Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden, co-hosts of “The Popcast” podcast, have turned their love of all things pop culture into a successful podcast with listeners across the nation. The fact that the two live in different states (they met through a blogwriter’s collective) doesn’t get in their way.
Here’s how they do it: After preparing for the week’s topic, they use Google Hangouts to create individual streams, which Knox then merges into one. New Popcast episodes are typically posted on Wednesdays.
We talked to Knox recently via phone about the duo’s upcoming live “Popcast” shows at The Bradford near Apex – and a few pop culture topics, of course. Below is an abridged account of the conversation.
Q: Your whole podcast is about pop culture. What triggered your pop culture obsession?
A: I think for me specifically, growing up in the South, it’s like there’s SEC football, or college football or whatever, there’s the church, and then that’s pretty much it. So you’re kind of forced to define yourself through those institutions. But for me, I mean, I love college football and I go to church regularly, but something just didn’t quite resonate in the same way it did for other people. So it was through, you know, reading books or watching movies or watching TV shows. There would be certain characters or plot points or whatever that I’d see and they’d really resonate with me. So I thought, I don’t know if everybody else feels like this, but this is something in particular that works for me and it helps me understand the world in a better way.
Q: Why did you decide to bring the live show to the Triangle?
A: Our first live show was last August in Birmingham. That helped us learn how to put one on. . . . And then for Raleigh, we found out we have a lot of listeners in the North Carolina area, so that made a lot of sense.
Q: Do you know what you’re going to talk about at the Raleigh show or are you just going to play it by ear?
A: We usually make it location-specific, so we’ll talk a little about North Carolina and Raleigh in particular. I know our guest, Kendra Adachi, she is kind of a do-it-yourselfer and she dabbles in cooking. So I imagine we’ll spend part of the show (talking) about that. My favorite thing we do in the live shows is, whoever comes, we get them to submit opinions that they may not think are good opinions and we call it the ‘pop culture death panel.’ They present their wobbly opinion and we get to tell them whether that opinion lives or dies.
Q: Would you say that sometimes your podcast has a feminist slant to it?
A: I would say 80 percent of our listeners are female, so we certainly cater to that. I’m trying to be delicate about how I put this. Jamie and I both are, like I said, we’ve grown up in the South, but we have a more progressive view. We feel a responsibility to help articulate points of view that people might not necessarily be inundated with, not because they don’t want to hear it, but because where they grow up or the patterns of conversation they’re used to listening to just don’t consider those points of view. We take it pretty seriously to try to articulate those things for people.
Something we say, we think humor breaks down walls so that true ideas can enter. That’s something we try to talk about, although we certainly don’t think we’re experts or anybody with any intellectual license to tell people how to think or feel. But I do think we try to say ‘Hey, here’s our point of view. Here’s where we’re coming from. Maybe that works for you, maybe it doesn’t, but this is just what we think. We want to hear what you think,’ stuff like that. I think that’s a really valuable element of this show. With the people who listen, we’ve been able to forge that relationship of ‘we probably aren’t right about a lot of stuff, but we are super interested in what you think because there might be some really great perspectives or ideas we haven’t considered in what you’re saying.’
Q: What’s your favorite Netflix show right now?
A: I love ‘House of Cards’ right now. I don’t think I should, but I just can’t stop. I think a lot of it is Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood. It’s just the most ridiculous portrayal, but I absolutely love it.
Q: Do you listen to any other podcasts?
A: Yeah, you know, Jamie and I both, we listen to, gosh, a ton of podcasts. I know for me a big part of me, my influence, ever since college, is Bill Simmons. I’ve been listening to him, listening to the way he parses through sports and pop culture, like life through those lenses. I’m a big fan of what Gimlet does, I’m a big fan of ‘This American Life,’ kind of the hits. I know that’s not a super sexy answer, but there’s just so many shows with so many very, either precise points of view or very random niche points of view, that are really great to keep up with.
Q: What do you think of the Katy Perry-Taylor Swift feud?
A: I think the feud’s dumb, because I think Taylor Swift’s better and Katy Perry doesn’t know herself right now, or what she needs to be doing.
Q: Why do you say you don’t think Katy Perry knows herself right now?
A: I think she doesn’t know if she wants to be a serious artist, a provocative artist, if she wants to be a television-music host – like she’s going to be on the television reboot of ‘American Idol.’ I think something we should all take away from life is ‘find your lane and stay in it!’ That’s a bad way to say it… ‘Be very good at knowing who you are, what you are, what you want to do and what you’re good at and do those things.’ I think she’s so good at so much that she’s having a hard time streamlining what she should be doing and where she should be focusing her talents.