Podcasts have been a growing fixation within American culture over the past 15 years. In the always evolving world of highly visual and engaging media, podcasts have only become a stronger art form. Listen to them while grocery shopping, hammering away at work, or during the daily commute. They have zero barrier to entry and are perfect for multi-tasking. No matter who you are or where you roam, you can always find podcasts that suit you.
We had the pleasure of catching up with the three MuskOx men behind The Happy Rant Podcast, a weekly podcast in which the hosts, Barnabas Piper, Ted Kluck, and Ronnie Martin cheerfully rant about things ranging from the mundane and silly to relevant and pressing, all in a light-hearted, off-the-cuff manner. In an age of media outrage, social media trolling, and general angstyness - this show humorously, irreverently, and thoughtfully engages topics of culture and faith.
The guys have extensive careers as authors, storytellers and cultural enthusiasts. Barnabas is the author of The Curious Christian and Help My Unbelief, and serves on staff at Immanuel Church in Nashville, TN. Ted is the author of 25 books, screenwriter on the forthcoming feature film Silverdome, and his work has appeared in ESPN the Magazine, USA Today, and many other publications. Ronnie is the pastor of Substance Church, Ashland, OH, and is the author of several books, including Finding God in the Dark (with Ted Kluck) and Stop Your Complaining.
When the three of them first launched The Happy Rant, they received over 5,000 downloads within the week. Now they are achieving 45,000 monthly downloads and climbing!
We are so proud to call Barnabas, Ted and Ronnie members of the MuskOx Herd! Now, let's jump into a conversation we shared with Ted.
MuskOx: You guys are artists, storytellers, writers, podcasters; what is your favorite medium in connecting with your audience?
Ted: Writing is my favorite medium for personal joy, and podcasting is probably my favorite medium for connecting with my audience. I think I'll always love writing a great sentence, a great paragraph, a great book...but I think I'm more romantically attached to the "idea" of writing in the past...back when being a writer meant working hard on a book or an article, putting it into print, and then not having to deal with all the hatefulness it inevitably generates on Twitter. You could write a sweet story about a boy and his dog, and somebody on Twitter would hate it, and hate you for it. My goal is to be a writer in 1955...so somebody needs to make me a flux-capacitor.
MuskOx: What brought you guys together to start The Happy Rant podcast?
Ted: We all had these different audiences we brought to the table - Pipe (Barnabas) and I from writing, and Ronnie from music - and we just felt like we could come together, have some laughs every week, and do something relatively unprecedented in the Christian publishing world (Christians, having laughs). Plus, I hated social media and this was something I felt like I could do to make my agent and publishers happy! Turns out, I really love podcasting and it's a great excuse to stay in touch with friends every week.
MuskOx: What have been some of life's adventures that have impacted the many of your creative endeavors today?
Ted: I started writing because I broke my leg twice as a college football player, and then met a girl (my wife of now 23 years). My magazine career started with a sports satire e-zine I kinda created as a joke, with college buddies. My book career started when I saw a former heavyweight champion sweeping his sidewalk in a beige suburb or Orlando, Florida. I wrote a memoir once, about adopting a couple of boys from Ukraine, playing a season of arena football, and I wrote one about fixing up a car with a former drug dealer. Point being, I think the ability and desire was always kind of there...but the Lord has been really faithful to keep bringing me opportunities.
MuskOx: Do you guys have any advice for any of the MuskOx men out there who would like to start a podcast?
Ted: Have fun and do what you like. The great thing about podcasting is that you can literally start doing it for free, so the level of risk is very low. Do exactly what you want, and see if there's an audience for it!