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Joe Rogan: Recent Controversies Boosted My Subscriptions

During Friday’s “Joe Rogan Experience,” the podcaster said allegations of COVID misinformation and charges of racism had done little to slow his growth.  

Ryan Hedrick

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Millions of new Spotify subscribers are tuning in to see what Joe Rogan will say next. During Friday’s “Joe Rogan Experience,” the podcaster said allegations of COVID misinformation and charges of racism had done little to slow his growth.  

“It’s interesting; my subscriptions went up massively — that’s what’s crazy. During the height of it all, I gained two million subscribers.”

Rogan’s show has endured a boatload of criticism, and Spotify executives faced great internal pressure to cancel Rogan after it was alleged that he spread COVID misinformation on some of his podcasts. 

Artists like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, and India Arie all threatened to boycott the platform if Spotify didn’t fire Rogan. Thankfully for Rogan, that never happened. Spotify refused to succumb to the pressure being placed on them both internally and externally. 

Rogan’s career at Spotify began in September 2020 amid much fanfare; Rogan received an exclusive deal for a reported $100 million. According to Media Monitors, Rogan’s listeners are both loyal and young. 

A survey conducted on his podcasts indicates that the average age of his listeners is 24 years old compared to the median age of a news/talk listener, which is about 52 years old.

Rogan’s deal with Spotify is reportedly worth at least double what was initially reported. Rogan has threatened to quit if he felt that he was “walking on eggshells.”

Many of the artists that left Spotify to protest Rogan have returned. 

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Media Business

Jason Whitlock: Elon Musk is Playing the Game with Twitter

Maddy Troy

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On Thursday’s episode of his podcast, Fearless with Jason Whitlock, Whitlock discusses the recent mishap between Twitter and The Daily Wire over the airing of the documentary What is a Woman on Twitter Spaces in celebration of the film’s one-year anniversary.

Whitlock begins his show with a monologue discussing the beginning of pride month then moves on to the situation concerning The Daily Wire and Twitter, “Now, this thing between The Daily Wire and Twitter, and the not allowing What is a Woman to be shown, Jeremy Boreing wrote a really compelling thread on social media about his exchange and seems very fair, and it seems very transparent about how they had agreed and then it got ixnayed and now it’s over, and he doesn’t know how Elon musk is going to react, but all of this makes me skeptical.”

Boreing Tweeted, “With Twitter’s recent commitments to free speech, we thought it would be the perfect place to distribute the film and drive the conversation forward on one of the most important topics of our day.”

As Whitlock and his panel continued to discuss the controversy, Elon tweeted his response, saying the decision “was a mistake by many people at Twitter” and permitted the film to she shown, though there continue to be reports of the video shadow banned from mass view. 

Whitlock then expressed some understanding of Elon’s decision-making and his choice to hire Linda Yaccarino as CEO, enabling him to play the corporate game, “Do you not cut the guy any grace? He invested $44 billion, that’s a big chunk of change, and he doesn’t want to lose it all, so he’s playing a game, and that’s why I think he hired this Linda woman from the WEF, he is trying to thread the needle of not losing his shirt.”

The new leadership of Twitter is under massive scrutiny, notably from free-speech-oriented outlets and media organizations such as The Daily Wire, which look to Elon’s Twitter as a safe haven for their content. With this recent upheaval, the platform will continue to be the battleground for what ideas are allowed to be freely shared, and which ones are censored. 

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Media Business

FCC’s Confirmation of Anna Gomez Expected to Cause Major Changes

Maddy Troy

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https://nhcsl.org/policy2021/anna_gomez/

The confirmation hearing for Anna Gomez, the Democrat nominated by President Biden to join the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

If confirmed, this will mark the first time since January 2021 that the Commission will have a full complement of members, breaking the previous 2-2 split that has hindered FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s progress on pending matters.

One of the crucial issues awaiting resolution is the quadrennial review of media ownership rules. The FCC needs to conclude both the 2018 and 2022 reviews, which involve similar issues and positions held by broadcasters. While it is unlikely that ownership limits will be rolled back, the addition of a third Democratic vote may enable the FCC to adopt a more measured approach to deregulation, contrasting with the preferences of the two Republican members. The FCC may reevaluate the national cap on television ownership.

Washington attorney David Oxenford says, “Some have speculated that the confirmation process could be completed early this summer,” Oxenford says. “But, as we’ve seen with that process already during this administration, there can always be surprises, and the process can change over time.”

Beyond ownership concerns, there may be increased scrutiny of radio stations’ Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) practices if the FCC moves forward with a plan to reinstate the collection of annual employee reports (Form 395-B) from stations. This practice was suspended in 2004 due to constitutional concerns related to inquiries about the race and gender of employees.

In 2021, the FCC initiated a rulemaking process (MB Docket No. 98-204) to gather further input on the legal, logistical, and technical aspects of employee data collection requirements for FCC Form 395-B. Chair Rosenworcel has expressed the importance of restarting data collection to assess workforce diversity within the industry, and a third Democratic vote could facilitate its reinstatement.

According to Inside Radio, the FCC may also make a decision on the long-pending “Franken FM” issue, which involves allowing owners of low-power TV stations on channel 6 to use new technology and reach analog radio receivers on 87.7 FM. Discussions revolve around potential grandfathering status and the elimination of distance separation rules for noncommercial FMs operating in that frequency range.

The FCC is also exploring expanded certification and reporting requirements for the Emergency Alert System, as well as enhanced public file obligations. These obligations would involve broadcasters using a standard certification form to assess whether airtime buyers have ties to foreign governments.

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Megyn Kelly & Adam Curry Discuss Media Calling Trump and DeSantis ‘Dangerous’

Maddy Troy

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On Wednesday’s episode of her podcast, The Megyn Kelly Show, Megyn Kelly discusses the corporate media’s coverage of both Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump as “dangerous” with guest Adam Curry, also known as “The Pod Father”.

Kelly starts by playing multiple clips from CNN and MSNBC’s coverage of both DeSantis and Trump, categorizing any platforming of either of the two Republican candidates as “dangerous.”

She began with a clip from MSNBC’s The Mehdi Hasan Show, with commentator and former Republican congressman David Jolly, “Ron DeSantis is far more dangerous than Donald Trump. He is a culture warrior. He wants to take us back to 100 years, he ultimately has a very dark vision of what America will be.”

The two discuss the characterization of DeSantis as more dangerous than Trump as a sign that the media would prefer Trump as the republican candidate, though they still consider Trump dangerous as well.

“It’s interesting about the ‘Trump is so dangerous’ narrative, all it does is point to this terrible media and how they make up their mind on what the narrative will be and then they will mind control you right up to the voting booth, at least they’ll try. So we’ve heard the narrative there from everybody on the left, all of them, CNN, MSNBC, even you know, some former Republicans,” she said.

Curry then responded, “We need to give thanks to President Trump for what he did give us. He showed us fake news. He showed us what the media was really doing. I think that was important.”

The two went on to discuss the media’s coverage of political figures and the implications for the upcoming election cycle, pointing to the positive side of the independent media space, most notably podcasting.

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