Pod Save America Hosts And Crooked Media Founders To Publish First Book, Democracy Or Die

Pod Save America hosts and Crooked Media co-founders Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor announced that they will publish their first book, titled Democracy or Else.

This no-nonsense guide to saving American democracy is published by Zando’s Crooked Media Reads imprint, with world publishing rights acquired by Zando senior editor Sara Ried. Crooked Media will donate its profits from ‘Democracy or Else’ to support Vote Save America, it’s partners, and other organizations who are mobilizing for progressive outcomes in the 2024 election and beyond.

Democracy or Else: How to Save America in 10 Easy Steps, written by Favreau, Lovett, and Vietor with Emmy-nominated writer/producer Josh Halloway (Jimmy Kimmel Live!), will be released on June 4, 2024 from Crooked Media Reads, a partnership between the progressive media company and independent publisher Zando.

Just in time for the 2024 presidential election cycle, Democracy or Else takes readers on a step-by-step journey through the daunting task of citizenship – from the basics of how to vote, donate, and volunteer – to organizing, working in politics, and running for office. With the biting humor and honestly Crooked Media listeners have come to expect, the authors tackle the series challenges facing our country by providing accessible ways to implement change without losing hope or your mind.

The irreverent, insightful guide draws on the authors’ extensive political experience in the Obama presidential campaign and administration, featuring never-before-heard anecdotes and exclusive interviews with some of the best political minds around.

“Politics is a slog, and it’s frustrating even on the days when a mob isn’t hunting Mitt Romney,” said Favreau, Lovett, and Vietor. “We started Pod Save America and Crooked Media to give people an outlet for their anger, to find ways to help and find humor and joy in the fight. This book has a lot of what we’ve learned from the smartest organizations and least annoying politicians, plus jokes everyone will love without exception.”

Crooked Media has produced Pod Save America and more than 30 other shows sine its founding in 2017. Crooked also launched Vote Save America, a resource for political information and a powerful community designed to help voters participate in democracy, and build a more progressive world. Vote Save America has become a critical organizing resource, driving $60M+ in donations to progressive candidates and causes, and activating over 500,000 voters. Democracy or Else is an extension of this work, a guide for everyone from aspiring activists to first-time voters who are ready to get involved but don’t know where to start.

Zando CEO and founder Molly Stern said, “We’re honored to publish Democracy or Else. It’s both the most important guide you’ll read, and perhaps the funniest book about civic engagement out there. It comes from experts, who spent years in the White House, who know policy inside-and-out, and who have been using their incredible influence to get people of all ages engaged in our democratic process, both through shows like Pod Save America and their incredible Vote Save America initiative.”

Democracy or Else follows Crooked Media Reads’ first publication, Mobility, by acclaimed author and journalist Lydia Kiesling, which was released in August 2023 and became an instant national bestseller. Crooked Media Reads’ books explore politics, current events and activism, narratives on culture and policy, memoir, pop culture, history, and investigative journalism from a wide and diverse range of perspectives.

Crooked Media will donate its profits from Democracy or Else to support Vote Save America, it’s partners and other organizations who are working to educate Americans on legislation and major political events and give them the tools they need to have an impact and create change on the issues that matter. 

Crooked Media Expands Executive Leadership Team

Crooked Media, a progressive independent media company that delivers bold content to entertain, inform and inspire action, announced the appointment of several new executives to help support the company’s continued expansion of its news and politics offerings. 

Madeline Haeringer has been named Executive Vice President and General Manager of News and Programming; Reid Cherlin has been appointed Executive Producer of Politics; Dariush Brizuela-Nothaft has been named Senior Vice President of Community and Partnerships; and Crystal Ponzio-Busto has been elevated to Executive Vice President of marketing.

As the 2024 election cycle approaches, Crooked Media is continuing to invest in news and expanding the community infrastructure to provide fans with opportunities to connect, take action, and get involved.

Leading Crooked’s News team will be Haeringer and Cherlin who will oversee content expansions and more breaking news coverage across Crooked’s podcasts. Prior to joining Crooked, Haeringer served as Senior Vice President of Editorial for NBC News, where she was responsible for guiding the editorial agenda across the entire news division. She’s also led NBC’s audio business, which became a top five audio publisher under her leadership. 

Cherlin also comes to Crooked from NBC News where he was a Managing Editor for Podcasts, overseeing #1 hit Southlake – which won a Peabody Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize – as well as American Radical and Tiffany Dover is Dead, among others. Joining the team led by Haeringer and Cherlin are Alyona Minkowski, David Toledo, Farrah Safari, and from The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, and Gimlet Media respectively.

Brizuela-Nothaft, meanwhile, has been tapped to lead the Community and Partnerships team, which will focus on the newly-launched “Friends of the Pod” subscription community, e-commerce live events and partnerships. Brizuela-Nothhaft is a seasoned executive with experience in marketing, creative, and business development, working for companies like Disney, SoulPancake, and Maker Studios prior to joining Crooked.

Additionally, Ponzio-Busto has been elevated to Executive Vice President of Marketing. In this new role, she will continue to lead marketing, communications and audience development across Crooked’s broad roster of content including news, politics, entertainment and culture. Prior to Crooked, she held marketing positions at Hulu and Netflix.

“We are thrilled to expand our executive leadership team with these amazingly talented and smart individuals,” said Lucinda Treat, CEO of Crooked Media. “We are always working to tell impactful and important stories, expand our slate of programming, and attract the next wave of Crooked fans to the network, and I know this team will help us do all of these things. We look forward to informing and getting people involved as we had towards 2024.”

