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KOA’s Ross Kaminsky Protects Liberty as a True Function of Politics

Kaminsky said the nation is in trouble if people don’t renounce their loyalty to a tribe rather than act on things that are best for the country.

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If Ross Kaminsky’s radio career ended tomorrow, we’d have a new Bob Vila or Bob the Builder on our hands. When we spoke, Kaminsky was in the car on his way to Home Depot, elbows deep into a bathroom project.

“I’m putting in a new sink,” he said. “I’ve got to get the PVC and caulk. I’ve already purchased the drain. I’m reasonably confident I’ll do a good job, and I’ve had a lot of practice over the years.”

Kaminsky thought about hiring someone to do it. Then he got the idea it was within his talent zone.

“My wife is an artist and very good at seeing aesthetic problems, and I get more work to do…though she does all the painting.”

“There were a lot of brown and pea-green colors in the bathroom. It was gross. We replaced the sink, faucet, and countertop, shower walls, and floors…but I hired experts for the last three things.”

His undergraduate degree from Columbia University is in foreign policy with an emphasis in economics, and he ended up a futures and options trader. Kaminsky used to work on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, one of those guys that frantically waves his arms around like they’re in a big game of charades.

“Once you know how to read hand signals, it makes perfect sense,” Kaminsky explained. “That’s the part that’s famous. That happens in the larger pits, but most pits are smaller areas where you can communicate just by voice.”

He said in the larger pits; you could be 50 or 100 feet away from the people you’re trading with.

“The deals are made on 100% trust,” Kaminsky said. “As a trader, in the days before handheld computers, you’d write on a card what you’re trading and the price of the trade. You have a clerk who works for your company take the cards to the person you traded with.”

The clerk would tell the other person, “Checking…RGK purchased ten of such and such from you.”

“He’s just checking to make sure the other person remembered the trade,” he said. “You rarely have a deal go bad from something a trader didn’t remember. If somebody jerked you over, it’d be over for them fast as nobody would trade with them.”

Of course, there are times when there is confusion or somebody didn’t mean something the way it came across.

“It’s usually a legitimate mistake,” Kaminsky said. “Some things might not match up. You can work those out, even though sometimes it means a significant loss for both traders. If it happens more than once, you might have a problem, though, with the other guy’s honesty.”

Kaminsky met his wife, Kristen, in Australia. The woman from down under is a successful artist, and they met while Kaminsky was visiting on vacation.

“I saw some of her ceramics and thought they were cool,” he said. “I wanted to get some custom dinner plates and asked to talk with the owner. It turned out to be Kristen.”

Kaminsky said many people call themselves working artists but make things nobody else would want. “Kristen is smart, funny, insightful. Her brain works differently than mine. She loves Colorado, and we’re very happy here.”

The couple lives near Denver and enjoys mountain life. Kaminsky said he chose to live in Colorado because, as an independent trader, he could live wherever he chose.

While living in Colorado, Kaminsky started doing some political blogging in the early days of blogging. If someone started blogging today, Kaminsky said it would be harder for them to break through as it has gotten so crowded.

“I wonder if that’s going to happen with podcasts.”

Kaminsky became moderately well known as a political blogger on state and local issues, and local hosts began asking him to be a guest.

“I had a friend at KFKA and did a guest spot,” he said. “When I was there I asked if I could fill in for my friend when she was on vacation. It seemed like fun. So, they let me do a show.”

A bold move for a blogger. Kaminsky said the station wasn’t corporate-owned, so there was nobody they had to get permission from.

“After my first show, iI was reminded of how people say you can get hooked on heroin if you use it just once. I just loved it.”

 “I don’t recall my first show on KFKA, but I’m sure I talked about whatever was going on in local politics. I just immediately fell in love with doing radio. I was also losing interest in trading. I didn’t want to keep doing that.”

Kaminsky said he pursued radio because it looked tremendous, very seductive. He kept making himself available for shifts, and they kept saying yes. He will work for free if that’s what it takes. It wasn’t about money at that point; he wanted to get good enough to go further in the business.

“I started doing fill-in shifts at KNUS on a Sunday evening show called Backbone Radio. Eventually, the host, former State Senate President John Andrews, decided he wanted to spend more time writing a book And hanging out with his grandchildren. They offered me the show.”

Kaminsky met a talker named Mike Rosen, and they became good friends. Rosen was on KOA for more than 25 years, most of that in the 9 AM to noon time slot.

“We didn’t see each other often, but we were friends,” Kaminsky explained. “I asked him if I could fill in for him at the station. I thought he forgot about it. As a Bulls fan, I felt like I was asking to sub in for Michael Jordan.”

The guy is not only handy with a hammer; he’s got guts.

The PD at the time didn’t really like extremely political shows. KOA is a station with the Denver Broncos and did a lot of news and traffic.

“While we do some political talk, I’m not aiming to just be a conservative or political show.”

Kaminsky is now heard weekdays on KOA in Rosen’s old time slot. As one of his topics, he recalls talking about the legacy of Joe Paterno. This was just after the legendary coach died after the scandal.

“He wasn’t responsible for what happened, but he was there. It all went down while he was the boss. If you’re doing a topic driven by callers, it’s important to remember it’s not the intensity of the topic but the range of opinion among listeners.”

After the Aurora theater shooting in Colorado, which happened just a few miles from the radio station, Kaminsky said nearly all the listeners would have felt the shooter should get the death penalty, an open and shut case.

“I realized at that time if I’d asked that question on the radio, it would have been intense, but it may not have gone anywhere. It could have been a topic that was one-dimensional, despite it being a horrible tragedy.”

Kaminsky is a libertarian in that he sees liberty as a value in itself and protects liberty as the only proper function of government, especially the federal government.

“I’m libertarian by philosophy with a lowercase ‘L,’ not a party member upper case ‘L.’ I’ve been Libertarian, and I’ve been Republican. Some years ago, I became unaffiliated. Partly because Republicans are constantly letting me down, and partly because being in media, not having to cheer for a team is liberating.”

He said he respects people who tell the truth. Being a libertarian is not really about supporting a political party; it allows Kaminsky to be critical of Democrats and Republicans.

“You can generally predict my positions on political issues based on which position maximizes individual liberty,” he said. “Whether or not the side effects of an issue affect me. For instance, I support drug legalization even though I’ve never touched an illegal drug or even a cigarette. I’m pro-choice, but I also know living in the real world, there are some restrictions I can live with. As for the hard-core anti-abortion folks, I may disagree with them, but at least I understand how they think about something; in this case, that they deeply believe abortion is murder. Pro-choice folks will never understand pro-life folks unless they keep that in mind…which doesn’t mean you have to accept the same perspective.”

 “If something is part of someone’s belief system, it’s helpful to understand that for a conversation. When you recognize that, people you disagree with can seem less tyrannical.”

At this point in our discussion, he was busy picking out the PVC at Home Depot.

“When you’re a trader, you’re forced to multitask,” he jokes.

Kaminsky said, like other talkers, he had considered his future might include syndication.

“I’m not so sure it’s the brass ring anymore,” he said. “Maybe podcasting is. I don’t know if I’ve spent enough time thinking about this. I think creativity is very important to what we do. There is a smaller group of talkers who just preach to the choir with no creativity.”

Kaminsky said the nation is in trouble if people don’t renounce their loyalty to a tribe rather than act on things that are best for the country.

“The tribe could be Trump-loyal, cultish, or the other side, the Trump Derangement Syndrome people,” he explained. “I think it’s interesting that on the Right, more people are more loyal to Trump than to the party. If enough voters refuse to vote for Trumpy candidates, the party may come back together. They’re at the precipice of falling; we’re close. The Republican party has become a populist party. I don’t think that has to change very soon for the GOP to do well because the Democrats have moved so far Left.”

