How Does the ‘Herd’ Stack Up?

Over the last 6 months, I’ve listed to The Thundering Herd Podcast on ESPN radio. This is hosted by Colin Cowherd (or the ‘Herd’ for short). Many listeners have strong opinions about Colin. I’d assume those who are regular listeners probably enjoy his show and the types of guests he interviews. On the other hand, you may have other listeners who aren’t big fans of Colin’s although they may like his contrarian approach to broadcasting. Based upon listening to about 100 hours of The Thundering Herd, I decided to critique his podcast. 


GOOD GUESTS. He gets many guests on the podcast that cover a wide range of sports’ topics. Most of his guests provide good insight into some aspect of sports. Apart from being educational, it’s entertaining.

HE’S BRUTALLY HONEST. He doesn’t hold back and I suspect that how he’s wired, to be forthright and honest. His honesty is evident during the initial part of the podcast during Colin’s initial rant. He’s also not afraid of criticizing the Mothership (ESPN) and to that, I say “hurrah!”

CAN BE SELF-DEPRECATING. He has no issue poking fun at his looks or considering himself a nerd. He doesn’t have an issue admitting that publicly which I appreciate. He’ll often admit some of his faults or shortcomings during his podcast. I appreciate those who aren’t narcissists and can easily point out their own faults, especially in the public domain.

REFRESHING PERSPECTIVE. As a baby boomer,  it doesn’t take too many ads associated with this podcast to realize this program targets Millennials and Generation X. Therefore, considering my generation, it keeps me young at heart to hear attitudes and perspectives of many whom are much younger than me.

SMART. No doubt he’s bright and has accumulated many life and work experiences over the last 40 plus years. This adds interest and intrigue to the broadcast. I suspect he’s much more interesting and provides a deeper perspective than earlier in his career.

RANTS ARE QUITE SPECIAL. His initial rants or Herd Rants and getting on his soapbox are typically entertaining and thought provoking. He’s very good at using a life lesson or proverb at the start of the show and integrating it into the podcast. Often, you’re not quite sure where he’s going, but he has the skill to tie it into the latest sports or entertainment news.


CALLERS ALIGN TO WHAT HE’S SAYING MOST OF THE TIME. Many callers listen to The Herd because they appreciate his insight, experience and perspective about life, sports and work. Often, he has callers who don’t necessarily agree with his position. These are often callers who may agree with Colin 90% of the time. Because they have a strong opinion which is contrary to Colin’s, they are motivated to call the show. Often, he comes down hard on them and may not let them finish. Does he not realize these callers generally agree with him? Does he care that these callers are also his customers? Colin is not shy about ridiculing a caller’s opinion, often certain statements or key words are mentioned by callers that may touch a nerve that my prompt Colin to go on a mini-rant. I cringe when I hear such an interaction.

HAS NO ISSUE INTERRUPTING. I also cringe when he interrupts a caller who has not finished their question or statement. God only knows how long these callers have been waiting and to be interrupted or scolded after their statement shows a lack of respect. Why not give them a platform of 20, 40 or 60 seconds? Speaking of respect, thanking callers for phoning in would be the polite thing to do.

HYPERBOLE ANYONE? He exaggerates sometimes. Perhaps not as much as Tony and Mike on PTI but enough so that it catches your attention. Let’s be honest, which ESPN show would not qualify for a little exaggeration from time to time?

ESPN HEAVY. Most of his guests are from ESPN. That’s generally good but it would be helpful if he could get guests on from CBS Sports, NBCSN or Fox Sports.

SOMETIMES PETTY WITH A STRONG OPINION? For example, he stated a few weeks ago that Steph Curry and Clay Thompson were the two best shooting guards in the history of the NBA. He said, “Don’t argue, end of discussion, it’s true.” I’d tend to agree with him, however, there’s no discussion or debate? What’s wrong with some discussion? I’d like him to be more open to other perspectives for the sake of discussion instead of making up his mind and squelching debate.

RARELY WILL CHALLENGE GUESTS. He’ll challenge callers unlike his guests. I’m sure he has more respect for his guests. Sometimes, he has an opinion about a topic and when a guest comes on that’s contrary to that opinion, often, he doesn’t engage in an honest dialogue.

LACK OF INTERVIEWING FOLLOW UPS. He may have 8 minutes for the interview and 5 questions to ask. That’s his agenda for that segment. However, sometimes, good interviewers will deviate from the script if they hear certain responses that warrant a follow up question. This approach sometimes can provide interesting thoughts and insights. This isn’t one of his strong suits as I don’t hear Colin deviate much from his script although picking your spots to do so can be rewarding.


Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

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