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Exclusive: Freakonomics Radio gets SiriusXM channel

Kerry Flynn
Mar 28, 2022
Illustration of a green apple wearing headphones.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Freakonomics Radio, the popular show and podcast network spun from the 2005 book, is getting its own channel on SiriusXM, executives exclusively tell Axios.

Why it matters: Freakonomics is an early example of successfully expanding intellectual property from one medium to another. Podcasts, in particular, have transformed into lucrative media brands with loyal followings.

Details: The 24/7 channel features a curated selection of Freakonomics content, including the nearly 500-episode, 12-year archive of the original show, along with the networks' three other shows: "No Stupid Questions," "People I (Mostly) Admire" and "Freakonomics M.D."

  • The SiriusXM channel will be a "totally different experience and exposure," says Stephen Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics book series and host of the flagship show. "The reach is so far beyond anything that I and we have ever been involved with that it really feels like a quantum leap."
  • It's the first SiriusXM channel dedicated to a podcast.
  • Though, SiriusXM recently has added more podcast hosts and content to existing channels, including weekly shows from the hosts of "Last Podcast on the Left" and TikTok star Tinx. It just announced a deal with Crooked Media.
  • "We have at least 32 million subscribers on our satellite radio platform. Some of them are already podcast listeners, and some are not. But all of them love audio, and we are in a unique position to open them to new ways to consume that audio," SiriusXM's president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says.
  • Greenstein declined to share deal terms but says the company plans to announce more podcast hosts and shows joining SiriusXM soon.

Catch up quick: In 2010, Dubner teamed up with American Public Media and New York Public Radio to launch Freakonomics Radio, available as a podcast and on public radio. In 2018, it partnered with Stitcher, which SiriusXM bought in 2020.

  • The four shows get between 11 and 12 million monthly downloads, Dubner says.

What's next: Dubner says his team is piloting two new shows, including one that is "much shorter and less academic" than the existing ones.

  • "By two years from now, I'd love to have something like eight or 10 shows," Dubner says. "I'm not trying to have 100 shows, but I like new things."
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