Teens’ Podcast Explores Sports World

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Jacob Erlbaum (top left) and Jacob Hare (top right) with Jim Jackson, play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Flyers | Courtesy of Jacob and Jacob Podcast

Which team was better: the 2014-2015 NCAA Championship-winning Duke University men’s basketball team, or the 2015-2016 NCAA Championship-winning Villanova University men’s basketball team? Is Michael Thomas the best wide receiver in the NFL? Should Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown be graciously asked to resign, or unceremoniously fired? Those may not necessarily be questions that keep you awake at night. But for Jacob Hare and Jacob Erlbaum, both 16, internecine sports debates like those have long been a basis for their friendship. And since quarantine began, with school taking up less of their time, the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy students, who are cousins, decided to have their arguments for the world to see on their new podcast. Appropriately, it is called “Jacob and Jacob Podcast.” “We both love sports, and we love to talk about it,” Erlbaum said. “And so why not put it into a video? Why not do something more with it?” Both Hare, of Penn Valley, and Erlbaum, of Lafayette Hill, come from sports-loving families, and each were regular sports podcast listeners; Hare loves “The Rights to Ricky Sanchez,” a local 76ers podcast, while Erlbaum prefers offerings from Barstool Sports. And Erlbaum has a little sports talk in his blood; his father, Scott Erlbaum, used to host a show on 97.5 The Fanatic. Maybe the best thing they have going for them, in turns of sports talk: volume. “We’re both pretty loud people,” Hare said. Making the jump from listeners to creators just took one push: a bit of free time. “We were just, like, really bored without sports, and we realized everyone else was bored without sports, too,” Hare said. In the beginning, each week’s Zoom-based show was a Lincoln-Douglas bout in miniature over the great unanswerable mysteries of the sports world — is LeBron James, they wondered, truly better than Jordan? The pair broke down “The Last Dance,” the 10-part ESPN docuseries on Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls, and gave their thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft over a few episodes. Over the last few months, as the conversation grew more relaxed and their clothing grew more formal, the Jacobs grew a little bolder, and have since landed numerous interviews with sports media personalities and athletes, usually with Philadelphia connections. Thus far, they’ve talked with NHL Hall of Famer Chris Pronger, NFL linebacker Sam Acho and ESPN fantasy football analyst Mike Clay, among many others. As the show formalized, the hosts solicited help from their friends, who’ve since pitched in with logo design, social media help and digital marketing. Though some interviews have come through family connections, many have been secured in what is now the old-fashioned way: asking directly through an Instagram direct message. Hare, on the quick affirmative response from Pronger: “We were just like, ‘Oh my God. This is awesome.’ We were like, ‘We’ve got to keep doing this.’” Since then, they’ve had a fairly high success rate when reaching out to potential guests. The dynamic between the two hosts is “pretty relaxed,” Hare said. “Depending on the debate,” Erlbaum is quick to qualify. On the subject of Brett Brown, “it can get pretty heated.” With a summer ahead of them before junior year, Hare and Erlbaum hope to continue with the podcast for as long as they can, continuing to chase after dream interviews with the likes of Joel Embiid, Carson Wentz and Jay Wright. Most of all, Hare said, they just want to make something good. “We want it to be something that’s unique,” he said. “There are a lot of podcasts, but we want to do something special, something that people want to listen to.” jbernstein@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0740

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