Podcasts continue to gain popularity among news organizations, and with election season heating up, GateHouse Media has rolled out Inside Florida Politics, a new podcast combining the Sunshine State’s political coverage all in one place.
Released every Thursday, the podcast features reporting from the Palm Beach Post, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Florida Times-Union, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Lakeland Ledger, Gainesville Sun, Ocala Star-Banner and Northwest Florida Daily News, and Inside Florida Politics.
The hosts include Palm Beach Post political reporter George Bennett, Sarasota Herald-Tribune political director Zac Anderson and GateHouse Media State Capitol reporter John Kennedy. The hosts are digitally connected to sound like they are in the same room, delivering seamless, collaborative political coverage. And instead of a structured podcast, the hosts use themes each week as jumping-off points that explore topics, such as the state’s primaries, winners, losers and trends from the election.
Additionally, GateHouse makes it easy for news consumers to listen to the show by imbedding links to the podcast on more than a dozen newspaper home pages and inside a weekly political newsletter sent to readers.
According to Rob Connelly, director of digital audio for GateHouse Media, the podcast currently receives a few thousand downloads per episode and continues to grow as they rollout throughout the Florida network.
With this type of technology and coverage, the team hopes to bring more reporters on to their podcast live from political events as they unfold, along with the possibility of interviewing voters on the spot throughout Florida.
“The podcast gives the consumer a ‘you are there’ element with interviews and live sound from campaign events during the week,” said Kennedy. “With nationally-watched races for governor and U.S. Senate going on in our state, we’re also exploring ways to get the candidates or their handlers on to the podcast for brief interviews while they’re on the trail.”
Kennedy emphasized that the team views the podcast as an important supplement to the daily political coverage that GateHouse newspapers already produce throughout the state.
“GateHouse papers are already a potent force in Florida,” said Kennedy. “And our podcast can expand our reach and maybe even attract listeners who may discover our papers only after finding our podcast on iTunes or through social media platforms.”
Connelly said that the podcast won’t end when election season comes to a close; it will continue with the hosts analyzing legislature. He added that the show has been so successful that advertisers are taking notice, and the podcast expects to have a sponsor by this month.
“It is important to work with a civic minded sponsor as the issues discussed relate to the daily lives of its residents,” said Connelly.