Politics has always been the subject that you are either a) supposed to avoid in polite conversation or b) have extremely strong feelings about and discuss extensively. Podcasting allows people who fall into the "b" category to do so at their passionate best.
Political podcasts go all over the spectrum, from the Left Wing Nut Job on one end to Shelley the Republican on the other, to Free Talk Live (a Libertarian talk radio show that is also given the podcast treatment). Several talk radio shows podcast now, from Air America to Rush Limbaugh, letting people who might miss their favorite shows at work listen at their leisure.
Beyond the talk shows, most of the political podcasters are like everyone elsethey just want to air their political views. That includes Senator John Edwards, former U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidate. The senator's podcast was the first podcast from a nationally known politician (see Figure 3.6), and since his podcast launched in March of 2005, politicians from both sides of the aisle have also now started podcasting.
Figure 3.6. Senator John Edwards' One America Committee website.
Listeners to political podcasts are much like the hungry readers of political blogs. They are eager for information, but savvy enough to be able to spot when you haven't done your homework and are speaking from a knee-jerk reaction rather than an informed opinion. And they will call you on it. Table 3.10 showcases a small sampling of the diversity available with political podcasts.
One America Committee
Hosted by Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth, this podcast is produced from their home in North Carolina. The senator has been joined by his eldest daughter, Cate, and she even hosted one show from the College Democrats national meeting. The shows are released about two times a month and average about 25 minutes. The shows are G-rated.
Shelley the Republican
This show is produced by Podshack and is one of the few conservative shows in podcast land. The shows are released three to five times a week, and they average 15 to 30 minutes per episode. The show is PG-rated.
Free Talk Live
Free Talk Live is an on-air syndicated talk radio show that is also released as a podcast. The show comes from a Libertarian slant ("Pro-Freedom") and encourages lively conversations from all sides of the political arena. The show is released six days a week with two shows per day. The average length is 38 minutes per episode. This show is G-rated.
Left Wing Nut Job
This is the companion podcast that goes along with the website LeftWingNutJob.com. This show is released between 6 and 12 times a month, with an average length of 5 to 10 minutes per episode. This show is R-rated.
Although you may think that you'll have listeners who prefer the "other side" to whatever you are podcasting about, the truth is that most of your listeners will be of your same political bent, as Thomas Jeffrey of the Left Wing Nut Job discovered.
However, if you turn to podcasting to discuss politics because you do not like arguments and you want to just have a soapbox, remember that your listeners may want to "discuss" an alternate viewpoint with you.
Then again, if you thrive on political discourse, ranging from polite to argumentative, a political podcast may be the perfect thing for you. Thomas loves adopting the persona of the Left Wing Nut Job, podcasting his own views with a sardonic newscaster tone to his voice.