Monday, March 11, 2019

Ben Shapiro Knows What Makes Podcasts Work

Talk Host Ben Shapiro
Conservatives learned long ago how to use what were once new media — talk radio and cable television — to mobilize activists. Now they’re diving into podcasting, aiming to lure a younger generation that has largely eluded them.

They have an instant star in Ben Shapiro, according to The 35-year-old former Breitbart editor-at-large hosts one of the nation’s most popular podcasts, giving his conservative views on current events.

Shapiro is editor of The Daily Wire, which bills itself as an “irreverent news and commentary site for a new generation of conservatives.” He routinely tries to build arguments with talking points and data.

Shapiro has soared because he’s not only attracted the younger demographic but has methodically built his brand. He was writing a syndicated column as a teenager. He got notice for his books, including “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth,” which was published when he was 20, and another alleging many in Hollywood were promoting a liberal agenda.

Shapiro’s show in January ranked sixth among all podcasts, trailing the top-rated “The Daily” from The New York Times; “This American Life,” the public radio show and podcast; “Stuff You Should Know” from iHeartRadio and “Up First” and “TED Radio Hour” from NPR, according to Podtrac.

Conservatives for years have benefited from being more adept at talk radio and cable television. But those audiences skew older.

That’s why conservatives are now slowly building support among the younger demographic with podcasts, and the more relaxed format is seen as an important way for building that audience.

“What many listeners appreciate about the podcast format is that it seems to be a refuge from all the yelling. Unlike talk radio or cable news shows, we are one of the few spaces where smart, reasonable dialogue happens, without talking points, and often between people who disagree politically,” said Madeline Orr Osburn, producer of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” a daily podcast.

Shapiro offers that conversational approach.

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