Ed Urban has a way with words, so it’s no surprise his basement is filled with microphones.
It’s where his buddies gather each week to throw back some beers, share jokes and stories, rib each other a little, and record the popular podcast “Late Night with Ed Money.”
From his house in Amherst, Urban (who’s had the “Money” nickname since childhood) reaches out each week to an estimated 50,000 listeners who download the show to phones, tablets, and computers.
Be ye warned, should you decide to click play: “Late Night” comes with a mature rating for language and adult themes. “Everything you’re about to hear is done by drunk, trained professionals,” says a disclaimer at the top of each episode.
If you like rock and roll and fart humor, the show just might be for you.
Topics have included problems with an obese gentleman who wanted to line-jump at a local store, an airplane trip with a child who had pinkeye, yoga pants, blowing your nose while using the toilet, and the 1970s and 80s TV show “CHiPs.”
None of those topics embarrass Urban and company. Far from it: “If you go to the bar to hang out on a Friday or Saturday night, those are probably the kind of things you’re going to laugh about,” he said. “That’s why we say this show is real people, real conversations, real life.”
“My pitch to people is that it’s like ‘Wayne’s World’ meets Howard Stern,” Urban laughed. “I guess it’s a poor man’s version of that.”
As of this writing, 342 episodes of the podcast have been released over the course of eight years.
Fans circle the globe. Recent emails and tweets have come in from Oklahoma, Brazil, and Japan.
Urban, now 48, first got behind a microphone at the urging of his friend, James Deemer, who worked as a DJ in Chicago. One thing led to another and soon Urban was also broadcasting — at least for about six months, when the network started worrying about sponsor reactions to his show.
That’s where the podcast started to take shape, without worries about what bosses, the Federal Communications Commission, or advertisers would think.
“It started out as a joke but it just started growing,” Urban said. “It kind of exploded. I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought I was a normal boob.”
At first he recorded as a form of therapy.
“A tortured kid” is how Urban describes his younger self. He said he always felt like an outcast, like he was “bonkers in my own mind.” He felt he had to hide his strangeness from the world, that nobody liked him.
“What this show lets me do is share those thoughts and have an audience,” he said. “It helped me to open up and realize I’m not alone anymore. I’m not the only one… other people just don’t talk about it.”
At first he didn’t think there was anyone listening out there in the great vastness of the Internet.
Then a funny thing happened. He started to get mail.
The show got correspondence from across the country and across entire continents. Bands started sending him CDs to review or play on air. Companies started sending products to review. Sponsors started signing up.
And guests started showing up: B-movie actress Kinsley Funari, local and state politicians, authors such as Chris Nabakowski, and more.
This, says Urban, is the entertainment that will replace not only terrestrial radio but much of television as well. The Internet gives everyone and anyone — people who would otherwise never have had the chance to express themselves to a global audience — the ability to be a star.
And you don’t have to have the loudest personality to make it big. Urban says his show isn’t based on having insider information or a million-dollar production budget.
“You’re just having a conversation and putting yourself out there,” he said. “Listeners just want a sense that they’re not alone.”
That’s the premise of “Late Night with Ed Money” and it’s why stories about his life in small-town Amherst have such cache with people who’ve never stepped foot in Ohio.
“Amherst is the same small town everywhere. The guy sitting on the bar stool downtown has guys just like him in everybody’s town. So when we talk about it, people can connect their own dots and say, ‘That’s the same bar in my hometown.’”
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Ed Urban poses behind a microphone in his Amherst basement, where “Late Night with Ed Money” is recorded each week.