little longer. One big failing of many podcasts is padding a show out to an hour and a half or more with interviews. In Cyclingnews’ case this would not be a problem– with their contact book they should be able to bring fans really close to pro riders, DSs, mechanics or even soigneurs. A case in point – Daniel Benson spent a week on the Garmin Transitions training camp and didn’t come back with any audio to share with us! Perhaps they are keeping it all for website articles, but then again I’m not sure he’d be the best interviewer. (sorry)

I spoke to Richard Moore last year and told him I enjoyed the banter on the Cyclingnews Tour de France shows. At times you could tell they were recording it in a noisy café or parked car, but that didn’t matter. Richard was surprised — he said they’d thought about toning down the combative style. But for me, the interaction of personalities, Richard taking the ‘extreme’ viewpoint at times, and the light hearted ribbing of Daniel Friebe made for great listening. The Cyclingnews podcast is normally lacking in this department, although it came through a little in the most recent show during the discussion about blood values. Daniel Benson tweeted that there are more of these shows to come, which I will look forward to.

The presentation is a bit of a problem though. At times Daniel Benson and Jeff Jones sound as if it’s a bit of a chore to do the podcast. Once they get going it can be very good, getting into the nitty-gritty of pro racers form, race tactics and peloton personalities. But at other times it can come across as stumbling and the humour can let it down- it’s more between the presenters than for the listeners. The humour bar is set pretty high by the Johns, Velocast and now Matt & Ned. Another point- I’ve said elsewhere that I don’t mind podcasts being rough around the edges, but Cyclingnews is a marquee publisher and I think my expectations are actually for something a little more polished.

My suspicion that Benson & Jones are best as print/web journalists and not as broadcast journalists. The Real Peloton has burst onto the scene and proved how engaging two TV presenters can be.

Last thing- while we have seen the Johns set the benchmark for listener interaction, and the Velocast and RealPeloton rapidly evolve, trying new things, the Cyclingews podcast does remain quite a static format. A few listener emails or a bit more tweeting wouldn’t go amiss. I guess Bikeradar is a pretty thriving community, so they’ve got that angle covered.

In summary
Bring us some interviews and don’t save all the good stuff for the website
Try to sound a bit more exciting…

Cyclingnews podcast
On iTunes