by Christian Duque
On the street it is said that 7x Mr. Olympia Phil Heath wants to spread out on the airwaves and bring out his own podcast series. For my part, it’s a fantastic idea. If you stop thinking about it, why are you listening to a podcast? I’m serious? Wonder why you hear Joe Rogan, Howard Stern, Chuck Zito, or the late great Imus. The reason people listen to podcasts and other radio formats is because they like what the presenter is about. Listeners also like the variety of guests, topics discussed, and the consistency of a program that stands for something. However, the end result will depend on the prospects of the host (s).
Our life experiences shape our view of the world. Anyone who really loves bodybuilding, from building an aesthetic body to PR to making big hits – on and off the stage – would love a Phil Heath series. Whether you’re a fan or have been blocked by it (like me), you can’t deny that Heath knows this sport, how the industry works, and that he has his finger on the pulse of the industry. These are very important elements that only enhance what Heath brings to the table. Besides, it really is his time. Kai Greene ventured out and done all of this at least a decade ago, as did Victor Martinez and several others. That’s not to say Phil is copying anyone because most of these guys have long since given up on these various projects. If anything, Heath could be spearheading a resurgence, a renaissance if you will, of bodybuilding podcasts. I know everyone misses Pro Bodybuilding Weekly and none of the shows that are out now compare you. On the other hand, this podcast may not be a bodybuilding podcast. Why limit yourself to one sport or one scene from the start? If not bodybuilding, then what? Could this program go mainstream, and if so, does it help or hinder the chances of a comeback?
For many of us in sport, whether the media, fans or competitors, we often limit ourselves drastically to what we talk about and where we interact. I think the worst thing you can do when creating content is pigeonhole yourself. While huge expos like The Arnold, FIBO, Bodypower, and others may seem larger than life, there is so much more in the sports world where broader content could work really well.
Phil Heath is the one guy who played college basketball, went to a big university, and has great business acumen. Most muscle building programs don’t talk about economics, interest rates, or good investments. I could see Phil talking about these areas because he has life experience in this area and knows it like the back of his hand. Again, the best radio presenters are the ones who know what they’re talking about and can do the 30, 60, or 90 minutes in the blink of an eye. Usually guests or a specific news topic can be discussed, but ultimately it comes down to passion and familiarity. I know Phil can fly solo with no problem, but what if it’s not a one-man act?
Right, what if Phil had a co-host? Some of the best programs are a combination of 2 or more co-hosts. Check out what Howard Stern does to Robin Quivers – or – what Dan Solomon did to Bob Cicherillo. Other shows, like Heavy Muscle Radio, can have Palumbo and Aceto or Palumbo and Romano. Having 2 or more presenters improves the show and the agreements / inconsistencies between the two voices of the program make the content much more relatable for the audience. Would Phil have a co-host who is male or female, active or new to the industry, talkative or reserved? Often times, choosing a co-host can be just as daunting as choosing the title, format, and frequency of broadcast. There is also the topic of sponsors.
For most upstarts, there is no sponsorship approach for at least ten episodes. When you talk about show sponsors, you are really talking about advertising. Normally you can’t sell ads to something that doesn’t exist, but usually you don’t face a 7x Mr. Olympia, nor do you face someone who has Dany Garcia to run the business. I could see Phil’s podcast start with companies that are in, but not limited to, the bodybuilding world. For example, I could see Bang Energy, Reign, or Monster being involved. I could see relationships with companies like Book Cameo (where Heath already makes $) as a platform to sell his own e-books (like Kai Greene) and / or large coaching teams like Fit Body Fusion. The possibilities are endless, but it would have to be a lot more than just getting money in.
Phil can make money anytime; what he needs are sponsors / advertisers who also take the ball and run with it. Shows at this level also need sponsors to drive the show forward. The larger the program, the more reach it will have. It’s a win / win for everyone involved. Also, advertisers who sign up early will typically receive fixed rates for at least a year or two as a reward for their early trust and support. Everyone does things differently, but this is the proven way to get big in no time!
The truth is, IF the podcast becomes a reality it could be something that is taking up Phil’s time. If it’s a blast, it can take anything. Like competitive sports, podcasts are a selfish endeavor. The bigger the show gets, the more time it will take. Those willing to give anything could do very well for themselves. I honestly believe that competitive bodybuilding is behind Phil – although he firmly believes he hasn’t retired. He has zero to prove and even though he could take his 8th title, what does that really mean?
The Mr. Olympia Club is a group of champions revered in the sport. It doesn’t matter who has the most and if he has 8 he is not the first or second to do it. He would be the third type to share that distinction. If he was to become the most victorious Mr. O, he had to win two more titles. That’s another two years – at least – in which he has to put his body through hell and back. And what for? Who cares?
Look at Kai Green. He’s never won a single Sandow and check out everything he’s done offstage! I think Phil knows about it. The podcast may be the first step away from the stage and towards a fresh start. That is, if the podcast rumors are even true.
I would listen to a Phil Heath podcast. Would you? I am sure whatever The Gift decides it will be successful. Even though he’s blocked me for years and I don’t care how he deals with critics, I wish him the best in all of his endeavors. He is without a doubt one of the greatest bodybuilders who ever lived.