Ted Cruz Gets Syndication Deal, Expands Podcast To Three Times A Week

[Screenshot/YouTube/Verdict with Ted Cruz]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz recently signed a deal with a radio platform to air his popular political podcast three times a week.

Cruz struck a deal with media giant iHeartMedia to air his political podcast, “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” the podcast announced Friday. The senator began hosting the weekly podcast two-and-a-half years ago along with the conservative Daily Wire podcaster Michael Knowles.

“This thing for the podcast is just a big damn deal,” the senator said in a video announcing the deal. “iHeartRadio is a monster. It’s got 850 stations across the country, and so this was not something we were out looking for, but they came and they saw what was happening on this podcast. They saw all the work, the incredible viewers and fans and engaged viewers we have all over the country, and they said, ‘Listen, we want to take this podcast to the next level. We want to reach, we want to promote it across our 850 stations.”

iHeartRadio syndicates the podcasts of several prominent conservative pundits including Sean Hannity, Clay Travis, Buck Saxton and Jesse Kelly. It also struck a deal with former podcast host Rush Limbaugh. According to its website, iHeartMedia’s podcasts garner over 450 million monthly downloads, more than doubling the performance of Wondery (181 million) and NPR (168 million), the company’s two closest competitors. (RELATED: CNN Edits Clip Of Ted Cruz Saying Gay Marriage Ruling Was ‘Clearly Wrong,’ Left Out What He Said Next) 

The senator’s podcast is currently the 14th most popular political podcast on Apple Podcasts and has earned a rating of 4.6 out of 5 from customers, according to Chartable.

The show began in a basement on the first day of former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial in Jan. 2020, and it reached the top 10 within a few days, even topping popular podcast star Joe Rogan. The podcast has been downloaded more than 150 million times and has aired 145 episodes.

“With iHeart stepping in to promote, the reach is gonna be that much broader, and I think that’s really exciting. Because this was always about really equipping our listeners,” Cruz continued. “If you’re gonna battle to save the country, if you’re gonna take on the cultural Marxists, if you’re gonna take on the socialists and the people coming at everything that built America, you need the tools, you need the information, you need to know what’s going on. And the vision of this podcast is, we’re gonna give you as much as those tools as possible, so you’re prepared and you know the inside story.”

Knowles, who also hosts his own show for The Daily Wire, will not continue to host the podcast in order to avoid conflicts with his employer. The Daily Wire, co-founded by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, is a direct competitor of iHeart, with about 74 million downloads per month across its stable of podcasts, according to iHeart.

Ben Ferguson, a conservative podcaster who also partners with iHeart, will replace Knowles as co-host. Ferguson currently hosts “The Ben Ferguson Podcast,” the description of which reads, “If you hate the liberal media & ANTIFA but love president Trump than [sic] this is the podcast for you.”

“iHeart has a gigantic network. iHeart can fund the whole thing — fund production, dump a whole bunch of money into marketing. This is incredible. It will make this show sustainable, not just for the next few months going into the midterms, but for the next years,” Knowles said. “It’s been an amazing ride. We took it to number one of all the podcasts. Ted Cruz became a bigger podcaster than Joe Rogan and stayed there for a pretty decent period of time.”

In addition to the increased promotion, the deal with iHeart also increases the frequency of new “Verdict” episodes from around once a week to three times a week.