JOEL ASHBEE (Top Photo) | BRAD THOMAS (Bottom Photo)

The Birth of ThunderGround Radio

Living in Vancouver, Canada, Joel Ashbee and Brad Thomas were huge basketball fans who could chat endlessly about their beloved Vancouver Grizzlies.

Then the Grizzlies moved to Memphis. A few years later, Brad moved, too -- to Ponca City, Okla.

Still, Joel and Brad stayed in touch through frequent phone calls to discuss their new favorite team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That’s when Brad’s wife had an idea.

“My wife came to me and said, ‘You’re talking on the phone an hour or two hours a week about basketball, anyway,’” recalled Brad, “’so you might as well record it.’”

That made sense to the chums, who funneled their shared obsession into a weekly podcast, ThunderGround Radio. Since the first episode aired at the end of the 2009-10 regular season, the two have cranked out nearly two dozen shows.

Brad admits the pair wasn’t particularly tech-savvy before launching the podcast. “That’s been a big learning process,” said the 24-year-old, chuckling, “as far as how to record it, how to make it sound good, using editing programs -- that’s all been a real steep learning curve.”

But there’s nothing like doing when it comes to learning. Brad and Joel’s jokey banter is steadily catching on with Thunder fans. ThunderGround Radio has about 2,000 subscribers through iTunes, and recently received a boost when the podcast teamed up for a quasi-partnership with the Thunder-centric blog, Daily Thunder.

“I think what makes us good, or listenable, is our passion,” said Joel, 32. “We are so passionate about the sport, passionate about the team. We combine passion with being a student of the game, and I think it works out.”

That passion is evident when you get these guys going on their subject of choice.

“It feels good to cheer for a guy like Kevin Durant,” Joel said.

“The Thunder organization is amazing. They are complete professionals. They make you feel proud to cheer for them as a fan.

“You know they’re not going to do anything silly. Your star player’s not going to do something that disrespects the fans or the city. Brad and I talk about this all the time. Kevin Durant -- it’s so abnormal what he’s doing, but what he’s doing is just being respectful and just being professional.”

From Canada to Cameroon, Thunder fans – even those who don’t know podcasting from potatoes – can be found at THUNDERALLY, an online, interactive community for Thunder loyalists.

Phil Bacharach is the Director of Corporate Communications for the Thunder. He is looking for die-hard Thunder fans throughout the world. If you or somebody you know bleeds Thunder blue, contact Phil by clicking here.
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