November 6, 2015 | By

Grantland: A Eulogy

We used to call ourselves “Grantland for Radio.” Used to, because we can’t anymore.

We’re still trying to figure out exactly what this site is. Are we journalists, beholden to impartiality and facts? Or are we wildly opinionated bloggers, spouting whatever thought comes to mind? The truth probably lies somewhere in between, and in the interest of full disclosure, here are some of our editorial stances: 1) We are in favor of radio and podcasts, obviously. 2) We love Steph Curry and Tim Duncan. 3) We believe in climate change.

I’d like to add a fourth item to that list: people should donate to their favorite podcasts and radio stations. I know it sounds pedantic and commanding, and you’ve heard it all before. But I don’t care. People should! Yes, they’re free and ad rates are sky high, but things can change. If you cherish something you have to support it. I know, because there was once something I loved. It was beautiful and what we had was special. And now, it’s gone forever.

That something was Grantland. This piece is not timely. I know. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying, it’s just that my first draft came out like this:

For the uninitiated, Grantland was 1 Bill Simmons’ brain child. It lived on ESPN and provided commentary on sports and pop culture. It was funny and insightful. The writers were are talented. In May, ESPN declined to renew Simmons’ contract. On Friday they shuttered the site for good.

My fingers unknowingly pound out the URL. (This is stage I: denial). I know what waits on the other end, but still I go. There, a simple message reads, “It was a good run.”

Simmons’s and co. may not have been the first ones to fuse fandom, pop culture, and sports, but they certainly did it best. Their pithy, side-splitting articles spawned hundreds of imitators, including one radio review site. We used to call Audiologue “Grantland for Radio.”

Grantland was always the dream. There’s a reason all my reviews are a mish-mash of basketball and Prince jokes. Bill Simmons cut the path, I was just following it. And while it’s certainly an insult to compare us to Grantland, what they were doing inspired me. Grantland made me believe that type of writing—good, brilliant, downright fun writing—could exist in the world.

There’s so much to admire about this site and its legacy. I’m amazed at how prolific these guys were. I whine about writing my column every other week. They cranked out thousands of words a day. And the writing was good. Oh so very good. They went to Ferguson and won national magazine awards, and somehow, Grantland had a damn good time. They were unabashedly fun. Journalism doesn’t have to feel like watching Katie Couric host CBS Evening NewsIt can be good and important and still enjoyable. Grantland was like healthy candy. This site could have been so fucking special and you took it away (This is stage II: anger, I think).

It’s not just NBA shot charts and oral histories of Boogie Nights that we lost. Bill’s staff called him “the podfather.” We tend to focus on highly produced, narrative, artsy shows here at Audiologue (with some exceptions), but for a lot of people, podcasting is about back-to-the-basket fundamentals: people talking about stuff. Grantland did this as well as anyone else. Better than most.

And I know what you’ll say: we never had the chance to donate to Grantland! And that’s true. You and I probably never could have saved Grantland, but let’s never let radio get to that point. Let’s save podcasting before it goes extinct or even becomes endangered. Let’s make it strong, like a superhero who’s only happy when he’s killing bad guys.

If you love something, care for it. We used to call ourselves “Grantland for Radio.” We can’t lose the radio part too.

  1. there’s that word again: was. Not is, was. Not will be, was ^

About the Author

Will Warren is a founding editor at Audiologue, and covers Radiolab for the site. You can find him on Twitter @willpwarren or via email at

This post is available under a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives license. That means you can republish this post and others on the site for free, as long as you credit Audiologue and the author in accordance with our republishing guidelines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *