Trying to find the perfect podcast for political insights and analysis? Rachel Maddow’s The Rachel Maddow Show may be a great fit for you if you enjoy the MSNBC news or Rachel’s presentation style.
Today, we’re sharing a complete breakdown of The Rachel Maddow Podcast, its history, the creator behind the show, and the show’s reception.
Who is The Creator Behind the Show?
Born in Castro Valley, California, Rachel Anne Maddow is a television host, political commentator, author, and podcast host with strong liberal politics. Previously, she had a syndicated talk radio program called The Rachel Maddow Show which aired on Air America Radio from 2005 to 2010.
For her work, she has received multiple Emmy Awards for broadcasting and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her recent book Blowout published in 2019.
Before launching her successful career, she attended Standford University, earning a bachelor’s degree in public policy. She also earned a doctorate in political science from the University of Oxford. Rachel is the first openly lesbian news anchor to host a major prime-time news program in the United States and win a Rhodes Scholarship.
How has The Rachel Maddow Show Gained Popularity?
Before The Rachel Maddow Show aired on MSNBC, Rachel was a regular panelist on the MSNBC Show Tucker. She also substitute hosted for Countdown with Keith Olbermann and filled in for David Gregory as a Race for the White House host.
Keith Olbermann was impressed with Rachel’s success and presentation and persuaded Phil Griffin to give her a time slot on air. This led to the August 2008 MSNBC announcement about The Rachel Maddow Show replacing Verdict with Dan Abrams in the popular 9 pm slot.
A lot of this show’s popularity can be attributed to the popularity of the MSNBC network.
However, Rachel’s engaging personality and presentation style led the audience to double during that 9 pm time slot, showing that the combination of the popular network and an excellent host was the primary cause of the show’s popularity.
The show also received many positive reviews, including reviews from The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and Associated Press, providing the show with more exposure.
Another notable hike in popularity occurred during the mid-May 2017 controversies around the Trump administration. During this time, the MSNBC network surpassed other massive networks in views, and The Rachel Maddow Show became the number one non-sports program showing on cable for the first time ever.
Themes and Topics Covered
Rachel has shared that her show’s goal is to increase useful information worldwide and provide listeners with new insights they haven’t already heard. Her show covers wide topics, typically including American liberal news and commentary.
Common news topics include Republican policies, the Trump administration, daily American news, commentary on wars and global issues, public safety, and much more.
Reach of The Rachel Maddow Show
Recent numbers reveal that the show averaged 4.3 million viewers in January 2021, making it the highest-rated program amongst all American cable television, including non-news programs. It’s also averaged the most viewers within the sought-after 25 to 54 demographic.
In addition to Rachel’s show, she has a very popular Twitter account with over 10 million followers, which is regularly updated with her retweets and thoughts on American news.
She also has a fan-ran account for the show with nearly 7,000 followers. The fan-run Twitter account is run by volunteers and typically retweets information about Rachel’s podcast, achievements, and speaking engagements.
The Format of the Podcast
Rachel is well known for starting her broadcasts with lengthy stories, often around 20 minutes. She calls these blocks “A-blocks” and fills them with film clips and other media from previous years or decades. During the episode, she connects these past clips and stories to the day’s news and reveals her thoughts.
This podcast also releases many short-form clips, typically ten minutes or less, of the podcast, which cover only one news topic, likely to make the series more shareable on social media.
Rachel Maddow frequently hosts guests and co-hosts on other podcasts. For example, she recently joined American lawyer Harry Litman in discussing American fascism on her special podcast Ultra.
The first guest on the show was Keith Olbermann, who is credited with initially convincing MSNBC to give Rachel her show.
Other frequent guest hosts include:
- Anna Maria Cox
- Howard Dean
- Melissa Harris-Perry
- Chris Hayes
- Arianna Huffington
- Lawrence O’Donnell
- Andrea Mitchell
- David Shuster
- Steve Kornacki
- Alison Steward
- Bill Wolff
- Joy Reid
- Ari Melber
- Nicolle Wallace
- Richard Lui
- Alex Wagner
- Ayman Mohyeidin
- Ali Veishi
- Mehdi Hasan
Reception and Impact
Since launching, The Rachel Maddow Show has undoubtedly been widely and highly received by many. It has made many huge impacts, including being the first news show with an openly lesbian host.
The Rachel Maddow Show has an average rating of 4.4 stars on Apple Podcasts and Audible.
According to Chartable, it is the 92nd most popular podcast in the All Podcast category in the USA on Apple Podcasts and the 14th most popular podcast in the United States of America News category. The podcast also has an impressive ranking in Great Britain and Canada, despite focusing almost exclusively on American politics.
Rachel’s show has also won countless awards, including a 2017 Emmy Award in the Outstanding Live Interview category and Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis category. The show has also received a Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s 2010 Maggie Award and has been nominated for News and Documentary Emmies.
Whether or not you agree with the politics shared on The Rachel Maddow Show, it’s undeniable that her show’s 1500+ episodes have had a massive impact on recent American politics and news commentary. Rachel’s reach and punchy podcast format have significantly impacted many, which is well reflected in the podcast’s large viewership.
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