Those yearning for the old days of ESPN’s Around the Horn might be interested in a new venture from two of the show’s inaugural panelists, Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti. The two are reuniting on a daily podcast titled Unmuted. (Hopefully, there will be no confusion with FS1’s Undisputed, but that’s a battle for Paige, Mariotti, Skip Bayless, Jason Whitlock and Jason McIntyre to fight.)
Paige is still an Around the Horn panelist and a columnist for the Colorado Springs Gazette, while Mariotti is out there somewhere after his turn as sports editor and columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. The two will record the podcast with Mariotti in Los Angeles and Paige in Denver. In addition to being available through all of the typical podcast outlets, such as iTunes, Stitcher Google Play and Soundcloud, Unmuted will also be available at Paige’s and Mariotti’s individual websites.
“Love the name of the show — and not just because I came up with it,” Mariotti said in an official release. “It means there are no filters, no mute buttons, no PC police, just honest and smart sports discussions in the current climate of fake news, trashy websites and corporate sanitizing. This is going to be a blast, going at it with Woody again. We were drawing about a million viewers some afternoons on ATH. Someone was watching, apparently.”
2017 is allready off to a incredible start pic.twitter.com/nMmlVKytCj
— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) December 16, 2016
Someone was indeed watching when Mariotti and Paige were regulars on Around the Horn. But will people be interested in listening to the two pundits debate in an ever-growing sports podcast landscape? The two certainly have name recognition, some of it through admiration and the remainder through derision.
But should Mariotti and Paige be referred to in the past tense when it comes to their notoriety and ability to stoke discussion and controversy on sports topics of the moment. Nostalgia always plays big in sports and pop culture. We love to be reminded of the things we loved. But nostalgia is based on affection and a hunger for something that people enjoyed in the past. Does Mariotti and Paige flinging hot takes at each other invoke that sort of feeling? Does saying something to be deliberately provocative — regardless of whether or not it reflects an actual, personal belief — stand out anymore in today’s sports media landscape?
Unmuted will likely get some big opening download numbers, if for no other reason than fans and critics will hate-listen, eager to find that one soundbite or hot take to ridicule. Of course, that will accomplish its objective, giving Mariotti and Paige the attention they need for their podcast and the sorts of downloads that they can claim as a sign of interest and success.
Are you compelled to take part in that? Unmuted debuts Jan. 3.