An insider peek at Inside EMS

With over 1.5 million listens, the Inside EMS podcast, featuring Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson, is a fan favorite delivering the word on the EMS street


The immediately recognizable upbeat rock intro, and the reminder that “by the old clock on the wall, it’s time to tune in,” has now greeted over 1.5 million listeners to EMS1’s flagship “Inside EMS” podcast. Hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson have graced the net since its inception 7 years ago and in over 450 episodes, they have conducted a timely assessment of industry news, events, policies, politics, and more.

Their vehicle for delivering the issue of the week is that of two medics sitting on the truck between calls discussing EMS life. Their individual style enables them to put the message or point across with healthy debate and a good degree of north vs. south good-natured banter. New York native Cebollero, now an executive leadership coach, is a former EMS chief, while Louisiana-based Grayson is a jobbing critical care paramedic and respected EMS educator. As the situation requires, many guests join the show to offer expert views and opinions and good discussion.

Cebollero isn’t new to podcasting as he originally presented the “EMS Leadership Podcast” for five years with past NAEMT President, Don Lundy; hospital expert Patrick Pianizza; and resident Brit in the U.S., Rob Lawrence (that name sounds familiar!). Later, he pitched the idea of “Inside EMS” to EMS1 original, Kris Kaull.

When the conversation turned to find the right partner, Cebollero says “I needed to find a partner that was going to be a little bit contentious with me, who was going to be able to argue with me and who was going to be entertaining.” It wasn’t until he later sat down with Grayson at a conference in Missouri to discuss the idea that the partnership was formed. Grayson liked the premise of two guys, sitting in an ambulance discussing the news of the day, “talking it up like two friends.” As the relationship evolved, Grayson noted that (on the show) “sometimes we fight, sometimes we take positions we are not comfortable with, just so the other guy can defend or attack a position, but it has been a good ride.” The cage match that the duo sets up each week using this methodology is both entertaining and educational while bringing out the key issues and takeaways.

On the pulse

Inside EMS is posted on Friday of each week, with the recording usually occurring on Tuesday or Wednesday. This schedule requires both Cebollero and Grayson to be on top of industry news and identify the hottest topic of the week and, when the occasion calls for it, to invite guests to come on to offer comments, which is a never-ending process and must be conducted in between their day jobs.

Cebollero describes the process: “I keep a constant look at what is going on inside EMS, paying attention to what is going on in the blogs, and I want to know what is going on that is hot, sometimes it’s a news story, and we try to figure out what is the angle in that. Other times it’s a clinical issue – but we really need to find what is interesting and what is happening.”

On slower news weeks, the pair discuss ongoing events in the industry, Grayson describes the monitoring of social media sites for content and also Google alerts; “if it’s something that is a contentious topic that we can add our voices to, we do and also to those non-contentious topics where we believe the commenters have the wrong take and we can approach it with counterpoints. We can also give a particularly important topic to a broader audience.”

The production from research to delivery is a time-consuming project that is conducted enthusiastically, week in week out for 50 weeks of the year.

Over the years, Cebollero and Grayson have tackled some difficult topics. Grayson gains his inspiration from Dr. Brian Bledsoe, who is “willing to speak uncomfortable truths to our profession on things that we need to hear, but we don’t necessarily want to hear.” Grayson adds, “I really enjoy taking those topics with Chris and giving them a broader audience.”

The show spends considerable time focusing on issues of provider wellbeing and fatigue, and in the year of COVID-19 in particular, where many are dealing with a large emotional and psychological toll and physical loss, highlighting the issues is an important task.

The ability to generate the appropriate guest or subject matter expert is also a mark of the success of the show as Cebollero notes, “I love it when Dr. Peter Antevy joins, or Dan Limmer, Matt Zavadsky, we get the people that are really doing the work inside EMS and we get their stories on.”

Inside EMS, judging by its weekly numbers, is a fan favorite and is clearly delivering the word on the EMS street with its topical and high-spirited style, and long may it continue. To channel the standard outro of Grayson on every show – that’s what I think, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section at EMS1.com. Until next time, bye for now – cue closing music.

How to listen to Inside EMS

Inside EMS is available to download on Apple PodcastsSoundCloudAmazon MusicStitcherSpotify, and RSS feed.

New listeners: Start with these popular episodes: 

  1. Should future paramedics be required to obtain associate degrees?
  2. Misconceptions about airway management and the industry gold standard
  3. The increase of assaults on EMS providers and how it's affecting the industry
  4. How to determine if a patient has the mental capacity to decline care
  5. Tackling sepsis: How to diagnose, treat and manage it

Veteran listeners: Enjoying the show? Please take a moment to rate and review Inside EMS on Apple Podcasts. Contact the Inside EMS team at theshow@ems1.com to share ideas, suggestions and feedback, or if you’d like to join Chris and Kelly as a guest.


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Inside EMS

Hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson bring expert perspective to hot topics, clinical issues, operational and leadership lessons

 

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