Sitting in the Kappa Sigma fraternity basement one night, Ryan Haase and four of his friends decided they wanted to make their own mark on Philadelphia sports coverage.
Haase and his friend David Fenster, a 2018 media studies and production alumnus, had just finished recording their sports talk show for WHIP, Temple University’s student-run radio show.
“We started due to us being on WHIP Radio at Temple,” said Haase, a 2018 media studies and production alumnus. “We wanted to find a way to expand our content and that led us to podcasts. If it wasn’t for the experience there, we would never be ‘The Phifth Quarter.’”
Haase, Fenster and their other three friends formed “The Phifth Quarter,” a media outlet that provides breaking news, insights and analysis on the Philadelphia 76ers.
One of the challenges the company’s team has faced is discerning which material is suitable for the podcast and what makes more sense to have written as a column online.
Haase said the writers cover more formal topics and delve into the analytics of basketball while the podcast is more free and creatively driven.
Fenster, the other co-host who handles the production side of the podcast, said it’s a long but gratifying process every time he finishes editing an episode.
In the podcast, the hosts often go on tangents about other sports, topics that cross their minds or even the 76ers point guard Ben Simmons’s rumored girlfriend and supermodel Kendall Jenner, Haase added.
As the program and digital media director, Joshua Lyons, a 2018 business administration alumnus and founding member of “The Phifth Quarter,” also manages the company’s social media accounts. Live tweeting influences what the team talks and writes about on a daily basis, Lyons said.
“We prepare pregame articles to get us ready for Sixers games, postgame articles to recap the 48-plus minutes of madness on the court and write almost anything that’s on our mind throughout the season and all of our ideas and information,” Lyons added.
“The Phifth Quarter” has writers from both coasts, including ones who aren’t fans of the 76ers. A contributor who lives in Boston, Massachusetts is well-known for his critical opinions of the Philadelphia team. The reason for diversity in the writers’ locations is to have more exposure, as well as perspectives from individuals outside the Philadelphia market, Haase said.
“The Phifth Quarter” team has expanded its audience to more than 5,000 Twitter followers, after its initial experiment in 2016 with a Philadelphia sports podcast on Wildfire Radio, Haase said. The company’s website has averaged 15,000 viewers over the past two months, he added.
Hasse compares the company’s rise in the industry to the 76ers’ surge from a 19-win team in 2013-14 to being in the playoffs last year.
“You know the Sixers sucked for a while, ‘trust the process,’ and we had to, as fans, watch them grow,” Haase said. “We feel like we’ve kind of mirrored their development in how we started out as a little frat basement project and now we’ve gotten to where we are.”
Hasse said Paul Gluck, a media studies and production professor, played an influential role in his career.
Gluck, who taught Haase in History of Electronic Media, saw his “industrious” and “tenacious” work ethic, Gluck said.
“Talk with him for 10 minutes, and you know that his passion for sports runs deep,” Gluck said. “He has the enthusiasm of a true fan but is tough and honest in his perspective. That shines through in his podcast.”
With “The Phifth Quarter” competing with other Philadelphia sports outlets for views and listeners, Haase said their style separates them from the pack.
“Just being ourselves and being different makes us good,” Haase said. “Sports radio, even though we don’t really consider ourselves that, is trending towards being laid back and allowing for more creativity. I think we have always set out to do that and make it fun for our listeners to engage.”
“We love to stay engaged by tweeting updates, making jokes and showing highlights to help Sixers fans that may not be able to watch the game at home,” Lyons said. “… We are fans just as much as our followers.”