I've got a list of podcasts that amuse me while puttering around the house - such as this, this, and this - but there's a locally produced podcast that you food folks will appreciate. Ty Ray, a Tacoman and former sports broadcaster turned local radio personality on KLAY, has a witty series. I emailed a few questions to Ray to learn a bit more about his podcast. Here's what he had to say.
Q: You're a former broadcast journalist? Print journalists will eat anything - even things that have been left on the news meeting table for 24 hours. Are your eating habits just as sketchy? What's the oldest or most questionable thing you've eaten in a broadcast newsroom?
A: Broadcast journalists will eat anything, too. When I worked in Medford, Ore., back in the early 90's, I made $7 an hour as a sports anchor/reporter on TV. We would constantly make a run for the "border." We ate a lot of 39-cent tacos and burritos at Taco Bell. It was all we could afford. The whole newsroom reeked of fast food. We might as well have been working at Taco Bell. As you know, when you are on deadline, fast and convenient is a good thing.
Q: How did you wind up in Tacoma? Was it the KLAY gig? Or something else?
A: I worked from 1990-2008 in the TV/radio industry. My career took me to five different markets. I last worked as a TV talk show host at KVOS in Bellingham (now ME TV on Xfinity). I was born in Tacoma, and my family is here, so I decided it was time to move closer. The television industry has changed. No one is waiting until 5,6, 11 o'clock to watch the latest sports news. You can find out anything you need to know instantly on your smartphone. Local TV jobs in sports that pay just don't exist anymore.
Q: Can you tell readers how you wound up with food as a topic area for your podcasts? Your background looks solid in sports journalism. Why switch to food?
A: I love food, but don't cook. While in Bellingham, I actually did a cooking show for a brief time called "Ty Cuisine." I interviewed chefs.
What I found, is athletes and chefs are very similar. Both are very competitive. A chef has a team and it takes everyone working together to get the perfect dish or dinner right. It takes careful planning. The same kind of planning any team would use in sports. My co-host Nick Gelso is a former restaurant owner and is currently a food consultant. We both complement each other very well.
Q: What are your favorite food podcasts? Tell readers why.
A: Andrew Zimmerman puts together an entertaining show. He's just real, and his shows are fun. That's what I love about podcasting. There are no rules. You can be you. You don't worry about commercial, weather, or traffic breaks.
Podcasting is a very intimate experience you share with your listener. Nick and I try to great that kind of atmosphere with our show. We really want our listeners to feel like they are sitting next to us having a drink talking about pop culture, food, or whatever. Our listeners are our friends.
I believe podcasting is the future of broadcasting. Listening to your favorite shows when and how you want to on demand.
Q: Tell readers about your podcast - how did it come to be?
A: As I said, I really got out of TV/radio when I moved to Tacoma back in 2008. I started to dabble in sports podcasting in 2012 just to feed my need to be on the air.
My co-host, Nick Gelso heard me and asked me to join his New England based sports internet radio station in the Winter of that year. Nick and my friendship blossomed. We found ourselves talking on the phone for hours at a time about a variety of topics. Movies, TV, Music, Food, Comedy. Just like two guys would if they went out after work.
The "virtual lounge" was born. One night we were on the phone in April of 2013, and we asked ourselves "Why don't we make this a show?" Fast forward to October of 2013, and we started releasing Beats & Eats as a show on ITUNES and Stitcher. Then in December we were nominated for Stitcher's best food and wine show."
Q: And is it still true that you haven't met your co-host?
A: It is absolutely true. Nick and I have never met, yet we talk Beats and Eats business daily. We talk about future shows, guests we need to schedule, and growing the brand and much more. Nick and I are scheduled to meet for the first time at Reality Rally, April 11,12, 13 in Temecula, California. The event features more than 150 reality TV stars who are gathering to raise funds for Michelle's Place, a local breast cancer resource center.
Nick and I will be co-hosting the celebrity chef showcase breakfast on Sunday morning. The event will be shown on local TV, and streamed on the worldwide web. Talk about reality tv. Nick and I will meet for the first time at a reality star event, and be co-hosting a TV show together.
Q: Name two or three favorite restaurants in Tacoma - especially any that you know to be dives or unusual finds. What draws you to them?
A: I absolutely love Masa. I love Mexican food, and their spin on it. They make a mac n' cheese chimchanga that is amazing. I also love the atmosphere. It's got a great vibe. I feel like I'm out at a club, but yet it still has a restaurant feel too. The service is terrific there.
My favorite restaurant is Shake Shake Shake in the Stadium District. I love what Steve Naccarato and Robert Stocker have created. It's just a cool place for people of all ages! I love the burgers which are amazing. I just love the retro feel. It's something Nick and I try to capture in our podcast. I think of our podcast every time I walk into Shake Shake Shake. We have an invite out to Steve any time he wants to do Beats and Eats.
As far as hole in the wall? How can you not love MSM Deli! Who knew that building contains the best sandwiches in town! Great ingredients. It's like a slice of NYC on Sixth Ave.