If you’ve been following Scott Bass’ Down the Line Podcast, you’re aware that he’s had a co-host for the past 3-4 years, David Lee Scales. David’s the Creative Director at US Blanks, and as such has a lot of insight into the world of surfboards. I’m guessing that’s how they met, as US Blanks has been both a participant and sponsor of Scott’s bi-annual Boardroom Show.
They have an interesting rapport. David likes facts, likes to keep things on track, and has an eager dog-at-your-feet kind of enthusiasm. Scott’s very laid back. Facts often have less importance to him than opinions; and he has plenty of those. At times, I feel bad for David because it can be hard to get a word in with Scott. And in his old man ways, Scott tends to repeat a point several times in hopes that David will just give in and agree. It’s the Odd Couple archetype and together the do a good job of navigating the generational shift we’re seeing in surfing right now from both perspectives.
Last week, a seemingly innocuous jab about David taking the content and rebranding it on his website set the interwebs in a frenzy. (See the comments on David’s post). In a nutshell, when David joined Scott’s long-running program, they both posted the podcasts on their websites. Scott refers to it by the show’s name on his website, while David has left off Scott’s branding on his site and refers to the show as only ‘Surf News’.
When Scott called him out on it, the conversation revealed that David doesn’t see himself a a co-host on Scott’s show, rather a partner in the entity. He said he wasn’t comfortable using Scott’s brand and several times said that Scott was the only one using the name of the show online. It was a weird and tense exchange that clearly didn’t end with the close of the show.
In a follow up podcast by David alone on his Surf Splendor website, David has suggested that they rebrand as a new show; a jointly owned entity. David suggested that the brand Scott has built over the past decade ‘does not matter at all’, they wouldn’t lose any listeners, and they would both be better for it. As one on the Jack Klugman side of this, I couldn’t disagree more. Down the Line is rather a legend, as is Scott. That has value. I think Scott has a much larger following than he has numbers to show, as that’s no his strong suit.
I’m interested to see how this plays out. I’ve never really been over to Surf Splendor before today and didn’t know who David was 4 years ago. I like him; that’s not the issue. He’s articulate, well-informed, and genuinely loves the world of surfing. However, I just spent the day with thousands of people who came out for Scott’s Boardroom Show and I’m sure many of them wouldn’t recognize David by name or face alone. I think changing the name is a mistake and disagree with David on this one; brand awareness matters. I do agree with the many fans who have already spoken. It’s a great show that I look forward to and enjoy listening to – because of both of them.
Here are links to both podcasts: