By Dawn M Chiossi
West Orange’s “Coach Randy” Nathan and Adam D Shandler are taking the concept of “Mr. Mom” to the next level with their Bad to The Dad Podcast.
Originating last winter on January 25th, Bad to the Dad is a weekly podcast that shares the challenges of parenthood with humor, relishing the life of a dad. Although “Coach Randy” Nathan is a certified life coach for teens and Shandler leads corporate training for a healthcare company, they are still trying to navigate the murky waters of family life. For both these dads, it’s only Mike Brady who holds all of the answers. For all of the actual suburban dads out there, parenting is a matter of sink or swim.
“The Bad to the Dad podcast celebrates the imperfect species known as the suburban dad,” Shandler explains. “Randy and I chat about our own adventures–and misadventures–in parenting. Our guests bring unique experiences to the program. The title Bad to the Dad is a little ironic,” he quips. “There is very little that is edgy about Randy or me, and most of our guests are the same way. When we say “bad” it reflects more of the attitude that a dad will stop at nothing to make his family happy. “
“Randy and I met about 12 years ago at Congregation Agudath Israel, our synagogue in Caldwell. Like all good relationships, our wives introduced us, thinking we’d get along. They were right, and they remind us of that constantly,” Shandler jokes.
With their complementary backgrounds in public speaking, gift of gab, and the fact that their children are around the same age, the idea of starting a podcast greatly appealed to them both.
But in the world of social media, where there is a podcast for nearly everything, the subject of dads was most noticeably absent. A fact not lost on Shandler or Coach Randy. “In researching podcasts, we realized there were very few that represented dads, especially the voice of the suburban dad. “Even then there weren’t that many that followed a talk show format. We wanted to be a new and unique voice in the podcast universe. Regular Joes.”
“While being a mom is the most challenging job in the universe, with coal miners being the second, we wanted everyone to know that dads are people too,” Coach Randy agrees.
In leading such busy lives, for these good friends, there is no shortage of topics to be covered for Bad to the Dad. “We find ourselves talking about the challenges of being a dad when everyone in the household has an over-programmed schedule, we think everyone can relate to that. Often times we’ll bring in a lesson from our professional lives we believe can help out our listeners. On many occasions, we’ll embellish on a comic observation like taking our daughters to the mall and watching the drama play out, or dads of a certain age trying too hard at the gym.” Shandler tells.
Already in its second season, Bad to the Dad has something to say to all the like-minded dads out there. Shandler and Nathan even relate that they hear from listeners who like to tune into the podcast on their way to work. So much so, that they were disappointed when Bad to the Dad’s season wrapped up for the summer.
Guests for the show are often local, from different walks of life. It’s something that both hosts are proud of. Guests range from Corporate Pilot, Bryan Lipson, DJ KayGee, the DJ from Naughty by Nature, Matt Block, who is now the Superintendent of Livingston Public Schools, and West Orange father and daughter singing sensations Matt and Riley Hahn.
In every podcast, Coach Randy, Shandler, and Guest Dad give “dad-vice” for all of their listeners. This can be about the partnership with their wives, unconditional love, how the word “no” can be the most positive word in the English language for the family, and how being a dad is a job. “It’s hard work and a joy. It’s not something men hear too often, but being a dad is something they look forward to. When they come home from work, they are all in,” Shandler and Coach Randy assert.
It’s all done with lighthearted humor, trying not to take themselves too seriously.
For all of the laughs, movie references, Fletch jokes, and all-around banter, the podcasts are right on target with today’s turbulent times and the issues families are facing.
When asked what his favorite show so far had been, Coach Randy mentions a particular one regarding the father of a transgender child. This guest-dad bravely shared his struggles and process of acceptance and unconditional love, learning that it was better to have a live son than a daughter dead from suicide. “He really opened up about his new normal, what he learned about supporting his child, and loving your kids for who they are, not who you wish they could be,” he shares.
“Each show has something to offer everybody,” Shandler explains. “Our goal is to give dads a medium to tell stories, promote causes, ideas or businesses that may not only help other dads but also their families.”
While the podcasts usually last approximately the length of the average commute, there are some podcasts that take a bit longer. For example, they recently did a two-part show where they featured Livingston dad, Greg Feig, who was participating in a boxing match called “Haymakers for Hope.” He enthusiastically dove into the boxing ring, all to raise money and awareness for cancer research. While it seems like an odd venue, Feig knew about cancer battles first hand: His 12-year-old daughter is in remission from Leukemia.
Guest Dads for the show run the gamut. For Coach Randy and Shandler, their dream guest would be Jim Breuer of Saturday Night Live, who currently resides in Mendham. They choose him, both for his humor and his devotion to family.
From the single dad, to the one who has been married to his high school sweetheart, to all the dads in between, the Bad to the Dad podcast gives all of them a voice. No matter the topic, it spreads the word about what an inspiring, amazing, and sometimes goofy job fatherhood can be.
When asked how their kids feel about their venture into social media, both Coach Randy and Shandler say they are all for it. “They are happy to see that their dads are doing something different (from the other fathers), doing something that they enjoy.”
With the long term goal to host “everybody for something,” and creating hopeful role models in the process, Shandler says of the Bad to the Dad Podcast, “We want to entertain, using the platform of the suburban dad, who can be hero and clown on the same day.”
To tune into Bad to the Dad, visit www.badtothedad.com.