Pardon My Take. The Kelce Brothers. Bill Simmons. The shows at the top of national sports podcast lists for North Carolinians are no different than most states.
But a handful of shows have managed to attract and keep a loyal, local audience of listeners by consistently delivering content on the sports topics NC fans care about most.
With the upcoming launch of online sports betting in North Carolina, these pods will be valuable airwaves for apps to get the attention of state sports fans.
Which ones resonate most with NC sports fans? Podcast charts are unreliable narrators, as algorithms sometimes slant toward podcasts owned by platforms like Spotify. Also, Apple podcast lists skew towards growth, giving new shows on the block an unfair leg up.
But since we love to rank here at NCSharp, we crunched the numbers in a handful of ways, detailed below. Here are North Carolina’s five most popular local sports podcasts.
5. Locked On Wolfpack
Forgive North Carolina State fans for sometimes feeling that they get short shrift among local college sports coverage.
That makes a show like Locked On Wolfpack by hosts Grayson Boone and Kenton Gibbs essential to fill in the holes as traditional outlets continue to trim resources.
The Locked On Podcast Network, started by Utah Jazz announcer David Locke, has a wide range of quality shows delivered by local journalists and passionate fans. Boone and Gibbs are among the strong ones, putting out shows with both professionalism and the passion of faithful fans.
The show’s X account also live tweets big games with a fan’s voice, giving listeners a “One Of Us” feel. Wolfpack fans can find a home here.
4. Canes Corner with Adam Gold
Speaking of short shrift in coverage, NHL fans all over the United States can relate to the plight of Wolfpack fans.
Canes Corner, a podcast from 99.9-FM The Fan in Raleigh, isn’t quite regular enough to become part of appointment listening for Carolina Hurricanes fans. But host Adam Gold is a real pro, delivering post-game rundowns for a strong run of hockey in the Triangle.
The show also streams on YouTube through the 99.9 The Fan page.
3. Locked On Hornets
Hosts Doug Branson and Walker Mehl have been at it for a while, putting in yeoman’s work on a franchise that hasn’t reciprocated with its own success.
Branson writes about the team for Every Hornets Boxscore, his substack. Mehl also hosts afternoons on WFNZ-FM with Wes Bryant.
There are too many commercials for the short Locked On episodes, but that’s not the hosts’ fault, and you can skip through them. Locked On Hornets has a 4.9-star rating and deserves those high marks with professional insight and honest, straightforward analysis of a team often in peril.
2. Inside Carolina
Inside Carolina is the brand for the 247Sports subsite about North Carolina athletics. The site and supporting podcast do an outstanding job keeping UNC fans up-to-date about the iconic brand.
A rotating crew of UNC experts provide regular and often bite-sized reactions, giving fans relevant discourse.
The fan base has responded, giving a 4.9-star rating on Spotify. The variety is excellent, and the cast of experts is vast.
1. Ovies & Giglio
It’s a 5-star rating on Spotify, and it’s easy to see why. Longtime Triangle journalist Joe Giglio launched the podcast with co-host Joe Ovies last summer, and it’s quickly become the cream of the crop.
A show of radio quality is sometimes hard to find in the sports podcast world, and the Joes pull it off. Ovies & Giglio covers all things that Carolina residents care about, focusing often on college sports, Giglio’s expertise.
One to watch
Bull City Bets, a Sam and Brad Eberwein project, is positioned nicely for future success.
The North Carolina brothers are relating their tales as first-time sports bettors. That’ll be a familiar story after the market launches later this year.
Our managing editor, Tyler Andrews, is appearing on the podcast soon. Be sure to check it out.
To create this ranking, NCSharp analyzed top podcast charts, podcast ratings and reviews, social media following and consulted with North Carolina sports experts. We also listened to the shows to help determine the connection with local listeners.