The Easton Target Archery Podcast – going behind the scenes

The Easton Target Archery Podcast has become a touchstone of the international sport. Mimi Landström investigates.

The Easton Target Archery Podcast has been hosted by Easton Target Product manager, senior engineer and past USA World team member George Tekmitchov and Pro Staff Manager and past World Field Champion and multi-international medalist Steve Anderson since August 2015. At the time of writing, they have completed almost 170 podcasts over the nearly seven years span of the production. 

Bow managed to ask them a few questions about the podcast, where it’s been, where it’s going – and who’s been the most interesting guest so far.

What were your goals when starting the podcast? 

Steve: We had no specific goals, and we still don’t. A lot of people start a podcast for brand or personal exposure with the intent to use that as a financial vehicle to advertise their product or products for others. 

We talk about Easton occasionally, but we mostly just talk about archery in general. At the office, we found ourselves having these very involved discussions about the happenings in the tournament archery world, and our manager at the time suggested we start recording this. So, it’s his fault this all happened…

George: I don’t think we ever set any goals as such.  We had these sorts of conversations all the time, and often bystanders would comment that “this stuff should be recorded!”.  So, when we found ourselves at the Copenhagen World Archery Championship, we just decided to give it a go – and it kind of just blew up.  The download numbers are impressive, for archery, anyway.

The thing that makes it work is that we are opposites in some ways. After all, I shoot recurve, Steve shoots compound. Dogs and cats. But respectful ones. Usually.

Who’s been the most interesting guest and why? 

Steve: During the 2020 Olympics (in 2021), Braden Gellenthien joined us on the show and was providing very high-level analytics.

 It maybe gave a bit of an insight as to why Braden is one of the most successful archers in World Cup history. Very few archers have that level of understanding; and that type of thinking translates into his shooting.

Another noteworthy guest was Guy Matzkin, from the Israeli Archery Federation. Guy is a well-studied person who really gave some valuable insight on coaching and concepts and how to apply everything.

George has taken on the role of interviewing people who contribute to the history of our sport, and those are always interesting to me as well. Often, when George really gets going on a particular subject, I am most interested about the things he has to say. His knowledge base of archery and engineering is fascinating. 

George: Interesting for us, or for the listeners? Many times the guests that come on are friends, and people I have known a long time. 

However, the long-form discussion sometimes gives you completely new perspectives on those guests. One that stands out for me was my interview with John Williams, the 1972 Olympic Champion. The sheer emotion he shared, 49 years after winning gold in Munich, was both palpable and very inspiring. Braden Gellenthien was an absolute standout, that fellow could go on the road telling stories. Same for Jay Barrs (and indeed he has done so). But I would like to think all our guests have been interesting to someone out there. 

I also think the show just doesn’t work as well without Steve’s relatively irrepressible opinions and comments, some of which have literally made me drop my jaw. When there’s a “solo show” where I’m on about some history subject or event update, I think it’s a lot less enjoyable to listen to. That dynamic- and occasional light hearted conflict-  has been good for the show.

What’s been the trickiest subject to discuss?

Steve: Thankfully we haven’t had many instances where we couldn’t share our personal opinions due to the fact that it is not our personal podcast. 

Perhaps the trickiest subject was around the drug testing in archery and some of the things that have occurred in that realm, Also, COVID is always tricky because of the way the world is today.  Many of these things are not interesting to the listener. Archery is an escape for some, so we try not to drag them into our podcast.

George: Easton sponsors the podcast, but they have never put any restrictions on what we can discuss, asked us to “pitch products” or sell people on their gear.  (Which is the best in the world and hardly needs us to pitch it, anyway.) In fact, sometimes we bash things we don’t like, at Easton’s expense.

I mean, for example, Easton sells a LOT of target quivers.  That didn’t stop Steve from expressing his adamantine attitude that every target quiver in the world should be burned, and all of us should just use field quivers. I happen to disagree, but it makes for a lively discussion.

Now, in terms of “tricky subjects”, there are no sacred cows. We express our opinions pretty openly (though Steve is perhaps a bit less unfiltered) and I would like to think we have been very open with our listeners about any subject of interest. 

We take care to be as accurate and unbiased as possible when it comes to controversial matters such as (thankfully, extremely rare) doping violations or similar issues.

