Holed up at home, recovering from a broken ankle, Kevin Ritz started to toy with the idea of launching a KC-centric podcast — despite living in a city rich with audio storytellers, he noted.
“I did a lot of research as far as seeing if there was a podcast [about Kansas City] out there already and there really wasn’t one that I could find,” explained Ritz, co-host of the State Your Line podcast — which sees him and his brother, Danny Ritz, tackle all things Kansas City, from sports to food to business.
With some minor research and roughly $100 spent, the brothers were airwave ready — unsure of what they might find on the other end of the microphone, they admitted.
“We’ve always kind of enjoyed bantering and enjoyed having conversations in general; that’s kind of how our family is too. So it was funny to say it out loud because you’re like, ‘Why would anyone want to hear us talk?’” joked Danny Ritz.
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“We didn’t think anyone would listen. … but it [became] very evident with all the KC Heart shirts, all the local businesses that people like to talk about and support, [that we had an audience],” said Danny Ritz, adding a connection to Colleen Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Westport Inn, pushed the newly launched talker into overdrive.
“We could now say, ‘We’ve had an owner of one of the most famous bars in the city on, so having Colleen on definitely gave us early legitimacy, and I’m just surprised that we haven’t really been told no,” Danny Ritz said of the way Kansas City has embraced the side project.
In just under 50 episodes, the Ritz brothers have welcomed such Kansas City names as Mayor Quinton Lucas and Mick Shaffer, 41-Action News sports director — the result of a one-off social media collision.
“We had a buddy coming in from London, bringing us that McDonald’s burger, the Kansas City Stack … We were tweeting about it from our page and Mick Shaffer sees it and he messages us like, ‘Hey, are you guys serious? … Are you actually going to try this? I need to send a news crew there,’” recalled Kevin Ritz, highlighting one of the more memorable experiences that has resulted from State Your Line and a crash course in bartering.
“I was like, ‘Aright, send the news crew but in exchange will you come on our podcast?’” he said, noting Shaffer was more than willing to give the brothers an hour of his time.
While sports drives plenty of State Your Line’s content, it isn’t the only space the Ritz brothers are playing in — dedicating themselves to highlighting all Kansas City has to offer, including such topics as food, arts, entrepreneurship and always aiming to feature candid conversations with guests that takes them out of their traditional element.
“We definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously … or seriously at all,” Danny Ritz said as a sly smile crept across his face.
“[When we interviewed Mayor Lucas] someone said, ‘Why didn’t you ask this …?’ something about some pressing issues, and we’re like, ‘Because this is a stupid, fun podcast interview that we were hoping could open him up and show a different side of him.’”
Noteworthy podcast guests in the startup space have included Bo Nelson, owner of Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters; Harrison Proffit, co-founder of Bungii; Matt Baysinger, co-founder of Swell Spark; and Keith Bradley, co-owner of Made in KC.
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NYE Episode with Matt Baysinger, CEO of Swell Spark! You may know Swell Spark better from it’s interactive experiences such as Breakout KC and Blade & Timber! . . . #breakoutkc #breakoutrooms #kansascity #wesportkc #chiefs #chiefskingdom #kclove #kclocal #igkc #kcig #kansascitymo #kc #kcpodcast #kcblogger #igkansascity #kcmo
As the brothers near their first anniversary as podcast personalities, they’re looking to up their game, hoping to welcome one of Kansas City’s most polarizing figures and the source of much of their routine content — Brittany Matthews, girlfriend of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
“Obviously we’d love to have Pat, but Pat would be a boring guest,” Danny Ritz laughed, explaining Mahomes gets plenty of airtime and the brothers often poke fun at fan reactions to Matthews’ social media posts.
“If we could get Brittany Lynn on and just ask her about some of the things she does on social media and how she grew that brand, I think people would be interested,” he continued.
“We’re not the traditional media — we don’t have the responsibility of being actual journalists … we’re just kind of fake media. I think we could get her to open up and I think that’d be fun and I think our listeners would get a kick out of it.”
An invitation to Matthews is open, the brothers said, noting she’s welcome to contact them anytime.
Click here to listen to the latest episode of State Your Line.