Sardonicast: A Film Lover’s Podcast

In the film reviewing community, podcasting is becoming an increasingly popular format to connect with audiences. Film reviews have had a long history, originating as published articles in newspapers and magazines. Eventually it evolved into shows like Siskel and Ebert, where two published film critics talked in front of a camera and reviewed new movies weekly. For many, this was their primary source for movie recommendations currently in theaters. Now in the 21st century with websites such as YouTube, any avid film goer can pick up a camera and create their own review show. Three of these YouTubers with similar personalities and review styles decided last year to create a podcast discussing and debating films, and they called it Sardonicast.

The podcast’s logo with animated heads of each of the three hosts. From left to right: Adam, Ralph, Alex.

Sardonicast consists of Adam Johnston from YourMovieSucks (YMS), Ralph Sepe from ralphthemoviemaker, and Alex Horton from IHateEverything (IHE). All three are in their twenties and started their respective channels within the last ten years. What makes the podcast unique is that each of them is from a different country. Adam is from Canada, Ralph is from the US, and Alex is from England. They live in vastly different time zones but come together once every two weeks to record a podcast talking about film. This allows for some highly amusing segments where cultural differences come into play. They discuss new and old films and talk about the film industry in general. There are currently forty-six episodes of Sardonicast and there are still many more to come. Episodes typically range from and hour and a half to two and a half hours.

I enjoy this podcast a lot because of the dry and sarcastic humor the three share and the vast knowledge of film they each contribute to the show. I am consistently entertained; usually discover a new film I add to my watchlist and learn new information about pop culture trends or filmmaking in general that interests me. They have a website where fans can buy merchandise, including t-shirts, phone cases, and posters. Since the channel is rather new and only has 122K subscribers, they do not have a primary sponsor. They make ad revenue off smaller companies like most YouTube channels over 100K subscribers do, and each have their own Patreon page. Patreon allows fans of content creators to financially contribute to their creation of new content. Fans may also register as premium members for a small monthly fee and receive early access to each episode.

The first episode of Sardonicast, published on YouTube on February 12, 2018.

My favorite segment on the podcast is the Q&A that closes each episode. In this, fans post their questions for one or all of the hosts on a subreddit and the highest voted or their personal favorite questions are answered. This part is important because it is the most interactive section for fans of the show, and as a result of these questions we learn a lot about Adam, Alex, and Ralph. This subject is touched on in the McHugh reading about the relationship between the audio host and the listener. Specifically, he states that podcasts are “very personal in a way that hosts are really forming relationships in new ways with their listeners” (McHugh 74). The members of Sardonicast are thus able to connect with their audience in an entertaining way, additionally adding more to their show than just the three talking between themselves.

I think this piece is the most important distinction between the appeal of a podcast and the appeal of a radio broadcast. The podcast has much more of an “indie/DIY” charm and feels much more personal and relatable because the power to create a podcast is essentially in anyone’s hands. A radio broadcast has a specific window in which it is aired and is typically less geared towards audience participation. Some radio shows do allow for listeners to call in but only during this window. The podcast and the fan Q&A allow for questions to be posted which could be read by the hosts any time in a two-week window and many are answered on the show. The article talks about how many podcasters interviewed view the radio show as “a gateway to legitimacy” (McHugh 74). The charm of a show like Sardonicast, however, is that it is run by three normal guys talking about movies. Calling the radio broadcast a more legitimate medium for me is wrong, and further proves the views of the two forms of entertainment contrast greatly. The podcast, like streaming television, is quickly surpassing something scheduled like a radio broadcast or appointment television. Why schedule your day around an event when it is easily accessible to you any time you want it? And now that YouTubers are moving into the podcast realm, it’s becoming a much more popular sphere of entertainment broadcasting.

Source: McHugh, Siobhan. “How podcasting is changing the audio storytelling genre.” University of Wollongong, The Radio Journal – International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media. 2016.

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