It stayed in the back of my head that the Remso Republic wasn’t going to get on TheBlaze, but we kept pushing forward regardless. The show walked out with more listeners, more donors, and more networks to syndicate the program because of our efforts to get on TheBlaze. Because we got in the arena so to speak, we didn’t win the prize but we walked out with more than what we came in with. Podcasting has allowed so many people to reach audiences they wouldn’t have without it, and with them they’ve been able influence culture, politics, and entertainment in a way the mainstream big wigs never saw coming. Stephen Kent covered this at the American Conservative recently:
Podcasting isn’t a new medium, by any metric, but it is new to being taken seriously. In 2006 only one in 10 Americans said they’d listened to a podcast. Today that number is one in three according to Pew. In that same time, the share of the public that understands what a podcast is has risen from 22 percent to 49 percent.
The demand for podcasts is exploding, and with it the number of options. Libsyn, the leading platform for hosting podcasts, boasted 12,000 shows in 2012, and by 2016 they carried just under 30,000. What was once a niche form of media for tech-savvy bloggers is becoming a mainstream industry, with $38 million dollars of advertising to support it. Furthermore, we are rapidly headed toward a future of self-driving cars, and the majority of traditional radio consumption occurs in vehicles already. Podcasts are more than likely to be built into these smart cars, such as one being made by Apple, and from there the on-demand nature of podcasts is only going to become more normalized.
So what does the future look like for conservative talk? A new generation of conservative and libertarian talent is rising up out of the podcasting world, and you can bet that their popularity will grow with time. Provocative political commentator Ben Shapiro, a former editor-at-large for Breitbart and now founder of The Daily Wire, hosts a daily radio-style show on Facebook Live that reaches thousands and is then distributed in the form of a podcast. Shapiro offers a presentation in line with conservative talk-radio tradition: impassioned monologues and a bare-knuckled approach to discussing progressivism. On the other side are the slew of think tanks, non-profits, and policy-centered organizations in the beltway that work to further right-of-center causes: Reason, The Federalist, National Review, The Weekly Standard, AEI, Heritage, the Manhattan Institute. Their shows offer something distinct in the marketplace. They are measured and intellectual and grapple with political issues using something talk radio isn’t familiar with—nuance.