Michael Smith and Jemele Hill - January 11, 2013

Between Kenny Masenda, Justin Tinsley, Brandon Lewis and myself, the ETSF/TSFJ crew has been producing The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show live podcast for over three years. When we first started it, we figured it’d be an easy task where we could all come together, talk crazy and have folks vibe with us. Yet, once we really started getting it going, one thing became very apparent….this podcast was going to take some hard work and dedication. (Thanks to you guys, we’re averaging ~2,000 listeners/week. Thanks for your continued support!)

So, once I heard that ESPN’s Michael Smith and Jemele Hill would be claiming their own audio real estate with a podcast, I was genuinely excited for the duo. They are both journalists that I highly respect and plan on listening to on a regular basis.

Jemele was gracious enough to give me a few minutes of her time to answer a few questions about the new podcast, “His and Hers” and discuss among other things: how the name came about, the stories that inspired them to start the show, and why the fellas should put the video game controller down for a lady. Enjoy the Q&A session.

Can you explain how the name, “His and Hers” came about for the podcast? I thought it was ladies first?

I actually came up with the name. As all women know, the male ego is fragile and sometimes we have to go out of our way to make you guys feel good about yourselves.

No, but in all seriousness, in the podcast space, I thought it was pretty unique to have a man and woman talking about sports culture. I wanted to play off our different genders, and the fact that we jokingly call ourselves “work husband and work wife.” This podcast is the story of our 10-plus-year friendship. We’re very close, but we argue about everything. We’re basically the male-female version of Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon.

How long has this project been in the making at the Worldwide Leader? Were there any major hurdles?

This was a quick, seamless process. Mike and I have been trying to work together for a long time. We were thirsty for an opportunity, and to be honest, it just didn’t look like there was anything that could develop on the TV side. So we took the idea to the audio content people late last year. Knocked out an audition and they thought our chemistry was phenomenal. And that was pretty much it.

Clearly this will be a sports-focused podcast, but what other elements do you plan to provide during the show?

Sports will be the entry point for our conversations, but trust me, we’ll be arguing about music, movies, male-female relationships, race, religion — the full gamut. That’s why I’d describe this podcast as “sports culture.” If you’re downloading this podcast expecting us to debate the merits of the Cover 2, then you’ve come to the wrong podcast.

What’s the one story of the last 12 months that you wished you could’ve tackled on the podcast?

It’s funny, because once we knew when the podcast would launch, every day there was something we wished we could have discussed on our podcast. Our audition happened right during the Jovan Belcher controversy, and we had a frank discussion about domestic violence, mental health, and other issues that situation brought to the forefront. Also, Manti Te’o happened. There was so much we had to say about that, too. Another good topic we wanted to discuss was Phil Jackson deciding to finally get engaged. We wanted to discuss what’s an acceptable length of time for a woman to wait on a engagement ring.

Finally, the most important question, will you be giving dating advice to the fellas on the ills of playing Madden when a chick may or may not be digging a man?

The irony of that story about Mike dissing me back in the day for Madden is that I was a serious video game player myself in those days. I had been playing Madden since the Sega Genesis days. Unfortunately, Mike had such disastrous game, he never found that out. I could have helped him turn the Cardinals into a Super Bowl team. But I digress.

In general, I think most women can accept men who play video games. What we can’t accept is men who play video games at the expense of being engaged in real life. The same goes for sports. I do have to be honest, I haven’t dated a man who played video games in a long time. At some point, you do have to retire the controller. I certainly had to.

Jemele and Mike’s podcast will air every Monday, and you can subscribe to the His and Hers podcast via iTunes or listen in directly on ESPN Radio.