Like many of you, I’m sure I listen to more podcasts than are probably good for me, and not all of them are political in nature. (*Tosses a shout out to Mysterious Universe.) Just this past month I added a new entry to my weekly lineup when the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart launched his new series, Cape Up. Regular readers are probably aware that whenever I reference Jonathan’s writings at the WaPo here it’s almost always to disagree with him, and it’s a safe bet that we have very few issues on the political spectrum where we see eye to eye. With that bit of history as prologue, you’ll hopefully appreciate the fact that I have found the first few weeks of this podcast to be a refreshing, enlightening listen.
From the technical side of things, Cape Up is very slick and well produced, particularly when you consider how many problems most new podcasters run into when first launching their efforts. The intro and musical selection are short while providing a good match for the content which the listener gets to quickly. (I can’t tell you how many podcasts I’ve bailed out on from otherwise talented people who develop an intro or outro which is longer than some other shows in their entirety.) The audio quality is excellent, speaking to a good studio environment, and the episodes run less than a half hour so you can easily fit them into a lunch break. But content is king as with any medium and that’s what made Cape Up a pleasant surprise.
Capehart abandons the idea of doing the same old, rote interviews with the politico du jour who said something idiotic this week and covering the same turf as every cable news show out there. He’s picking some interesting guests and blending unusual tidbits about their background into how they view current events, with a fair dose of slice-of-life information which humanizes the person on the other side of the mic. His first guest was former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and I would have described it as eye opening if this weren’t an entirely audio driven format. (Did you know Steele was a monk before he got into politics? How he applied that experience to dealing with the day to day operations of the RNC is worth the price of admission alone.)
His next two guests were liberals – not terribly unexpected given his openly professed leanings – but the fact that he’s willing to mix it up between ideologies is promising, providing he continues on that path. I asked Jonathan a few brief questions about his new endeavor.
Hot Air: How are you finding the podcasting experience so far and how does it compare to your previous work in newspapers and television?
Jonathan Capehart: Podcasting puts together all the things I like doing — writing (questions), TV (performance) and radio (voice) — without the pressure of lights and make-up. It also allows me to showcase a guest or topic or both I think more folks should know.
HA: Are you reaching a different audience now or is this more of an extension of your current editorial work?
JC: I don’t know enough yet about whether I’m reaching a ‘different’ audience than TV or print. But I do know that this is such an intimate medium that people who want to know more about something or someone gravitate to podcasts. My hope is that my audience (such as it is and as it grows) will be introduced to different people, voices and experiences. I also want the listener to come away feeling like they know more about someone they thought they already knew.
HA: Are you able to get all the guests you want for a podcast as opposed to interview subjects for the Washington Post or television?
JC: The response has been great. And because my field of interest is wide, we have scheduled interviews stacked like planes landing at O’Hare. I hope it lasts.
All in all, if you’re a conservative who is only interested in hearing conservative opinions, this obviously might not be your cup of tea. But in terms of rounding out your political input, this podcast is well produced, easy on the ears and the format is producing some worthwhile content thus far. Give it a shot. Cape Up is available on iTunes for Apple and on Stitcher for you Android fans, along with many of the other usual outlets.