MICHAEL KOSS, BRENT LIGHTSEY AND BLAYNE COOK

Podcasting for Fans

Michael Koss, Brent Lightsey and Blayne Cook are like a lot of Thunder fans. The three are coworkers who enjoy chatting about their shared love for their hometown team. Unlike most Thunder loyalists, however, these pals let the rest of the world listen in on their gab-fests.

For two years, the trio has chatted about everything from Russell Westbrook to Rumble the Bison on the OKC ThunderCast, a periodic podcast devoted to their favorite team.

“We decided a long time ago that we didn’t want to be another place to go to get game recaps and statistics and stuff like that,” said Michael. “We wanted more of the offbeat stuff that we notice at the games. We still are fans primarily -- really, 90 percent fans and 10 percent podcasters.”

Whatever the ratio is, it seems to work. Since the podcast’s inaugural show on Nov. 2, 2008 -- a debut that Michael said was so bad, it was hilarious -- the programs have drawn some 27,000 downloads from listeners as far away as Africa and Iceland.

Not bad for three guys whose podcasting career began when Brent picked up “Podcasts for Dummies” at a library to begin their excursion into New Media.

“One step at a time, we were able to get a website going and start figuring out how do we record these shows, how do we edit the audio so it’s not painful to listen to, how do we get it where people can download it?” said Brent, 28. “There’s always something more to discover. You’re always learning to do a lot of new things.”

That sense of exploring something new and exciting is what led Michael, Brent and Blayne to focus on covering the Thunder. All three, avid sports fans to begin with, had found themselves increasingly enthusiastic about the new team in town.

Blayne said the idea to launch a podcast was a natural progression.

“We had this new young team, and at the same time we’re kind of a young fan base in that there were certain things we anticipated we’d be learning and that other people may be interested in, as well,” Blayne said. “That was where we started talking about it.”

Moreover, producing the podcasts has been a blast for the three, all of whom are Season Ticket Members.

“Most of the homework we do is watching the games and going to the games -- which we would be doing, anyway -- so it’s not really an extra burden, and it’s fun,” said Michael, 33. “You know, if you do something you enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life. We enjoy doing it.”

The three have an easy on-air rapport, undoubtedly the result of being friends, but some of that chemistry might have to do with where they are in their fandom.

Brent was not an NBA fan until he attended the Thunder’s inaugural game in Oklahoma City, an event that hooked him immediately.

Michael, a Chicago native who grew up during the heyday of the Bulls, was used to the experience of having a pro basketball team.

For the 39-year-old Blayne, the Thunder’s arrival in Oklahoma City was the culmination of a longtime dream.

“I’ve been a lifelong Oklahoman and a lifelong pro sports fan, so I’ve always hoped for the highest level of pro sports to wind up in our city,” he said. “I spent my childhood borrowing allegiances from other cities that had pro teams, watching them … and yet they weren’t my own.

“So to have my kids grow up with that is something really neat for me to see. Legends are forming before our eyes for Oklahoma City and we’re proud to be documenting it at the OKC ThunderCast.”

Check out the OKC ThunderCast here: http://www.okcthundercast.com/

Thunder fans from all walks of life and all corners of the world can check out THUNDERALLY, an online, interactive site 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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