He cited an interview with Ron Johnson and found the Wisconsin Senator to be pushing the limits a little more than Kaminsky would like. “He hasn’t always been this flamboyant. Politics will change people, make them do unexpected things. I think he really believes today’s Democratic party poses risks to important things and is trying to stop them. And again, once you realize that, it helps you make sense of a lot of the other stuff. And I do appreciate Ron’s courage to say things others won’t say, but I’d hope that he goes out of his way to make sure those things are true and not just inflammatory.”

The last polls show Johnson down, at 38 percent in Wisconsin against challenger Mandela Barnes.

“It’s a sport among MAGA Republicans to either not answer pollsters or skew the results where they can,” Kaminsky said. “It’s a matter of how much.”

Kaminsky also noted that Johnson was behind in polling in at least his last two election victories.

Kaminsky said his audiences are human and understand and appreciate when he admits he was wrong about a topic.

“I go out of my way to say on the air when I get something wrong. I’ll do it the same day when I can. With the raid on Mar-a-Lago, I was wrong about some document classifications. I had no problem telling listeners I got it wrong.”

After we spoke, Kaminsky sent me a photo of his finished sink. I’ll be darned if he doesn’t get it right.

BNM Writers

More Than 11 Million Watched Queen Elizabeth Funeral Coverage

For the 6:00 AM to noon Eastern period, Fox News was, by far, tops on cable with 1.97 million total viewers including 298,000 within the key 25-54 demographic. CNN’s morning ratings received a hefty boost from its normal levels, averaging 1.52 million viewers.

Douglas Pucci

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The state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II was the top news story for the week ending Sep. 25. Like her coronation back in 1952, the event for Britain’s highest-ranking monarch was it’s first in the modern era since the dawn of television.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 11.4 million Americans tuned in on the morning of Sep. 19 across the thirteen outlets televising the funeral. That figure is slightly above the combined audiences for the main morning news programs on broadcast and cable.

For the 6:00 AM to noon Eastern period, Fox News was, by far, tops on cable with 1.97 million total viewers including 298,000 within the key 25-54 demographic. CNN’s morning ratings received a hefty boost from its normal levels, averaging 1.52 million viewers and a mere 4,000 shy of FNC’s 25-54 demo. MSNBC (991,000 total, 106,000 adults 25-54 from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.) also drew above-average numbers in the morning.

At the peak of coverage, within the 11:00 AM-Noon ET hour (4-5 p.m. in London) for the funeral service, it was CNN on top within the key 25-54 demo (404,000; +51,000 from FNC) but FNC led in overall viewership (2.4 million; +326,000 from CNN). MSNBC trailed with 1.1 million viewers and 115,000 adults 25-54.

On the broadcast networks, NBC edged out ABC by 3 percent — each of them drew around 3 million total viewers in that 11 a.m. hour. (Note: these figures mimic what they normally do for Today and Good Morning America per day). 

Newsmax drew 192,000 viewers and NewsNation posted 32,000 — again, on-par with their respective morning ratings.

Of course, these amounts pale in comparison to the TV audiences in the Queen’s homeland of the United Kingdom. According to its data service BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board), an average of at least 27 million people had watched, of which the vast majority (approximately 70 percent) tuned in to BBC1’s coverage. At its peak, it generated a 95 share, meaning 95 percent of all televisions turned on within the UK territories had the funeral on their screens.

Cable news averages for September 19-25, 2022:

Total Day (Sep. 19-25 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.440 million viewers; 206,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.844 million viewers; 82,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.603 million viewers; 116,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.163 million viewers; 50,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.155 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.121 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.121 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.115 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (Sep. 19-24 @ 8-11 p.m.; Sep. 25 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.155 million viewers; 281,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.251 million viewers; 110,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.674 million viewers; 132,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.188 million viewers; 20,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.178 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.167 million viewers; 46,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.158 million viewers; 56,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.046 million viewers; 8,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.043 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/20/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.678 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 9/19/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.582 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.348 million viewers

4. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.226 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/20/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.208 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 9/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.150 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.076 million viewers

8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.001 million viewers

9. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Tue. 9/20/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.918 million viewers

10. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 9/23/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.906 million viewers

35. State Funeral Queen E II “Committal Service St Georges Chapel” (CNN, Mon. 9/19/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 2.074 million viewers

29. Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC, Wed. 9/21/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.276 million viewers

188. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 613” (HBO, Fri. 9/23/2022 10:00 PM, 57 min.) 0.879 million viewers

332. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 9/25/2022 11:21 PM, 32 min.) 0.523 million viewers

337. Weekend Recharge (TWC, Sun. 9/25/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.516 million viewers

395. Kudlow (FBN, Wed. 9/21/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.398 million viewers

397. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 9/20/2022 11:00 PM, 33 min.) 0.395 million viewers

439. Forensic Files “Jean Pool” (HLN, Tue. 9/20/2022 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.325 million viewers

517. Closing Bell (CNBC, Wed. 9/21/2022 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.260 million viewers

750. Newsnation Prime (NWSN, Sat. 9/24/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.158 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/20/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.490 million adults 25-54

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/21/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.476 million adults 25-54

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/20/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.468 million adults 25-54

4. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/21/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.467 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.457 million adults 25-54

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/22/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.440 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 9/22/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.408 million adults 25-54

8. State Funeral Queen E II “Committal Service St Georges Chapel” (CNN, Mon. 9/19/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.404 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 9/19/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.388 million adults 25-54

10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 9/21/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.387 million adults 25-54

76. All In with Chris Hayes (MSNBC, Wed. 9/21/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.226 million adults 25-54

109. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 9/25/2022 11:21 PM, 32 min.) 0.187 million adults 25-54

168. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 9/20/2022 11:00 PM, 33 min.) 0.143 million adults 25-54

173. Forensic Files “Traffic Violations” (HLN, Tue. 9/20/2022 12:30 AM, 30 min.) 0.139 million adults 25-54

182. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 613” (HBO, Fri. 9/23/2022 10:00 PM, 57 min.) 0.136 million adults 25-54

225. Weekend Recharge (TWC, Sun. 9/25/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.121 million adults 25-54

317. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1020” (CNBC, Tue. 9/20/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.096 million adults 25-54

534. Kudlow (FBN, Wed. 9/21/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.058 million adults 25-54

912. Newsnation Prime (NWSN, Sat. 9/24/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.022 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Dave Ramsey Never Wanted To ‘Do Radio’

That is the legacy, to date, of The Ramsey Show and Ramsey Solutions, which has helped people get out of debt and become financially independent for 30 years.

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You can touch a lot of lives in the course of the day if your goal when waking up is to help and serve as many people as possible. And you can help, counsel, motivate and love untold numbers of people when you build a team to share that aim, and you do so for nearly 11,000 days. That is the legacy, to date, of The Ramsey Show and Ramsey Solutions, founded by Dave Ramsey, which has helped people get out of debt and become financially independent for 30 years.

Last week, the show released a bonus episode on YouTube and podcast, with the current team of Ramsey personalities reminiscing with their leader, Dave Ramsey, on the evolution of the program, and its mission, over the last three decades.

The show began 30 years ago when Dave Ramsey made a guest appearance on a friend’s real estate program on a local Nashville radio station. The host of the show quit shortly thereafter, and Ramsey was asked if he wanted to take over the time slot.

“I’m not doing radio,” Ramsey said at the time. “Radio people don’t get paid nothing. They’re like bankers – big egos and titles and no money. I need money. I am broke, my kids are hungry. I am not doing this.” Ramsey had just gone through bankruptcy, after watching his personal real estate empire crumble, leaving his family in financially dire straits. He had emerged with the goal of helping others avoid the pitfalls and pain he had brought on himself.

Eventually, Ramsey agreed to host the radio show a couple of days a week as a way to promote his self-published book, Financial Peace, which he was promoting and selling out of the trunk of his car. Ramsey said the awful Money Game program was “hillbilly, red-neck radio.” In time, Ramsey took over the program on his own and re-branded it The Dave Ramsey Show, based largely on the example laid out by other top radio stars, such as Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  

“We shifted everything to Dave Ramsey, branding off the single person brand. And then everything drove through that brand,” Ramsey recalls. “That focus is what helped us move everything. Events, books, website started working. It was in the early days of the web.”

