Media Mailbag: First Take-Style Political Show, Podcast Industry, YouTube Shows

Videos by OutKick

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions for this week’s Outkick Media Mailbag. I’m coming to you on a Thursday but will be back on Wednesday next week.

Here we go:

“Obviously so much of political media coverage today is biased depending on the network. I think, however, that people do like debate and disagreement; Rogan’s open forum is evidence of that. Could you envision a network creating a political debate style show formatted similar to First Take? If so, what two personalities do you think could actually agree to do a political show like that together?”

Great question. This is not a novel idea. Both CNN’s Crossfire and Hannity & Colmes on Fox News used the liberal vs. conservative debate format.

I’d love to see the format return to cable news. It’d differ from what exists currently and it’d attract a younger demographic. With that said, it’s not easy to pull off. To be successful, it’d need the right network, time slot, lead-in, support, promotion, and personalities. The final bullet would likely require all three cable news channels — CNN, Fox News, MSNBC — to hire one or two new talents.

Debate shows need charismatic, polarizing figures: Sean Hannity, Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless. The CNN and MSNBC personalities who have these qualities are in primetime — they’re not moving down.

Fox News could fill one of the chairs rather easily. Jesse Watters is at his best in heated back-and-forths (see The Five). Will Cain, who debuts on the network in August, is a former Crossfire panelist and spent several years as a frequent First Take contributor. Debate is in Cain’s wheelhouse. Greg Gutfeld, too, could fill this role tomorrow. The challenge would be to find Watters, Cain, or Gutfeld a daily foe.

Unless that foe isn’t an opposite.

You reference First Take. I assume you are referring to the Skip Bayless/Stephen A. Smith iteration. That version saw Bayless take a side and Smith take the other. That isn’t today’s First Take. Smith and Max Kellerman agree on a bevy of topics. The friction comes from why they feel the way they do. The body, not the conclusion, of the argument.

A political debate show doesn’t need a host on the right and a host on the left to be successful. Individuals with similar political ideologies often differ in how they arrive at a particular point. Furthermore, conservative — or liberal — pundits can disagree on pivotal topics. It’s common that they do.

Awesome question.

“I would like to know your opinions on SiriusXM’s purchase of Stitcher. Do you see podcasting as the next big moneymaker?”

That’s the big question, right? The short answer is yes … for now.

For 90% of industries, 2020 has been an L. Podcasting isn’t one of them. The industry turned a corner faster than experts expected.

Penn National Gaming purchased Barstool Sports at a $450 million valuation. Spotify struck a $250 million deal to acquire The Ringer and inked a $100 million contract with Joe Rogan. And SiriusXM bought Stitcher for $325 million. Now, all eyes are on the possibility of a digital company poaching Howard Stern away from satellite radio with a nine-figure deal.

Long term, however, the “yes” is less certain. It has to work. These are high-risk, corporation-altering investments. If the ROI is not gold, the market collapses.

The good news, it could take years for a definitive answer. Thus, I’d encourage all media personalities — sports, news, pop culture, true crime, politics — to get into digital content and hope they are next in line for a lucrative licensing deal.

There’s never been a better time for media talents to chase their entrepreneurial aspirations.

“Mailbag question: Once again, loving the content at Outkick! Do you see gambling related television such as Fox Bet Live eventually attaining similar status to shows that highlight/analyze stocks (and related mutual funds, bonds, etc). Are these gambling shows using algorithms as the basis for their selections or is more gut feelings? There is a sense that as more data is accumulated and analyzed, sports gambling is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. More people will depend upon advice given during gambling shows and they want to make sure there is transparency in terms of the genuineness of said advice?

As a follow up, are these new gambling shows meant to be more in line with entertainment or do you see a trend to real analysis along lines of what you see on shows that discuss stocks, etc.?”

I don’t compare sports gambling shows to finance shows, no. I get why you could. But the latter is more serious and caters to an older demographic.

Sports betting is still a niche. Consumers of the content are not casual fans; most are dedicated gamblers. It’s not unlike fantasy football. Users look to Matthew Berry for updates, expert analysis, and advice, but also for his personality. Fantasy Football is responsible for some of ESPN’s most loose, fun, and interactive content. The selling point is entertainment, which is what sports gambling content must focus on.

Besides, do we really trust anyone to offer sports gambling advice as an authority? Not saying some aren’t more knowledge than others, but this is sports. It’s the world of the unknown. While stocks can be unpredictable, the trends are data-based and less subjective. In addition, the pie chart of investors doesn’t have a large section dedicated to participants who got drunk at a bar and bet their month’s paycheck.

Looking ahead, sports gambling content has a bright, lucrative future. Tweaks will occur as the interest grows.

“Why don’t all radio shows simulcast their shows on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch etc. to get more exposure?”

Well, some can’t just move their shows on another platform. The notable ones who do, in radio and in podcasting, own all of or parts of their shows: Dan Patrick, Pat McAfee, Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, Joe Rogan.

ESPN Radio hosts are employees. It’s up to ESPN to distribute the shows online. ESPN chooses to simulcast its top radio show on ESPNNEWS over YouTube. While the upside is limited on a channel few households know of, there’s a benefit of airing the programs in bars throughout the day.

For SiriusXM, it’d mean offering the shows distributed behind a subscription for free online. Instead, with the hope it’ll attract new subscribers, the satellite service promotes clips of its shows on social media.

Censorship is the other reason. Increasingly, some top hosts are leery of Big Tech companies. Joe Rogan was the first to express concerns. Rogan is taking his full-length episodes off YouTube to Spotify. In 2019, Mark Levin told Ben Shapiro he flirted with the idea of airing his radio show — fourth most popular in the country — on YouTube. Then he realized he didn’t trust the video platform and wanted nothing to do with it.

As long as Google doesn’t disrupt the monetization process, I expect to see more shows airing on YouTube in the coming years.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply