It’s an election year, and it seems like every medium is supersaturated with election coverage. Podcasts are no different, and so, elections podcasts provide a case study in the wide variety of podcasts. Although they all cover the same topic, each podcast approaches the election with different backgrounds and different goals.
Five Thirty Eight began in 2008 as poll aggregator blog. It produces statistical analyses of politics and sports. The website was licensed to the New York Time in 2010 and subsequently acquired by ESPN in 2014. Although it is owned by traditional media, Five Thirty Eight is wholly a digital media production.
The FiveThirtyEight Elections podcast published its first episode on January 22, 2016. The podcast, like it’s parent website, takes a numbers and polls based approach to the election. Although it does do an excellent job of explaining trends in the polls and their causes and significance. If you’re looking to do a deep dive into election data, this is the podcast for you.
National Public Radio, is an ancient and well established traditional public medium. Because they already have the infrastructure for producing high quality audio content, NPR and it’s local stations produce a vast selection of podcasts, using their podcasts to develop show concepts outside of the time and topic constraints of broadcast radio.
The NPR Politics podcast published its first episode on November 9, 2015. In the podcast’s most recent episode, it clipped all of the best soundbites from yesterday’s debate and provided a summary of the overall impressions and important moments of last night. Though it, like most of NPR, tends to have a liberal bent, this podcast is an excellent way to stay informed on events of the election without being overwhelmed by extensive analyses and differences of opinions.
Created by YA Author Maureen Johnson, and Reporter Dan Sinker. This podcast is not backed by any large traditional media, it is the least professional, most biased, and quite possibly the most enjoyable. Created precisely because this 2016 election cycle is especially insane, Says Who is comedy centric and strongly anti-Trump. The tone of the podcast is best described by its tagline “Says Who: It’s not a podcast- it’s a coping strategy.” Says Who published its first episode on September 10, 2016
Now, all of these have varying degrees of liberal bent. Whether it’s by virtue of the demographics of podcast listeners, or due to my own filter bubble and bias, the best political podcasts I know of lean left. But that is not to say that there is not a wide variety of conservative podcasts out there. Podcasts are a space where traditional media, popular digital media, and newcomers can all find an audience as long as they are producing thoughtful and thought provoking content