A lot can change in six years. People change. Fandoms change. Your interests change. There is no podcast that is better at reflecting this then “It’s Super Effective” from PKMNcast who are now celebrating their sixth anniversary!
The adventure all begun in 2010 when Steven Black Jr. decided to take up the microphone to talk about Pokemon by creating It’s Super Effective. It was a single person journey but he eventually gathered a group of friends to talk about Pokemon on a weekly basis. The show has done almost everything involving Pokemon from the TCG, video games, Pokemon Shuffle and more. The show use to have a focus on mostly video game and TCG but now has become just a weekly show of “cool guys talking about Pokemon”. They have gotten several fans who come weekly to talk to such an amazing group of hosts via several outlets.
The format and look of the show may have changed but the one thing that ISE has always kept was Pokemon in the core of the show. Pokemon has always been the name of the game as SBJ has organize art shows and booked several famed personalities that may or may not relate to Pokemon. In order to reflect upon how much the show has changed and anniversary, SBJ has unveil a new look for the show. You can check out a sneak peek of the new look in the image at the top of the article. We also welcome you guys to check out PKMNcast.com!
It is on PKMNcast’s sixth anniversary that we decided to sit down with founder and main host SBJ for an interview. This is a long interview but filled with a lot of information about the podcast. We hope you enjoy this interview.
Pokemon Crossroads: This story has been mention on the podcast before but I think this has to be asked all the time. Especially after PKMNcast/Its Super Effective has now been around for six years ago, what made you decide to start a Pokemon podcast?
Steven Black Jr: Ha, yeah, this has been asked a lot. I was a huge, huge fan of a podcast called 1UP Yours. The week HeartGold/SoulSilver came out I was so excited to hear their thoughts about the game on the show. That episode came and went with no coverage of HGSS. I waited for the following podcast assuming that they just didn’t play enough of it, and again, no coverage. Frustrated that one of my favorite gaming podcasts just skipped over covering HG/SS I went in search for a podcast that would talk about these games. When I couldn’t find a podcast that I enjoyed, I started my own.
PXR: What is the story behind the name of the podcast? Originally I have seen it go by “Pokemon Podcast” to “PKMNcast” and now it seems like “Its Super Effective” is commonly being used.
SBJ: “Pokémon Podcast” was the original name because of Google Search results and it summed up the show instantly (plus the domain was ripe for the taking). It was changed to PKMNcast.com shortly after to really not draw attention to the use of the word Pokémon once I started to sell stickers and buttons. I didn’t want TCPi to come after me. That being said, PKMNcast is just short for Pokémon podcast and the domains still direct respectfully. “It’s Super Effective” is the name of the podcast and PKMNcast.com is the home for that. At one point, we had other Pokémon-related shows or planned for more, so the idea was that you could go to PKMNcast.com to catch up on ISE or other shows. That being said, since the website isn’t really the main focus, you’ll hear me just say “It’s Super Effective” more because that’s the main draw.
PXR: I recall you had other podcasts such as “Critical Hit” and “Leftovers”. What inspired the creation of these podcasts and what happen to them? Why is Leftovers consider to be ‘on hiatus’ on Bulbapedia?
SBJ: I wanted PKMNcast to be a podcast network of a variety of shows. I actually own the domain SuperEffective.FM, which would be the host to other shows under a network. It’s something I wanted to do 6 years ago and never got off the ground. Obviously Critical Hit and Leftovers didn’t do well enough to keep going. Dungeons & Dragonites, is something that did take off.
As for the Bulbapedia page, it just doesn’t get updated as often as it should, but I don’t think Leftovers or Critical Hit would be worth talking about on that page since both had less than 4 episodes.
PXR: Your podcast have had several cohost throughout the years. How did you met them and what made you want them on the show?
SBJ: Travis e-mailed me and was a huge super fan. After having him on, we just had great chemistry. Pretty much all the people who have been on (the show) contacted me in some way because they were super fans. I think meeting Travis and other co-hosts really cemented their position on the show. I always wanted to have people to rotate in and out, just because I didn’t want to rely on certain people and then their life changes and eventually the show falls apart. You see that with other multi-person projects, one person doesn’t want to do it anymore and then that said product/service stops cold.