As a personal choice, I draw the line at obscenity on the show. That has no place in civilized discourse, particularly with the name of the foremost company in the sport behind it.  (Discourse that is being recorded, anyway. We are perfectly capable of swearing like sailors, off mic, when the need arises.). I want an 8-year old JOAD shooter, their parent, a WA sponsor, or my mother for that matter, to be able to listen without being offended by the choice of a word.  

In 165 episodes we have only had to apply a censorious *beep* one single time, for a guest. (Of course he was a compound guy.)

What about doing the podcast gives you the most satisfaction? 

Steve: We like to include a few “Easter Eggs” or quips now and again. Occasionally a listener will recognize these and comment about it. That’s always fun. Every time somebody tells me they listen to the podcast I apologise to them.

George: Meeting people who express that they enjoy what we do, which happens with disturbing regularity. At the end of the day, that is the goal. make something archers enjoy.

Where do you see it going in the future?

Steve: At some point it will probably crash and burn. One of us will say something we shouldn’t, and we’ll get pulled off the air.

I don’t know what the plan is long term. We’ll just keep doing it for as long as we both are involved with Easton, I suppose. If I went away, George would carry on just fine hosting the podcast. If George went away, I probably wouldn’t continue to do it. He is the driver behind it and really does make an excellent host. 

George: I imagine, someday, we will step over some invisible line, and find ourselves being banned everywhere.  But hopefully, not today.

I think one of the best- and riskiest parts of the show for its viability- is that both of us are pretty unfiltered. Especially Steve. His honesty and sometimes fearlessly opinionated views are refreshing in a normally pretty reserved sport, and he brings an attitude and perspective that really resonates with listeners.  

Even if it occasionally pushes my comfort zones, or goes well over my head with respect to current popular culture. I have a certain visceral revulsion at TikTok videos, for example.  Steve is quite adept with social media and that sort of thing.  I’m more of a Signal kind of guy.

But, if both hosts always parroted each other’s views, how boring would that be?

Thankfully, Easton management has not once complained or asked us to tone it down.  So far.

What is your favourite episode, and why? 

Steve: It would be hard to pinpoint a favourite. Many of our guests have provided very good stories or insight. Many of our listeners will focus in one episode and make a comment on it. One that stands out involves the leaf blower. 

We were recording in a room overlooking the parking lot at Easton and a person was using a leaf blower. We determined leaf blowers were dumb, as they move the mess from one place to another. I’m not sure we ever returned to the archery discussion after that. Listeners really got behind that episode and had a lot of comments about leaf blowers.

George: My favorite episodes include the ones where we have been able to speak with legends of the sport, people like Terry Ragsdale, John Williams, Jay Barrs, Dick Tone, Justin Huish, and other luminaries of the sport who have shared insight into their careers and the human side of their athletic accomplishments.  

I also tend to enjoy the ones when Steve is particularly vocal about something he doesn’t like. Like target quivers. That one was huge on social media for a while.

What plans are in the works?

Steve: The beauty of the show is that we have barely scratched the surface on potential guests. Many guests can and should make repeat appearances, as they provide information updates on the happenings in the sport. 

We still have a rather long list of people who could join us on the show to share their archery story and give the listeners another perspective of the sport. I think some of the best guests are people who are heavily involved in archery, but operate more behind the scenes or come to our sport from other arenas and can draw parallels to our game. 

George: As a bit of an archery history enthusiast, I wish it could be possible to hear from some of the legends of the sport who are gone now. 

Find out from Doreen Wilbur just how a 44-year old housewife from Kansas found herself on the top step of the podium at the 1972 Olympic Games. Ask Ann Hoyt how she became arguably the most powerful and influential woman in the sport. Ask Doug Easton what it was like making those first aluminum arrows. 

But having learned from the fact that those people aren’t around anymore to talk with, I am grateful there is a long list of people around today that we can talk with. I am trying to figure out how to get a translator to do a real-time discussion with Oh Jin Hyek, for example, because personally I think that would be a great episode. And, I think Olympic Champion An San would be another interesting person to speak with.

It’s a long list, and sometimes I feel we are just getting started.


LISTENING IN

Over 165 episodes of the Easton Target Archery Podcast are available online. The easiest way to listen on a computer is by going to www.eastonarchery.com/podcast and choosing one.

However, podcasts are available on many kinds of digital media sources. Most smartphones will have an app dedicated to podcasts, which will notify you when new ones are available. They are also available through audio platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, and even through smart TV’s.


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