Cricket on the Airwaves: Understanding the Tailenders Phenomenon

The Tailenders podcast, exploiting a gap in the podcasting market that I doubt even the BBC knew existed before its launch in November 2017. The pitch? A cricket podcast, where cricket is not the dominant theme, but one of its purposes is to engage young cricket fans, with a sight to introducing new people to the game. Though this, quite rightly, sounds impossible, to say the podcasts has out performed all expectations would be a grave understatement.


“everyone has their own reason for being a Tailender”


If you were, without any prior exposure, to lend your ears to a more recent episode of the Tailenders podcast, I would imagine it a similar experience to waking up in a foreign place, disorientated by the incomprehensible chaos and nonsensical langue surrounding you while you try to find your feet.


Take the following summary, which is confirmed gobbledegook to those who haven’t had the baptism of fire that is becoming a Tailender, but makes perfect, hilarity-inducing sense to those who have binged the entire back catalogue:


G-Force, Vladimir ‘Voice of the Sea’ ’Poochin’ Ten-dool-kurrr), Mark ‘Yes You can Swim with the Sharks’ Sharkie ’Yes You’re Faded Up’ Sharman, Felix ’Thank You for Having Me on Who Wants To Be a Tailendaire?“ Black and Smack Water Jack’s very own shredding expert Jimmy Anderson present the #9 sports and recreation podcast in the UK: Trailbenders.


Make sense? For those who are confused, let me translate that for you into English:


Greg James (Radio 1 DJ), Matt Horan (whose Uncle, by marriage rather than by blood, is Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar), Felix White (member of the Indie Group the Maccabees), Mark Sharman (Producer) and England Cricket legend James Anderson present the Tailenders podcast.

Team Tailenders Winning the Inaugral Test Match Special vs. Tailenders Match in 2019

With content that seems as impenetrable as it is funny for those in the know, how has it been so successful?


In the busy, sometimes overwhelming world in which we now live, it is increasingly more difficult to switch off. It is clear, and I would argue fundamental to the success of the podcast, that Tailenders offers a welcoming escape route from the stresses and strains of the everyday. Cricket is the excuse that brings listeners in, but it is the intimacy only possible through the medium of radio that keeps listeners invested, providing much needed relief from the madness that exists outside of the Tailenders safe space.


Equally, do not underestimate the influence the presenters’ relationships have on the success of the podcast. Yes, James Anderson may come across like the Grinch realising its Christmas Eve when decisions don’t go his way on the cricket field, but the hosts and their complex yet charismatic bonds create an environment where you feel you are joining some mates for a catch-up, rather than listening to an edited podcast; a vital asset for podcast success, especially in the context of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic.


“They are and they will remain a staple of the loosely cricket based podcast landscape for years to come. You can bet your Aravinda Da Silva on that.”


The diverse content of the podcast is also a factor. With contributions from a range of guests, from the cricketing elite to celebrities from the music industry, alongside award winning live shows, Tailenders makes for a podcast to a local league team playing Manchester United in the FA cup, you know what is expected, but you come back every time just in case something remarkable happens.


Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Tailenders gang take it upon themselves to use their position of influence for the benefit of more than most. They have recently created a so called Go Well Fund that has already raised more than £70,000, with beneficiaries being those adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic through The National Emergencies Trust and those who cannot put food on the table through The Trussell Trust.


It is clear the success of the podcast lies in the fact that everyone has their own reason for being a Tailender. Regardless of if people can listen casually to distract themselves from the stresses and strains of everyday life, or can listen intently to be able to write an alarmingly in-depth Wikipedia entry, Tailenders is there. if they are to join Test Match Special as a foremost radio insitituon in the cricketing sphere, I’m not sure, but one thing is for certain: They are and they will remain a staple of the loosely cricket based podcast landscape for years to come. You can bet your Aravinda Da Silva on that.


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