Now in its fourth year, Friday Morning Podcast is one of the best podcasts extant on Michigan politics, says Steve Friess of HOUR DETROIT magazine.
Friess lists five podcasts that “Get Michigan Politics Right,” including not only Friday Morning Podcast but also MIRS Monday, The Craig Fahle Show, Michigan Policast, and Field Days.
All Friday Morning Podcasts are permanently archived on TheBallengerReport.com website. You can listen to nearly 200 shows, roughly half an hour to 40 minutes each, dating back to mid-2016.
“Not long ago, if you wanted to hear smart conversation about Michigan politics, Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside was the most credible place to turn. You might also drop in on whatever Mildred Gaddis had going on at WCHB and, later, WPZR, to take the pulse of Detroit’s African-American community. Frank Beckmann on WJR still does a solid job as well. But the pickings continue to be slim over the air.
“Fortunately, we’re in a new era. To stay up on what’s happening these days, it’s not only useful but also essential to know what’s happening in the podcast world. But with so many programs spread across your favorite podcast app — I use a free one called Overcast, which is sleeker and far easier to use than Stitcher or Apple Podcasts — how to economize your time?
“As you get on the road for holiday travels this season and roll into the momentous political year of 2020, here are the five programs you didn’t know you needed to figure out what’s happening in the Wolverine State. Although many over-the-air shows are also available as podcasts, this ranking is exclusive to programs created specifically on an ongoing basis for the podcast medium.
“While this list is impressive, there’s plenty of room for more. It’s baffling that the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, MLive, Bridge Magazine, Michigan Advance, the Mackinac Center, and Crain’s Detroit Business don’t offer news-oriented podcasts. The list is also far too white and male, but that’s also a function of what exists right now. … Where the heck are (the women)?
“Friday Morning Podcast
“Former State Sen. Bill Ballenger and Dennis Denno, a longtime campaign messaging guru and pollster, team up for an often-raucous conversation about the week’s political news. They balance each other nicely. Ballenger is a conservative who is rarely stridently partisan, while Denno seems more center-left, and they meet in the middle to honestly assess what’s happening and where they think things are heading. Ballenger also happens to have an encyclopedic knowledge of state political history going back to the 19th century, and that often results in truly illuminating nuggets. Most of the interviews are of poor and uneven audio quality — I’ve told Ballenger this in the past, but nothing seems to change. It’s too bad, too, because these getting-to-know-you conversations with state lawmakers, if you battle through their many crackles and tinny pitch, often teach the audience fascinating tidbits about parts of the state that are almost never heard from in mainstream media.
“Field Days, produced by the Michigan Department of Corrections, proves that state agencies are capable of compelling programming.”