Many of us hear “journalism” and picture a writer armed with a notepad, eager to report on the latest scoop. However, what it means to be a journalist these days has been radically altered by the Internet -— now anyone can be a journalist. Journalism students across campus are starting to drop their pen and paper to pick up a microphone as podcasting brings a new edge to modern journalism, and one student is broadcasting his passion countrywide. Chris Platte, MSU student and the voice of two podcasts, “Strictly Hoop Talk” and “Strictly Hip-Hop,” is using the evolution of journalism to create a self-started career in sports talk and music review.
“Strictly Hoop Talk” and “Strictly Hip-Hop” are exactly what they sound like: two podcasts about basketball and music, respectively. Platte’s podcasts feature an extensive list of guests ranging from his close friends to well-known sports and music commentators to fellow MSU students. With these guests, Platte discusses NBA basketball and hip-hop albums and artists from the classics to the present day. And his conversations never get old; with a total of over 80,000 listeners between the two podcasts (usually hundreds each day), Platte’s popularity is widespread, with followers from Michigan to California.
Unsurprisingly, his drive to succeed and his talent for talking hip-hop and basketball has garnered the attention of others in the field. He currently collaborates with his favorite platform, “Dead End Hip-Hop,” which covers hip-hop news and has over 180,000 subscribers on YouTube. In the future, Platte hopes to add voices to his podcasts like prominent YouTube figure BigQuint Indeed who posts popular reaction videos to new R&B and hip-hop albums.
An MSU junior with a focus in broadcasting, Platte’s first goal was to forge a career in sports radio until a friend inspired him to start podcasting in high school.
“I didn’t really know what a podcast was, and my friend who was a year above me in high school and is a broadcast phenomenon said, ‘Hey, you should come and try a podcast with me.’ I tried it, and I loved it,” Platte said.
A week later, Platte bought a microphone (the same one he uses today) and started his NBA podcast, “Strictly Hoop Talk.” He worked on it sporadically for about four years, and in January 2016 he began working on it consistently. The following April, he introduced the Internet to his second creation, “Strictly Hip-Hop.”
There was never a question about what Platte’s podcasts would focus on.
“It’s a cliché, but it’s true; I really feel like I had four parents growing up and that was my mom, my dad, hip-hop and basketball,” he said. “I’ve loved basketball since I was in second grade when the 2004 Pistons won the championship, and I remember the first game I watched with Chauncey Billups… it’s considered one of the greatest basketball playoffs of all time, and I was addicted from that point on.”
Platte’s passion for hip-hop developed later than his love for basketball, but the two don’t rival each other.
“In high school, I started to listen to hip-hop deeply,” Platte said. “I found Tupac, I found all of these rappers and just kind of branched out and really got into it … Hip-hop taught me that you have to work hard for your respect … Even more than that, hip-hop taught me worldviews that my parents could never teach me. My parents grew up in middle-class America, [so] they could never teach me about the struggles of inner city communities, the things that I can live through when I listen to “Good Kid: M.A.A.D City” by Kendrick Lamar.”
A huge part of podcasting for Platte is forming connections, both between his listeners and the guests he welcomes onto his show.
“Podcasting is a great outlet to just have conversations and meet people. I’ve gotten connected with so many people through podcasting,” he said. “I’m pretty ambitious when it comes to reaching out to people. I want to have a revolving door of guests. The show isn’t built around me; it’s built around my guests. When I want to work with a person, I reach out to them, and we just kind of brainstorm together. It’s a collaborative effort.”
Upcoming podcasts will feature people like Duncan Smith, who writes for “Piston Powered,” one of the top opinion and news sites of the Detroit Pistons. “Strictly Hoop Talk” and “Strictly Hip-Hop” are posted without a schedule; Platte’s focus is on delivering quality content to his listeners on a regular basis.
“It’s very fluid and organic, and I think that’s what makes it the best,” he said. “To me, it’s very natural. Podcasts themselves are conversations.”
The more classes he takes in MSU’s journalism program, the easier podcasting becomes.
“As far as the education, I’ve never been a talented journalist,” Platte said. “I’m learning about journalism and how to apply journalism ethics to the world of broadcasting. Broadcasters are journalists because we have to do research; we have to dig through stories. All those things are essential tools, and they’re things I’m learning at MSU. Also, the MSU brand is very powerful, and something that’s great to connect with and meet people.”
Platte’s future plans for the podcasts aren’t set in stone, except he knows he’ll continue to make them, even if they become a side project.
“I think that ‘Strictly Hip-Hop’ and ‘Strictly Hoop Talk’ is something I will do ‘til I die,” he said. “It will evolve, I’m sure, because everything has to evolve to stay relevant. I plan on always doing it because podcasting is a thing that you can make a career out of. I want to build my own platform because I want to have my own voice, and quite frankly, I like being my own boss.”
If you’re interested in following Chris Platte and the future of his podcasts, check him out on Twitter @realchrisplatte, and find “Strictly Hoop Talk” and “Strictly Hip-Hop” on iTunes and Podbean.