About fifteen years ago, the brand began to look toward the future, branching out to include multiple personalities and building an eventual succession plan.

“In my mid-40’s I said this thing’s not going to outlive me if we don’t decide how we’re going to carry the message in the next generation,” Ramsey said. “As we started thinking about that we said well, we don’t really say anything that’s unique. Lots of people have said, live on less than you make, get on a budget. You know, lots of articles that were boring, written by boring financial people.

“The only thing that’s unique is that we actually love the people. We actually care about people, and we actually help them. We’ve got compassion for them and we’re sassy and smart-aleck and funny and tell stories and entertain and convince them in the midst of that to go through their transformation. So we realized at that point that the business, the whole thing we built, would just die with me if we didn’t have other people that could do the same thing.”

Enter new personalities, such as those who appeared with Ramsey on the special 30th Anniversary episode – his daughter, Rachel Cruze, Ken Coleman, Dr. John Delony, George Kamal and Kristina Ellis. 

When listeners visit the Ramsey Solutions headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, they are greeted like friends, with Janelle graciously checking them in and offering them a cookie and cup of coffee.  Over three decades, the radio program – like the brand itself – has become much more than a radio show about money.

“I would say it’s a place that people call in with their questions about their life, and it’s more heavily geared towards money. But yeah, it’s just a couple people sitting in a radio studio, friends, and taking people’s calls.” Cruze said.

“We’re kind of diving into whatever mess is going on in life and going, here’s how we can help,” Kamel interjected.

The program has evolved into areas such as relationships, boundaries, career growth, mental health, college planning and small business building.

“The pressure for someone to call in live on the air and talk to somebody, that’s a terrifying proposition for a lot of people, so there’s that,” said Coleman, who focuses heavily on his role as a career coach. “And then they’re dealing with something where they go, I feel like I need a breakthrough. And so, regardless of the topic, like Rachel said, it’s just a real person with a real struggle who needs real help.”

In addition to the flagship Ramsey Show, many of the personalities now also host individual podcasts, which focus on their specific areas of expertise. And during this special anniversary episode, the hosts recalled some of the more memorable calls they’ve taken on the air. From the hilarious to the emotional, Ramsey and his co-hosts have tackled it all on the air over the years. 

The man planning to get out of debt. 

The war vet dealing with PTSD. 

The college student searching for Biblical principles for handling money.

The millionaire developing a plan to become incredibly generous.

The main considering installing a pay phone in his home.

The brother forming a business partnership with his sibling.

The frightened mother cowering in a back room, hiding from her angry and violent spouse.

“I remember the first couple of calls I took on my podcast, and it came out organically. My first response to their question was, why are you calling me? That’s a huge thing. Why haven’t you called your friends or your pastor or your family members?” Dr. Delony recalled. “And to a person every response was, dude I got nobody. Like, you’re the only person to call. And so if you’d have asked me right when I was starting, what is the role of the show, how do I explain it? I would have said it’s a show people call about life.

“Now I think my answer would be different. It’s – We’ll Be There. When you’ve got nobody, we’ll be honest with you. And we’ll tell you what we think. We think we’re pretty smart. We think we know what we’re talking about, but we’ll be honest with you.”

In many respects, the Ramsey Show has become a place where callers can talk about subjects they may not even feel comfortable discussing with their own friends and family. After all, money conversations can be sensitive.

“I also think it’s just like a safe space. These topics we talk about, sometimes there’s a stigma around them. People feel shame and they feel intimidated to talk to their friends and family. It’s like this is a spot where we’re comfortable with this,” Ellis said. “You can bring us your ugly stuff. You can bring us the things that you don’t want to mention to anyone else and we’ll work through it.”

It’s a long way from the “awful, hillbilly program” on local Nashville radio. But through constant growth and evolution of the program and the organization, the company has helped countless people around the country and around the world. And judging by the trajectory, this group plans to help a whole lot more over the coming decades.

