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Episode

 40

Should I get Political when I podcast? (Pros vs. Cons)

With

Steve Kuzj

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Credits

Production

Bright Sighted Podcasting

Host

Christine O'Donnell

Assistant Producer

Editor

Cancel culture seems to be a toxic trend in the US and beyond. Politics and religion often play huge roles. Inevitably, we may feel drawn to give our opinions on various political and/or religious issues. Or, we may want to shy away from sharing. But should you? In this episode, TV news journalist and political junkie Steve Kuzj gives us his take on the benefits and the hazards of sharing political views.

Time Codes: 

5:37 Local news reporters and anchors are often told NOT to get political

“As a television news reporter, I’ve spent more than a decade told, ‘do not go there. Do not say this. Stick to this angle, and stay neutral.’ I know that might shock a lot of people, that news reporters are supposed to be unbiased and neutral, but that is actually true. “

12:17 There is a risk when getting political; the last thing you want to do is offend people

“The last thing you want to do is offend your advertisers, the people who could be potentially paying your bills.”

“Or your audiences…”

“Or especially audiences, because if you lose your audiences, you’re gonna lose those advertisers.”

12:33 Be authentic above all else

“I do think with podcasting pacifically, authenticity has been so important. So not speaking up about something you believe it could also hurt you. So, there is kind of this weird Catch-22 where it’s like, do I or do I not share what my political beliefs are? And if I share, am I going to be canceled?”

17:45  Talking politics is risky when you don’t know how people will react

“I just feel that this can be really… “

“Touchy. Especially with family. There is a reason why people tell you not to talk politics with family. And I guess it’s probably a big reason you may not want to talk politics at your job, or especially on your podcast, with supporters who you might not know which way you lean or how they will feel…  just like you may not know how your uncle feels about a certain thing.”

18:44 Does politics or religion fit your brand?

“Is talking politics or religion or another potentially, maybe not offensive, but offensive topics, is that your brand? Will that help your brand? You have to ask yourself, how is this going to help me in the long run? Could this be misinterpreted?”

26:09 Sometimes there is a demand from your audience to hear your political opinion

“In the run-up to the presidential election, there was actually a lot of demand from, not just from companies, but from fans and supporters of various influencers and social media stars, for them to speak out about their political beliefs. I think the ones were being called out the most already had a strong following of supporters who were already Trump supporters or Biden supporters, and I think their audiences really wanted to know, ‘hey, we look to you every day for fun and entertainment but with something so important like a presidential election, now more than ever, we want to know where do you stand on this issue? Which candidate do you support? Are you this person who we really feel like we can connect with?’  We feel like we know you. We need to know this about you.“

27:07 Expect some backlash with any opinion

“I think you really need to know who your audience is, and if you are going to tell people, ‘I voted this way, or I think you should go this way.’ On anything, you need to know where your audience stands so you’re not in for a big shock when all of a sudden you tell people whatever belief you have, and all of a sudden your comments are just horrible. Just vile people trashing you about one thing or another. And even if people do support you, either way, you’re probably going to get some backlash from people who don’t see eye to eye with you. “

27:51 Don’t be hypocritical

“Companies, or let’s say Podcasters, who claim to stay true to a set of internally held values, and those values perpetuate their image, and that’s what links them to their audience and consumers if they do not share their political beliefs, or their opinion, then they are going to be called hypocritical.”

28:19 You’re never going to make everyone happy

“If you’re going to be putting yourself out there in front of a microphone or camera, you open yourself up to backlash matter what. You were never going to make everyone happy.”

28:42 What have you built your brand around

“My personal opinion is authenticity is super important. So if you have built a brand around your value and your value is super liberal, or that’s what you’ve built your identity on, or if it’s not, then you don’t have to share it. There are pros and cons. “

29:08 – “You have to be OK with losing followers. You have to be OK with having less sales. If you are your own business or your own podcast with advertisers, you just have to be aware that, “hey if I share my beliefs, people are going to leave. People are going to hate me. People are going to say mean things.”

29:31 – “You might have some people who embrace it even more and share you with their friends that have similar beliefs as them. So the followers you lose you could make up for any games. Again, it’s all very tricky. So before you start spouting off opinions that might not be related to your brand, know your audience.”

30:40 – “I think the most important thing is, if you really want to have a show where you feel free to unleash your opinion about whatever whenever, especially if that’s politics or religion or any of the above, I start that podcast.”

31:58 – “If you feel that inside you need to take a stand and say, “this is who I voted for and this is why” because it personally fuels you, you have to be OK with losing followers. You have to be OK with possibly losing sales. With making people angry. And if you can still sleep at night because you know you stuck true to who you are and what you believe and the very core of you, gosh, I am all for that. I lean into that.”

38:20 – “You say you support one thing, and all of these negative connotations with that one thing come flooding in based on the heated rhetoric that we had building up in this country for years.”

39:14 – “If you are going to put your opinions out there, be open to the fact that people are not going to agree with you. It’s not going to happen. I know that 100% we were going to feel that you were going to feel that you were right on some things, like I feel that I am right on some things, like Christine feels that she is right on some things, but go into it with an understanding that you are not going to see eye to eye with other people, or even your followers sometimes if you’re going to get opinionated or political and don’t be shocked if it happens.”

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