Axios Pro: Media Deals

September 07, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Good morning, Media Deals readers!

🐦 Situational awareness: Elon Musk can introduce claims from the Twitter whistleblower into his countersuit, a Delaware court ruled today. But the judge denied Musk's request to delay the October trial, Dan Primack writes.

  • 🗓️ Apple's "Far Out" event starts at 1pm EDT. It's expected to introduce new iPhones and Apple Watch models.

1 big thing: Cumulus ditches podcast conference

Illustration of protest sign with angry emoji
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Cumulus has dropped its support of Podcast Movement after an unusual confrontation on Twitter between the annual podcast industry conference and The Daily Wire, Sara Fischer writes.

Why it matters: The ordeal highlights the growing rift between established media entities and conservative outlets and personalities with large fan bases.

Details: An unexpected appearance by Ben Shapiro, founding editor-in-chief and editor emeritus of The Daily Wire, at the conference last month prompted an outcry from members of the conference community, according to now-deleted tweets from Podcast Movement.

  • Shapiro, according to sources familiar with the event and a video posted to Twitter by The Daily Wire, stopped by a conference booth paid for by The Daily Wire to greet fans and take pictures on Aug. 24.
  • The following day, Podcast Movement put out a series of now-deleted tweets apologizing to its community for Shapiro's presence.
  • "Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence," one tweet said. "Those of you who called this 'unacceptable' are right."

State of play: Cumulus' podcast network has managed The Daily Wire's advertising sales since 2016. Shapiro's radio show has been nationally syndicated through Westwood One, a radio network owned by Cumulus Media, since 2019.

  • In response to the saga, Cumulus told Axios in a statement yesterday that it's "disassociating" from Podcast Movement, "including canceling our 2023 sponsorship plans."

💭 Kerry's thought bubble: While Podcast Movement spoke out against Shapiro's presence after the fact, it had allowed his company to host a sponsored booth. The controversy will likely cause this conference and others to re-evaluate their sponsorship rules.

  • Other companies continue to associate with The Daily Wire. As we covered in yesterday's newsletter, TuneIn has added 325 podcasts from Cumulus Podcast Network to its streaming platform. That includes "The Ben Shapiro Show."

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