‘The Back of the Range’: Building a podcast from the ground up

A "Back of the Range" Instagram post celebrates 200 episodes released. (Photo courtesy of @thebackoftherange Instagram)

By Drew Steiner
Medill Reports

Whether you are driving to work, taking a morning stroll, or just relaxing at home, podcasts provide listeners with unlimited content at the push of a button.

To become a podcaster is simple and all that is required is a smartphone. Generating listeners can be a challenge, but that shouldn’t be the priority, podcaster Ben Adelberg said.

Adelberg is the founder and host of “The Back of the Range,” an interview-based podcast with a primary focus on amateur and college golf. Adelberg released the first episode in 2018 and has since recorded about 300 episodes with more than 1 million downloads.

“The Back of the Range” slogan reads, “Sometimes the best stories in golf aren’t found on tour, you’ll find them at the back of the range.”

A high-level amateur golfer himself, Adelberg found there were many players and stories in amateur golf that had never been featured before.

“The first step to a successful podcast is finding something that you love and are passionate about,” said Adelberg who lives in South Florida. “Regarding the listeners, that will come. If you are more worried about your following than the information you are putting out there, you are doing something wrong. Find your style, stick with it, and produce content.”

Along with amateur golfers, Adelberg has hosted the likes of announcers Joe Buck and Dan Hicks, professional golfers Collin Morikawa and Will Zalatoris, and arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus.

“People talk about getting a huge guest to have their show blow up,” Adelberg said. “First of all, if you do indeed get that huge guest, most new listeners are probably hopping on board to only hear what that guest has to say. Obviously, an episode with a well-known guest is most likely going to generate the most views. But, to keep up that viewership as a podcaster you should be consistent, plan ahead and entertain your listeners.”

Long-time listener of “The Back of the Range” Jack Braverman said he appreciates the genuine aspect of the show and sees concepts in golf he can apply to his own golf game. Braverman, 22, has played golf since he was 6 years old and said he enjoys hearing tips from high-level amateurs and professionals on the podcasts he chooses to listen to.

“When I listen to ‘Back of the Range,’ I feel like I am a part of the conversation,” Braverman said. “Even when Ben is speaking to a professional, he asks questions that apply to his listeners. Also, the guy had Jack Nicklaus on his show. There are not many people that can say they’ve done that.”

Adelberg said he never wanted to have these “big-time” guests on his early episodes.

“That is another problem that I see with beginners,” Adelberg said. “I had Mr. Nicklaus in episode 118. I would’ve never wanted to have Mr. Nicklaus on episodes one, two or three. I had no experience back then; I was just finding my footing as a podcaster. That right there is huge for beginner podcasters. Find your footing, find an identity for about 10 episodes or so and then talk about the possibility of having a guest on.”

Adelberg said he will always have the same goal of telling stories to his listeners that they have not heard before from the mainstream golf media.

“Like any podcast that wants to be successful, the passion that I have for the subject matter and content will continue to push me to produce creative and strong content,” Adelberg said.

Drew Steiner is a Sports Media graduate student at Medill. You can contact him on LinkedIn.