What do Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Cohen, Mike Pence and Anthony Scaramucci all have in common?
They worked for Donald Trump, obviously, and several have been implicated in alleged crimes connected to the former president, but as of this month, each of these one-time high-profile Trump acolytes also has his own podcast.
Pence became the most recent to announce his own show this week, with the announcement that the oft-derided former vice-president will launch a podcast to “continue to attract new hearts and minds to the conservative cause”.
Like his one-time associates, Pence will enjoy the benefits of a regulation-free platform to share his thoughts on any topic of his choosing, and similarly to Bannon et al, Pence will also be able to keep himself in the public sphere – although the dry, mild-mannered Pence is likely to differ in tone from the Bannons and Giulianis of the podcast world.
On his War Room podcast, Bannon has called for the beheading of Anthony Fauci – something Pence is unlikely to do – while Giuliani’s Common Sense podcast has been used to further often unhinged claims of political fraud, which Pence might leave alone.
Cohen and Scaramucci’s podcasts, which are critical of Trump, may not fit in with the Trump worshippers’ efforts, but the fact that five of Trump’s most prominent acolytes chose this format for propagating their views – over television, radio or the written word – is pretty remarkable.
So, why podcasts? One major factor is one of the oldest in politics: money.
“I think in part it’s because it’s an easier medium to get into than something like radio or television. The overhead costs are much much lower. If you have an avid base, and the Trump base tends to be an avid base, you can make a ton of money doing this,” Nicole Hemmer, author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, said.
“If you have audience of just 35,000 people, you can make a profitable podcast,” Hemmer said. “If you have an audience of 100,000 people, now you’re starting to talk real money.”
Read more of Adam Gabbatt’s report here: Sounds about right: why podcasting works for Pence, Bannon and Giuliani