Can a Podcast Save the U.K.? Crooked Media Takes on British Politics

Crooked’s journey across the Atlantic is the latest example of the company’s growth since the first episode of “Pod Save America” landed in podcast feeds in January 2017. The show currently averages 12 million monthly downloads and YouTube streams, according to Crooked. And the network at large has started 30 podcasts since its inception, with 17 active podcasts on its roster.

Many of those podcasts have extended beyond the realm of straight political commentary into health (“America Dissected”), culture (“Keep It”) and scripted comedy (“Edith!”). This is in addition to the company’s foray into television, its live shows and a muscular merchandise offering.

“Pod Save the U.K.” enters a British media landscape in which political podcasts are increasingly popular. “The Rest is Politics,” fronted by the former Labour communications director Alastair Campbell and the former Conservative lawmaker Rory Stewart, regularly sits at the top of British podcast charts. As does “Novara Live,” a podcast from left-wing media organization Novara Media, and “The News Agents,” a daily podcast hosted by three former BBC journalists.

The success of alternative political news sources in Britain comes, in part, from “a growing dissatisfaction with the way news is reported by established organizations,” said Adam Shepherd, the editor of PodPod, a British podcasting industry publication. “There’s a lot of people that feel, rightly or wrongly, that there’s an increasing amount of organizational bias that goes into news publication, that there are areas of news reporting that are being underserved.”

Against this backdrop, what ambitions do the hosts have for the show? Khan said that she hoped to offer a different perspective. “I was just like looking at politics podcasts and with the exception of Novara, when you look at all the artwork, it’s pretty much exclusively men, close to, a few women, and not really that many brown faces,” she said.

For Kumar, “I think it will be nice for the people around me that I have a weekly outlet for my news-based grievances,” he said.

“I’m hoping this will have a net beneficial effect on my interpersonal relationships,” he added.

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