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Podcasting Live from the River Bank … "Unashamed with Phil Robertson" … and Sons

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

You know them, you love them … and lets be honest, you miss them.  It has been more than two years since Duck Dynasty went off the air.  Since then, fans of the show have been treated to several books from the Robertson family but nothing quite matches the fun, faith, and family frivolity that ensued each week during their five year run on the A&E Network.

Now, for the first time since the Duck Dynasty finale, family patriarch Phil Robertson joins two of his sons, Al and Jase, to host a weekly podcast called Unashamed with Phil RobertsonOn each episode, the trio will walk listeners through the Bible in a way that is practical, tangible, and real.  Along the way, they will share a few humorous, side-splitting stories that will make you smile for days.  And you never know, Uncle Si may even pop in from time to time.

Watch the first episode of Unashamed with Phil Robertson on YouTube.

I recently spoke to Phil, Al, and Jase from their Unashamed Podcast Command Center (a fancy name for their studio) to discuss Phil’s disdain for modern technology, their desire to share their faith with an entirely new audience, and why a podcast gives them more freedom to do just that.

For me a podcast really plays to your strengths.  It is a platform that is a little less structured, a venue where you can let you true personalities and message flow more freely.  Whose idea was it to do this podcast?

Al Robertson: It actually came from the guys at Blaze-TV. Dad's got a show on there called In the Woods with Phil. It's been great. It’s basically my Dad unplugged without sponsors.

Those guys do a lot of podcasts. They actually approached us about it and said, “We think you should do a podcast. What do you think about doing one?” It started out with just Dad and I was going to co-host.  I thought that was a great idea. And they said, ‘We want it Biblical and all that.’ So we started doing a few of them and then they came in and said, ‘I wonder if Jase would want to be involved in this?’

Jase Robertson: I got contacted by another company and they said, ‘How would you feel about doing a podcast?’ And then I just happened to bump into my cousin who runs a production company with Al.

I just said, hey, I’m fixing to do a podcast. And I was saying it from a perspective of where are we at in the cell phone culture, where people having a conversation face to face is actually a groundbreaking thing.

I think that's why the podcast format is successful. People don't have conversations face to face anymore. Al and Phil said, ‘Why don't you just do it with us?’ I wasn't sure how it would work, but it's been really good.

Phil Robertson: The irony is that I have never even clicked on to the Internet. I’ve never owned a cell phone. And now I’m on the Internet and I have never owned either device. That’s pretty interesting when you think about it.

Jase Robertson: Phil treats a cell phone like he treats a bull rattlesnake.

The podcast is called Unashamed with Phil Robertson … yet there is no mention of Al or Jase in the title.  What gives, man?

Phil Robertson: Well, with your offspring, when it's handed down within family structures, the patriarchal system, sometimes your offspring do not get the credit they deserve.

Jase Robertson: I asked the same question. I said shouldn’t it be "Unashamed with Phil, Jase, and Al”?

Al Robertson: You know what? What was unique to us and what we were excited about is that Phil is the guy The Blaze is basically a secular, conservative platform mostly about politics with all their talents and their people. But Dad has that voice. I was impressed that they wanted and encouraged us. They said, ‘We want a voice that stands for things like you see them in America, not just from a conservative perspective but from a Biblical and religious viewpoint, someone who can talk about all of the things that are now so hard to talk about.

What I was excited about more than anything was that we were getting to do this in a setting that wasn't necessarily just religious or a known spiritual context, but actually there was a lot of people who probably hadn't heard a lot of the stuff that we're talking about it.

Jase Robertson: I think a part of our appeal is that we try to be real. What comes across in the religious world is that sometimes it doesn't seem real. We're actually just believers. We believe God is real. He sent Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, and all these concepts. But we apply it to real life. And I think that that's where the appeal comes. It's not like we’re coming across as religious. It's basically real life situations and how we apply the Bible.

What are you hoping to accomplish with the podcast?  What is your core message and goals for Unashamed?

Phil Robertson: We're trying to do two things … to get people to love God and love each other because we don't see the downside of that.

Al Robertson: I think the popularity of the Duck Dynasty show was that it was authentic real people who were doing crazy things and blowing stuff up, just crazy redneck stuff. But it was evident there was more there and there was a depth that really attracted people. I think the same thing is true in our podcasts. It's very authentic and real. And we're talking about deep, heavy subjects of the Bible. Our plan is to teach the whole Bible as we go through this podcast. But we're doing it in a way that can relate to people. We want to make the Bible real and relevant because it is to us. You will never run out of stuff to talk about when you're talking about the Bible.

Jase Robertson: We're living in a culture where I believe the religious world is not doing a very good job of addressing tough issues. I think there should be a voice for Godly principles out there, whether it’s the protection of innocent life in a mother's womb or supporting family values. I just think there should be somebody out there, presenting what the Bible actually says in a real way. At least we can have the discussion.

I’ve listened to several episodes and am really enjoying it.  If you don’t mind, please give me a sense of what a typical episode of Unashamed looks like as far as format and flavor?

Al Robertson: We start out with something that's going on in one of our lives or all three of our lives at the same time. Then we get to the Bible eventually to make the connection that it is relevant and making a difference in everybody's life. We’re trying to just share that real practical, this is how you live moment.  But at the same time we are seeking the spiritual truths of what’s behind it.   That's why we're excited about it more than our other show (Duck Dynasty), which had to be broadened out for national television. The podcast can be much more in depth.

Jase Robertson: I think also we don't always agree. We don't have to and sometimes we don't know the answers, but we talk about the issues of the different types of beliefs or where people get. Like today, we talked about how man’s original sin influenced the world. But we also talked about, because some people believe you inherit the original sin without the process of you making your own decisions and how that works.

Al Robertson: We try not to get bogged down into whether this group believes this and another group believes that. But we do want to acknowledge when there's differences even in the religious world that we can talk about that as well.

In most of your episodes you reference the Unashamed Podcast Command Center, which is basically a room in Phil’s house. But you all speak so reverentially of this tract of land in Louisiana where it sits.  What is so special about this location where the Unashamed Podcast Command Center is located?

Phil Robertson: Interestingly, ever since the Duck Dynasty show ended and actually even prior to that, there's been a stream of individuals from most of the states in America who find their way down here. When they come, we tell them all the good news about Jesus. We take them to the river and we baptize them. We have a meal together. They may be from Indiana, Virginia, or whatever. So we get to preach to them. Then, they go on their way rejoicing. So it's pretty cool to watch.

Jase Robertson: I think this place represents a great deal to us.  My parents moved down here when they had given their lives to Christ. It's kind of a dangerous place. It's an island that's surrounded by water that floods often. You have all of these snakes. Even the economy is real poor. It just seems like a dangerous place where success doesn't happen. From our perspective, God moved in and turned this into an oasis.

Phil Robertson: You know, the only man who has balked at taking him down to the river and baptizing him is Sean Hannity. He asked us if there were gators in the river.  I told him there are gators but the Lord will protect you.  So far, we haven’t talked him into going in the river.  He wants to get in a Jacuzzi which is fine with us. 

Al Robertson: The Command Center sits at the top of the hill overlooking the seven acres. And Jase is right. We moved here and our lives changed. And so now, looking back, us getting to do this with Dad, it's a fun thing for us to do and it’s generational. It really is in some sense hallowed ground for us because it's really where our spiritual journey began and here we are 40 plus years later still impacting people.

Jase Robertson: And it’s the opposite of face value from what you see from an earthly view. Basically, you are saying, ‘If you want to insure yourself of economic ruin and possibly being snake bit or drowning, you need to move here and set up camp. This place represents something from a spiritual standpoint.  It's not really where you live. It's about your family, how you interact, what are you putting your faith and trust into, and trying to make the world a better place. And through God that happened there. So we view this as a place of hope.

After people listen to the Unashamed podcast what would you like your audience to get out of the viewing/listening experience?  What is your greatest hope for it?

Jase Robertson: We're introducing Jesus to a lot of people in a real way, not a church or religious way. My greatest goal is to have people say, ‘You know what? I think I'm going to give this (faith) a try.’ And I think by doing that, it may help people overcome all the negative religious experiences that people use as excuses for not entertaining the thought of pursuing a relationship with Jesus.

Al Robertson: For me, I tend to view it through the lens of being a preacher for most of my life and speaking to an audience in one place. But now, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to make the Bible real to hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people, and provide opportunities to just download it and listen. The idea that a lot of people get a chance to hear the Bible is exciting to me.

Phil Robertson: Eternal life and immortality is what's on the table. And that's what Jesus gives us: eternal life and immortality. It’s peace of mind while you're here, which is a very rare commodity. So when people meet Jesus, we are hoping that they understand that there will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. All those qualities will come forth from their life one at a time. And so we just continue with the message that brings that. We don't see the downside to it.

For more information on Unashamed with Phil Robertson, please visit www.BlazeTV.com/unashamed.

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