PXR: Travis and Will have maybe been around the longest as cohosts. What do you like about them and why have they been on the show for so long?
SBJ: Travis is reliable and flexible. He fits our competitive side that fans have a desire for. Will is someone I talk to daily, and someone who knows me very well. That being said, Will brought a much need maturity to the show. There was a point in time where I wanted to have more in-depth and even more difficult conversations. I knew that Will could bring that discussion to the show. Micah brings a very laid back style to the show, but can also be serious to topics he’s passionate about. Logan brings enthusiasm and brings up points that the other co-hosts may look past. Travis and Will are the staples, of course.
PXR: Several people have joined the podcast throughout the years and have left, which old members do you miss the most and would love to have back for just one more episode?
SBJ: You know, that’s a hard question. I’d like to give the answer that I’d like to see all the old co-hosts back, but the reality is people change. More importantly, I’ve changed. I think the show is the strongest it’s ever been and I am really proud of ISE’s growth. Would I like to see some old people back? Sure, but the door has always been open for them, they just haven’t taken advantage of it.
PXR: What are your opinions of the podcast’s first ten episodes? Do you like them? Anything you wish could have come out differently?
SBJ: The first 10 episodes represent a passion that I had. I was passionate without a direction. I learned a lot in the past 200+ episodes. I learned how to edit, I learned how to pace a show, I’ve learned how to keep a conversation going. I don’t prefer people to listen to those older episodes, but if it provides any ounce of entertainment, that’s great. I actually don’t remember a single thing about episodes 3 to 10. I remember 1 and 2 okay, but I haven’t the slightly clue what I’ve said in those first couple.
PXR: PKMNcast has covered several different topics. What is the process in picking a topic of an episode?
SBJ: Topics are usually decided the day before or even the morning of. The show has a pretty loose format to encourage natural conversations.
PXR: Speaking about topics, the podcast has changed a lot from the early days. The current format feels different compare to before. Does it seem like that to you and why?
SBJ: I love the current format of the show. The podcast started off as a competitive video game podcast. After I learned that I wasn’t the most knowledgeable in that topic, we branched off into everything. I got really good and knowledgeable about the TCG, and there was a solid year that ISE had plenty of TCG coverage. I think both extremes, competitive video games to competitive card games really alienated the audience, or at least, the audience that I wanted. The format now is more focused on the personalities on the show. You can get Pokémon news or information anywhere, the voices on ISE are what is unique and should be the real draw.
PXR: I actually remember getting into the podcast during or before your TCG days. I was just getting into the TCG at the time and it felt great to hear about another Pokemon fan getting into the TCG for the first time. What made you want to get into the TCG at the time? Would you be willing to get back into it even just for a little bit?
SBJ: I played the TCG as a kid with my friends, and so it was just a pastime that I wanted to play again after starting the podcast. I then fell down a rabbit hole of meeting other people who played and played it competitively. I enjoyed the two years I did play competitively, but the time spent on that hobby was way to much. Would I get back in? Sure, but not as intense as when I played pretty much every weekend.
PXR: Your podcats has interview several different guest in the last three years. You have had Joe from Serebii and recently JWittz. How does it feel to have these guests on your show? Was it hard to get them to make an appearance?
SBJ: We just had on WWE’s Xaiver Woods and Giant Bomb’s Dan Ryckert too. Having these guests feels amazing. There’s a feeling of respect and validity to the show when we can get a guest on. I hope our listeners enjoy the guests we have on! Getting them on is the hardest part, and holding the surprise before the episode debuts is just as difficult.
PXR: Who would you like to have on the show in the future?
SBJ: There are a ton of people I would love to get on, but communication is the hardest part.
PXR: What inspired the recently change in the intro and outro music? Who made them? What did you choose those pieces of Pokemon music to base the intro and outro music? Personally, I love the current intro music and I especially love the intro music for Dungeons and Dragonites. I love it so much that I repeat the music several times before actually listening to the actual episode.
