There's 'Pretty Good' Podcasting in The Valley
Gina Grad and Randy Wang | Photo by Michael Rutt / used with permission
When LA's last FM talk radio station (KLSX 97.1 FM) opted to go the pop music route (February of 2009) the station's top gabber, Adam Carolla, turned to podcasting. Two other station employees soon followed the comedian's lead. In May of 2009, Gina Grad (The Tim Conway, Jr. Show) and Randy Wang (The Adam Carolla Show) gave birth to The Pretty Good Podcast.
Recording their daily program in Randy Wang's San Fernando Valley studio apartment, Gina and Randy are quickly approaching their 500th episode. With the Pretty Good Podcast, the focus is on having fun. Gina and Randy take light-hearted and honest looks into their own lives and shared interests. Guest interviews range from comedians to media personalities to local food truck proprietors. The show is frequently in the iTunes Comedy Top 50 and their growing and loyal fanbase donates money, attends live events, and even sends in all kinds of gifts.
The PGP recently grew into the visual with The Gina & Randy Show. The next installment of this monthly webcast happens this Sunday, June 26th at 5 p.m. with Heidi and Frank (of Frosty, Heidi and Frank fame.)
LAist had a chance to talk with the two talkers about talking...
LAist: When KLSX 97.1 FM closed its doors, what did you think of your radio future?
Gina Grad: The future felt very uncertain. I joke that when talking about our time at KLSX, it was like we got to Woodstock just in time to hear the last encore. But this was also a great opportunity for a fresh start so we just went for it.
Randy Wang: I thought this is the time to make your mark, time to really become an entrepreneur and be a part of the Internet radio revolution and take the audience that CBS threw away... and that's what we did.
Did you ever think you'd make it 500 episodes?
Randy: By the 15th show, I knew we got enough enjoyment out of doing the show that we would do it for 5,000 episodes.
Gina: I wasn't so optimistic. I figured we'd hone our hosting skills for a while and have some fun until our next gigs came along. But we're still going strong and having a blast and wouldn't trade it for anything.
Do you have special plans for the 500th episode?
Randy: We're going to have some great guests and I'm going to get a tattoo of the PGP logo on my shoulder LIVE!
Gina: And I'll be sitting across from him with a cocktail in one hand and my forehead in the other.
Do you have plans for your 1000th episode?
Randy: I'm going to get that tattoo of the PGP logo I got 500 episodes ago removed LIVE!
Gina: That, or a big blowout party. Maybe both!
What's your "recording studio" like?
Randy: The PGP has been recorded for two years in my studio apartment in beautiful Valley Village, CA! Guests occasionally have to sit on my bed, my bathroom has to sometimes double as a green room, and there's no natural light, but it truly is a place of joy and happiness for us. Doing a radio show on your own couch adds a level of comfort you can never reproduce in a studio.
Gina: ...and not one guest has ever had a problem recording there. It often reminds them of their lives before becoming wildly successful and it puts everyone at ease. I guess you could say that Randy's studio is the great equalizer.
You seem to have some real die-hard fans. What sort of things do they send you?
Randy: Between beef jerky, hot sauces, pancake mix, flip flops, electric shocking games for me, earrings for Gina, shirts, and bizarre beverages, it's always a surprise at the PGP mailbox.
Gina: Some of our listeners even do a PGP fan cast and discuss our shows from that week. And of course there's our best gift... our producer Elijah Black.
You've twice recorded on location from the Santa Anita Food Truck Festival. How were those experiences?
Randy: Both events we regard as our favorite ever! It's a blast every time — hanging out and eating with our listeners and watching all the degenerate gambling action. As for the food trucks, I'm obsessed with the Tornado Potato, the Grilled Cheese Truck and pretty much every truck that makes a pulled pork slider!
Gina: Any event where we get to be outside in the fresh air all day and not cooped up in the studio (Randy's apartment) instantly becomes my favorite event. It's also awesome to get to know all the food truck vendors. A lot of them came from totally different career backgrounds and finally said, "Screw it. I love to cook and I'm gonna follow my dream." It's very inspiring. As for favorite trucks, I dream about the Lobsta Truck every night.
You're doing a monthly webcast with SoCal radio legends Heidi and Frank. What does that mean to you guys?
Gina: Every time Randy and I get to spend time with Heidi and Frank, it feels like the star quarterback and the head cheerleader want our two high school freshman asses to sit with them at lunch. It's awesome.
Randy: To hang out and do tequila shots with one of my radio idols is a dream come true. Doing the show is fun too.
Do you have any advice for would-be podcasters?
Gina: When people find out Randy and I do a successful podcast, inevitably, people ask us what kind of money is in this type of venture. It always makes us laugh because whatever revenue we generate has come from a lot of hard work and a LOT of patience. If you want to start a podcast because you love the art of conversation and you simply have to share your opinions, then definitely do it. But if you’re looking for a way to make quick cash, there are definitely easier ways.