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Laura Ingraham dropping radio show for podcasting

The Fox News host cites family reasons.

Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host and right-wing personality, is dropping her radio show for a move into podcasts. Here’s the Hollywood Reporter’s story on it. Ingraham cites family reasons for the shift. PodcastOne will handle and distribute the show, which will launch sometime in January.

A common thread I’ve seen raised about this story: how will Ingraham’s podcast fare, given the medium’s general liberal bent? Will her right-wing talk radio audience follow her over to on-demand audio? That line of questioning — about the apparent liberal nature of podcasting (see Crooked Media, Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara, and so on), and why that exists — is something I’ve been asked about quite often, and it’s one that I continue to find exceptionally interesting.

Conservative talk radio is such a powerful presence in America, and the fact that various attempts at a liberal talk radio equivalent have generally ended in failure have raised more than a few suggestions of a rigid sociological-structural theory at work. Frankly, I don’t know how much of that angle I buy. Part of me suspects that it’s more a function of historical capitalism — who got there first, and who figured out the better business model to establish a cluster of power at the early goings. But another part of me can’t help but entertain the more… basic interpretation: maybe there’s something about linear broadcasting, with its passivity and audience captivity, that’s just… inherently conservative. (By the way, if you’re interested in this stuff, I highly recommend Nicole Hemmer’s Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.)

Anyway, there aren’t a ton of comps for prominent right-wing podcasts. (This isn’t to say that there aren’t right-wing podcasts. There’s a podcast for everything, of course. The operative word here is prominent, and I’ll take whatever emails you give arguing the definition of that.) The only significant comp I can think of is Ben Shapiro (whose podcast is repped by Westwood One), the right-wing l’enfant terrible that seems to want to parlay his digital and podcast operations into more conventional conservative media outputs: he’s now doing stuff on Fox News, occasionally. Alex Jones doesn’t quite count, ‘cuz the dude is a creature of the internet, and he’s also… not right-wing. And neither does Bill O’Reilly, the disgraced former Fox News personality, who has largely receded from the public but is apparently still podcasting behind a paywall?

We’ll see. In the meantime, re-upping this Bryan Curtis piece about pariah podcasting, which I think about a lot.

On a related note… Speaking of Crooked Media, they’re getting a ton of flak right now for bringing on Republican operative Tim Miller to rep as the token conservative voice on their podcast (and TV show). In case you haven’t been following that news piece, Miller, who is Jeb Bush’s former communications director, also happens to own and operate a Republican opposition research firm called Definers Public Affairs that — get this — was hired by Facebook to discredit activist protestors of the tech giant… in part by engaging in the ol’ anti-Semitic shtick of evoking some link to the liberal financier George Soros. That commission was one of many, many details stacked in a blockbuster expose by the New York Times about what happened inside Facebook after the company was found to have hosted Russian disinformation campaigns on its platform.

Crooked Media has since cut ties with Miller.