SiriusXM to Launch ‘Mediaite’s Press Club’ in Bid to Woo Media-News Crowd

When CNN took the long-running program “Reliable Sources” off its schedule in 2022, it created an opportunity for others to try their hand at media analysis

Published Time: 06.06.2024 - 17:31:31 Modified Time: 06.06.2024 - 17:31:31

When CNN took the long-running program “Reliable Sources” off its schedule in 2022, it created an opportunity for others to try their hand at media analysis. Several upstarts are trying to take advantage of it.

SiriusXM will launch “Mediaite‘s Press Club,” a new weekly hour-long show that will analyze events and people affecting the worlds of media and politics. The show, which will debut June 8, will air Saturdays at 10 a.m. on the satellite-broadcaster’s P.O.T.U.S. channel, and repeat at 8 p.m. in the evening. The program debuts not too soon after Semafor, a news outlet that has tried to cultivate a global audience of news aficionados, launched “Mixed Signals,” a new podcast devoted to analysis of the media sector.

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The first “Press Club” will offer a long-form interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, who discusses upcoming presidential debates hosted by CNN and ABC News, the November election, and the challenges some members of the media face when covering Donald Trump. “It’s journalistic malpractice to do a live interview with President Trump on television,” Stephanopoulos says during the exchange, which has already been taped. Future guests will include Alyssa Farah Griffin, co-host on “The View” and former Trump White House official, and media personality Charlamagne tha God.

In the view of Aidan McLaughlin, the editor of Mediaite who will host and executive produce the new series, too many programs of this sort “are boring, chummy conversations between two people with microphones and a lot to agree on. There is ample room for a show that has interviews with media figures, but challenges them because they are incredibly powerful when it comes to informing the public — and challenges them on their coverage.”

“Press Club” represents an expansion of a podcast originally featured on the media-news site, which is backed by entrepreneur Dan Abrams. At Mediaite, the podcast has nabbed interviews with personalities ranging from Tucker Carlson to Jake Tapper to Bill Maher. The hope is for such “flagship” interviews to last for as long as 30 or 40 minutes, McLaughlin says, creating “almost like a magazine profile of each guest.” The show will also feature discussions of the weeks’ events with Mediaite personalities as well as reporters from other outlets who cover the media industry.

“The aim has always been to have on timely media figures who can discuss not only their takes on the latest news or their own reporting, but also talk about their career and their perspective on the media,” says McLaughlin. “In that sense, it may be a little more in depth on the personalities than other media podcasts that might talk about the business and the trade.”

The launch of the projects from Mediaite and Semafor suggests that some journalism operations continue to see white space open after the demise of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” TV program, which ran on Sundays for three decades. CNN canceled the show in August of 2022, part of an effort to tamp d -

own on elements of programming that executives at parent Warner Bros. Discovery, which was formed in April of that year, believed were not centrist enough in their presentation of news topics. CNN has continued to operate “Reliable Sources” as an influential four-times-a-week newsletter since the TV program was spiked.

To be sure, there are still plenty of programs that analyze the media sector, including Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” and NPR’s “On The Media.” But the end of “Reliable Sources,” along with a pullback in media-sector coverage by other mainstream news sources, has given other parties including Puck Media and Vanity Fair, which features former “Reliable Sources” moderator Brian Stelter in a weekly podcast, motivation to woo the program’s audience. CNN has continued to operate “Reliable Sources” as a four-times-a-week newsletter since the TV program was spiked.

The new initiatives are surfacing with just weeks to go before the 2024 presidential election heats up — a race that typically draws broader interest in the news cycle.

Mediaite’s goal is to use the SiriusXM show to reach a wider audience than the one that flocks regularly to its digital properties, says McLaughlin.

Don’t expect “Press Club” to focus solely on the cable-news personalities and correspondents who often fuel social-media memes. “There is a massive world of newsmakers on YouTube, in the podcast space, and a lot of them have audiences that are bigger than some people in cable news,” McLaughlin notes. Among the notables he’d love to snag for an in-depth conversation in the reclusive news influential Matt Drudge or Matthias Dopfer, the CEO of Axel Springer, which has established a strong U.S. presence via its purchases of Politico, Business Insider and Morning Brew.

The launch of the show also represents a growing alliance between SiriusXM and Abrams, who already hosts his own program on the outlet. Abrams has invested in a series of niche-media outlets, including Mediaite and Bottle Raiders, a site devoted to reviews of high-end liquor. The entrepreneur, who also anchors a program on “NewsNation” and contributes to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” sold his Law & Crime legal-media outlet to Jellysmack in October of last year for approximately $125 million, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

“I am thrilled to expand my relationship with SiriusXM with this new program,” said Abrams, in a statement. “Aidan has had really insightful conversations with various top media personalities, including many who rarely do interviews, and airing it on SiriusXM’s prominent POTUS channel will make the show and Mediaite that much bigger.”

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