“The thing is when you tell people the truth about how to get a job, or the truth about, here’s how you do this relationship, or the truth about what you got to do with your money, they hear it even if they don’t like it,” Ramsey summed up. “Truth has a way of getting to you. And they know you love them. And we love them. We care about them.”

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The Two Americas and the One Thing

Red – blue. Liberal – conservative. Republican – Democrat. No matter how you say it, the divisions run deep. More than ever, it seems there are two Americas.

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Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. used the phrase “two Americas” in a 1967 speech. North Carolina Senator Johnathon Edwards made two Americas the theme of his 2004 run for president.

Not since the Civil War has America been as divided as today.

Red – blue. Liberal – conservative. Republican – Democrat. No matter how you say it, the divisions run deep. More than ever, it seems there are two Americas.

Can the two Americas agree on anything? 

As I’ve come to understand that gender is fluid, America is “systemically racist,” and not all lives matter – and people can get fired for saying they do – it is hard to imagine ANYTHING on which the two Americas agree.

Fortunately, I receive a weekly email from Edison Research. One of which set me straight. There is at least ONE THING that the two Americas have in common. And it’s a podcast.

Data from Edison Research’s Podcast Metrics is fascinating. Before revealing what the two Americas have in common, let’s examine the differences in Republican and Democrat podcast listening habits.

Self-identified Democrats are more likely to listen to podcasts monthly than those who say they are Republicans by 41% to 36%. Intuitively, this finding makes sense as we dig deeper into the results. Republicans are probably listening to more Talk Radio, though the data provided doesn’t explicitly state this.

Edison Research notes, “when it comes to podcasts about politics, Edison Podcast Metrics shows wildly different listening patterns depending on which party one prefers.”

Eight of the top 20 podcasts among Republicans are political. Democrats, on the other hand, place only three podcasts that are political or deal with political topics in their top 20.

Republican podcast listening is more focused on politics, while Democrats have a wider range of podcast interests that make up their top 20 podcasts. Make of that what you will. Further, several of the leading podcasts among Republicans are available on the radio. This finding suggests a few possibilities: 

  • Republican listeners are giving up time spent listening to the radio for podcasts and whatever financial implications that means
  • They can’t get enough of their favorite conservative talk hosts, listening to their shows over again
  • They are listening to other programming that is not available in their market or when they are not able to listen (possibly even because they are listening to another show)

In the last two cases, the podcast is effectively a DVR.

Edison Research created the graphic below, which shows the overall rank of political podcasts or ones that touch on political topics separated by self-identified Democrats and Republicans. 

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Here we see the ONE THING that Democrats and Republicans have in common: “The Joe Rogan Experience” is the most listened to podcast regardless of major party affiliation.

What makes Joe Rogan bridge red and blue America is beyond the scope of the research. Therefore, we can only speculate why Rogan appeals to podcast listeners who belong to both political parties. Responses from long-time, regular Joe Rogan listeners, are welcome and appreciated.

Marshall McLuhan famously said, “the medium is the message.” Once in a generation, a broadcaster becomes bigger than the medium. Howard Stern did for over a decade. Football broadcasts earn this stature every week. Has Rogan achieved that status, or does he still fall short of this description even with the ability to cross the aisle? If Rogan has reached that level, he is the first podcaster to do so. 

Edison Research co-founder and president Larry Rosin shared additional insights telling me, “Rogan’s reach is 50% higher among Republicans, but he still leads with Democrats. That’s how far ahead of the field he is.” However, Rogan doesn’t lead across the board. He isn’t first among women. Rogan does win virtually every male demo, including 55+.

The Edison Research email also breaks down the data to reveal which show (among the larger ones) has the highest proportion of its audience that is Republican: “The Michael Knowles Show” (from the Daily Wire). The show with the highest Democrat composition is “Lovett or Leave it” (from Crooked Media). 

I’ve never met or communicated with Joe Rogan. I don’t know his goals and ambitions, but America is looking for a leader who crosses partisan lines. If Rogan doesn’t care to lead and avoids stepping into a partisan mess, he could help the country. At the very least, he could develop an even larger mass audience.

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