SBJ: My friend Nick made the intro and outro music. I worked with him to pick a tune from Pokémon I liked and reworked it to capture a more energetic feel when the show started. That music is unique and custom to our show and it’s such a strong way to start off the episodes (and finish). The music part of ISE was a big thing to me to get right. I think it forms a strong first impression. I want people to hear the intro, go “wow, this sounds great” and then get welcomed into our voices and personalizes. There are so many outlets to get Pokémon news and so the show has really moved focused on the voices that you hear week to week.
PXR: One of the biggest things that PKMNcast has done in the past was hosting art shows. What was the reasoning for that? Do you think you would be willing to do an event similar to those in the future?
SBJ: I woke up one day and wanted to put on an art show. I’ve never done it before, I didn’t know how to do it, but I wanted to try. That being said, I somehow made it happen… twice. I had a drive of wanting to do something, experience it, and learn from it. Would I do another art show in the future… maybe? I’m not sure how much more I would get out of doing a third show when I could use that time spent doing something new.
PXR: That is what I really love about your podcast. You were able to and willing to bring together fans in a new and unique way. In this case it was an art show. That was amazing to hear and report about. Just randomly, what would you like to try to do that is new if money wasn’t a factor?
SBJ: If money wasn’t a factor, I would love to do a Pokémon convention. The art show was a mini-one of sort. That being said, TCPi doesn’t like when you charge people to do Pokémon related things, so that’s a reality that would probably never happen. Instead, my new goal is to try to go to more conventions to speak and to meet fans.
PXR: How has running a podcast effected your life?
SBJ: It’s time consuming, but the good kind of time consuming. I like talking and I like that people listen to what I have to say. Some people get the thrill of riding a roller coaster, I get a thrill of somebody telling me they enjoyed the latest episode. Life’s not really different outside of recording my thoughts weekly and having people tell me they enjoyed those thoughts.
PXR: In your opinion, what do you think is the best feature about your podcast?
SBJ: The personalities and how our community reacts to that.
PXR: What is your favorite thing about the Pokemon fandom?
SBJ: The Pokémon conversation never stops moving. After 20 years, there is always something new or unique to talk about.
PXR: What do you enjoy about the podcast’s fans?
SBJ: I get to talk to a lot of fans via our Slack community. When you see trolls or terrible comments on forums and websites daily, you hope that your fanbase are not those people. ISE’s fans are just really down to earth and awesome.
PXR: What kind of advice would you give to any of the podcast’s fans who may be interested in podcasting? Either Pokemon or another subject.
SBJ: Consistency. Stick to a schedule and do it. If you show is coming out every Friday, do not miss a Friday. After you are established, sure take a week off if needed, but your start is very important. Also, edit your show. Remove silences or “umms” from you audio. If you don’t have the drive to do that, then podcasting is probably not for you.
PXR: How do you think the podcast has grown since the beginning?
SBJ: I think the podcast had a pretty slow growth in the beginning. In retrospect, I’m glad it didn’t blow up out of the gate because I was too immature and young to handle that kind of attention. Now that ISE sits high in iTunes and gets cool people like Xavier Woods on, I’m glad that it’s happening now where I can make more informed and educated decisions to keep ISE a solid product.
PXR: Where do you think the podcast will be in another three years?
SBJ: Hopefully still around!
PXR: What is your favorite podcast memory?
SBJ: Right now, probably the last couple interviews I’ve done. JWittz, Xavier Woods, Dan Ryckert all stand out as milestones for the show.
PXR: Speaking of podcast memories, your podcast has a few memes that came from a few episodes. What are some of your favorite podcast meme?
SBJ: Probably my favorite “meme” or gimmick is our Healthy Living segment. It was a joke at first, but then we brought it back in future episodes to reference the joke, and then people really just wanted to hear our thoughts on living better. I can’t help but smile doing that segment now, even though I try to be honest and educational.
PXR: Which podcast episode from the last year would you like to recommend to new listeners and why?
PXR: Lastly, what would you like to tell to fans of the podcasts? What can they expect in the next year?
SBJ: Expect to get to know the voices you hear weekly even better. Expect the show to tackle harder discussions. Expect the show to make your laugh even more. Expect more butchering of Pokémon names.
We would like to thank SBJ and the team behind ISE. It has been a wonderful experience listening to It’s Super Effective and we can’t wait to hear what will come in the future! Happy anniversary!