Consistency and authenticity are the cornerstones of Brandon Pillar and Ross Levitan’s journey in podcasting. Made popular by their extensive hockey expertise, humour, and guest roster, including former Senator Marc Methot, their Locked On Senators Podcast has garnered over 12,000 followers on X alone.
Ross and Brandon met as students of Toronto’s College of Sports Media in 2016, immediately banding together as the only two Sens fans in a room of Leafs fans. Some years later in 2017, they would start LOSP. On October 5th, the duo celebrated their 888th episode, featuring a special appearance by Keith Tkachuk, father of Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk. Brandon and Ross eagerly anticipate sharing their passion with Senators fans once again this season,. We caught up with the power-podcasters to discuss LOSP’s early days, and their recent success in the raucaus world of sports entertainment and media.
Who were your favourite players growing up? What made you love the Sens?
Brandon: My favourite player growing up was Dominik Hasek. I became a hockey fan in 1999 and watching Hasek in the Finals is what made me love the game. The way he was so unorthodox yet so dominant was fascinating for me. I followed him from team to team, then when he landed in Ottawa, I pledged my loyalty to the Sens forever.
If you could have one current or former Senator on your podcast, who would it be and why?
There are some obvious answers like Dominik Hasek, Brady Tkachuk and Daniel Alfredsson. But I actually think the most interesting guest would be Dany Heatley. He still holds the single season goal record for the Sens and the way he left was so chaotic I’d love to hear his side of the story.
Who has been your favourite guest to work with at this point, and what story or tidbit stands out to you most about interviewing them?
Being able to have Marc Methot on the show consistently has been an absolute blast! Meth is a hometown guy who played for the Sens and now works as a broadcaster covering the team so he gives a perfect mix of insight and knowledge. Anytime Meth is on the show, people know we will have an in depth discussion and have a few laughs along the way.
What advice would you give to other podcasters about growing their brand and audience online?
I have two pieces of advice: Be consistent and be true to yourself. People need to see that you’re active and engaging for them to be interested in what you have to say. And don’t try to be something you’re not, people know when you are faking it or putting on an act.
Let’s talk about the upcoming season: what are your expectations for the Ottawa Senators this year, do you guys see them as a playoff team?
We have a saying on the show for this: Playoffs or Bust, no excuses. This team has the star power, has spent to the cap and has missed the playoffs for 6 straight seasons. Even injuries can’t be an excuse, this team has to find a way to make it to the post-season now.
What do you think about the Senators off-season moves – did you like the Tarasenko and Korpisalo signings? Were you fans of the Debrincat trade?
Alex DeBrincat didn’t want to be here, so I’m glad he is gone. Most of the stars and core players can see the vision here and have committed long term. Signing a 29 year old free agent goalie to a 5 year deal is risky, but they got the right guy at the right price in Joonas Korpisalo. Tarasenko feels like a hired gun that may have been a luxury this team can’t afford, but if he produces another 30 goal season it could be a gamble that pays off.
What is a piece of advice you would give to new Senators majority owner Michael Andlauer, and second, what is something you’d like to see the franchise do differently in terms of fan experience?
Michael Andlauer has impressed me so far. He has a focus on treating employees and players right and building a new arena with the fans in mind. My advice to him would be to provide stability and be honest with the fans. Ottawa is a passionate area and can support their team if they are treated right.
For any of our readers who may not have heard it yet, how would you describe your podcast?
We like to think of the Locked On Senators Podcast as the show For Fans, By Fans. Ross and I approach this show as fans of the team but with a polished touch based on our education and job experience in the industry. We aren’t going to tiptoe around negative aspects of the team but also we will be the loudest one’s celebrating their success, we tell it like it is.
What do you hope Santa Dorion brings the Senators roster before the trade deadline this season?
I hope Dorion can provide a roster that can have a winning record in November.