99.9 The Fan Producer/Board Operator Dennis Cox and WRAL-TV Sports Anchor/Reporter Chris Lea had never met in person when they realized they wanted to do a podcast together. Lea had recently joined the WRAL team and Cox had taken on a larger role at CBC Sports Radio when the two got to know each other virtually.
“A few weeks after I started working at WRAL on March 4th, 2020, Dennis Cox went from a part-time to a full-time position at 99.9 The Fan,” explained Lea. “Because of COVID-19, we never met each other in person until 2021, but we quickly formed a relationship based on our mutual admiration for professional wrestling. We both wanted to do a podcast, but not necessarily one surrounding only pro wrestling, but we didn’t want to ignore wrestling.”
The duo brainstormed until they came up with an idea.
“Then we got it,” said Lea. “We decided to celebrate the state of North Carolina.”
He continued, “Over the summer of 2020, while only being able to talk on the phone or text, Dennis and I came up with the concept of ‘Culture State’, our new podcast that just debuted on the Capitol Broadcasting Company Podcast Network. We realized that this state had deep influences in sports, pop culture and in pro wrestling and we both wanted to create a platform to explore those influences and allow those key contributors to tell their stories.”
The pair got to work exploring the wide variety of topics that theme opened to them. They actually taped the first interview back in September but with election season and other adjustments, launched the podcast and the first episode on January 27, 2021.
Cox described the focus of the podcast as, “Celebrating those who put North Carolina on the sports & pop-culture map. And some fun conversations between Chris and myself, including stories about us splitting our pants in public; Chris on live TV, and mine on a date.”
And they finally got to meet each other in person.
“We record together in the same building, but we’re in separate studios,” said Cox. “We can see each other through the glass, but we’re never in the same studio booth together.”
Despite the challenges of COVID, they have become fast friends.
“I love working with Chris,” said Cox. “Our backgrounds and journeys have a lot of similarities, we have the same ‘underdog’ mentality, and like Chris said recently, it’s like we’re long lost brothers who finally met. Plus, we get to talk to some pretty awesome people!”
New episodes drop every Wednesday morning. The latest episode of Culture State is available wherever you get your podcasts.
Find Culture State on the Capitol Broadcasting Podcast Network
Listeners can download and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Pocketcasts, & more. As well as the WRALSportsFan App. Follow the show on Twitter & Instagram at @CultureStatePod. Follow Chris Lea at @ChrisLeaTV on Twitter & IG, and Dennis Cox at @TheFanRookie on Twitter & IG.