To date, Crooked Media has launched more than 30 podcasts and digital series since its founding in 2017. The current lineup of ambitious, award-winning storytelling and analysis generates more than 22 million downloads. For more information, please visit www.crooked.com.

Crooked Media And Adobe Partner To Make Podcasts More Accessible

Adobe announced a partnership with Crooked Media, the progressive independent media company that delivers bold content to entertain, inform and inspire action, to make podcasts accessible, leveraging Adobe Premiere Pro’s Speech to Text technology to caption popular content.

At a time when video and podcasting are both skyrocketing in popularity, the ability to turn around entertaining, digestible and accessible content on increasingly tight timelines is crucial to the success of any media company. When Crooked Media, a longtime user of Adobe Creative Cloud, committed to making its award-winning content accessible to wider audiences through captioning, it was a natural fit for Adobe and Crooked Media to work together.

This partnership is now a reality as Adobe’s industry-leading Speech to Text feature set in Premier Pro is being used across Crooked Media’s video platforms to caption popular content including interviews and clips from Pod Save America, the popular political podcast hosted by Crooked founders and former Obama staffers and speechwriters, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, as well as Lovett or Leave It, Offline, Pod Save the World, Keep It, and X-Ray Vision.

“When Crooked Media debuted in 2016, we were purely a podcast company, but we quickly learned that video was going to play an important role in helping us reach new audience and make our content accessible to more people,” said Matt DeGroot, senior director of video production at Crooked Media. “However, the tools in the market didn’t offer the speed and accuracy that we needed for our quick productions and turnaround times. Speech to Text in Premiere Pro allows us to put high-quality captions on all our video content, opening the door for more people to participate in the podcast experience.”

“Making amazing podcasts is Crooked Media’s bread and butter, and we’re big admirers of their work,” said Meagan Keane, principal product marketing manager at Adobe. “It’s so exciting for use to see Speech to Text in podcast content available today, and we are proud to know that it’s helping to make their shows more accessible so that more people can partake in the experience.”

As a media company that publishes news analysis and timely commentary, efficiency and accuracy are extremely important for the Crooked Media production team, who aim for just three hours between the moment the producer hits “stop recording” to when the podcast episode is live. However, turning around high-quality captions in a quick time frame can be challenging. Video creators and editors often have to make their captions manually after waiting for the transcription to be created – which can take longer than 24 hours – or switch between different tools for various tasks, limiting the use of captions across video content.

Speech to Text in Premier Pro leverages AL and machine learning to automate the creation of transcriptions and captions, speeding up the tedious and time-consuming process so that the Crooked Media team can get high-quality, precise captions for their video podcasts and social media channels fast, making their content more engaging and accessible without missing a beat.

The podcasting industry has matured and expanded into one of the world’s biggest platforms for people to tell stories, share news and content authentically with their audiences. Adobe is committed to innovating alongside the growing industry by introducing tools like Speech to Text in Premier Pro, Project Shasta for AI-powered editing and recording to make audio sound like it was recorded in a studio and Adobe Express for free podcast cover templates and art.

Crooked Media Announces 2021-22 Slate

Crooked Media – the progressive media company that delivers bold and entertaining content across news, politics and culture – announced its newest development slate, which includes four original premiers, new seasons for fan-favorite podcasts, and a Pod Save America spinoff interview series, with more to be announced in the coming months.

New podcasts premiering soon include X-Ray Vision, a weekly deep dive into the internet’s favorite fandoms and the most talked about franchises across entertainment, from Middle-earth to Waystar Royco, helmed by Emmy-winning host and Crooked executive producer Jason Concepcion (Binge Mode, Takeline); an Untitled History of Policing Project, hosted by Peabody award-winning Chenjerai Kumanyika that will provide the first accessible narrative history of police in American popular culture; and 544 Days, an autobiographical exploration of journalist Jason Rezaian’s political imprisonment in Iran, produced in partnership with Spotify’s Gimlet and A24. The nine-episode limited series will be available exclusively on Spotify in September.

Crooked will also introduce a weekly interview show that will premiere in the Pod Save America feed: a spinoff series titled Offline with Jon Favreau. Through one-on-one conversations with some of the brightest minds and biggest newsmakers, Favreau will explore the question of whether the internet is slowly breaking our brains, and what we can do about it. Offline with Jon Favreau promises to provide more of what audiences love about Pod Save America, including the fun, no-bullshit approach that has made it a top-5 weekly podcast for the last four years. Offline with Jon Favreau will premiere in the Pod Save America podcast feed and on Crooked’s YouTube channel this fall.

Unholier Than Thou, a fan-favorite that explores the intersection of the saintly and secular, hosted by journalist and editor Phillip Picardi, returns for season 2 this September. Over 10 episodes, Picardi will continue his introspective examination of the role of religion and spirituality in our daily lives. With a focus on post-pandemic “resurrection”, Picardi will be talking recovery, rediscovery, resilience, resolutions, and more.

Crooked has also found great success with digital video and is excited to add Crooked History to its lineup of YouTube-exclusive content. The show is Crooked’s first non-fiction narrative video series featuring Crooked network personalities, Ben Rhodes (Missing America, Pod Save the World), Erin Ryan (Hysteria), and Kaya Henderson (Pod Save the People). In Crooked’s signature style, the show will cover important lessons your history teacher may have skipped.

Crooked Media also announced its primary 2021 political campaign from Vote Save America, the company’s political action and voter engagement arm. The “No Off Years” campaign aims to re-engage voters following the success of 2020 via remote volunteer opportunities, targeted donations, and education on what’s at stake next year and beyond. “No Off Years” will be highlighted and promoted across the Crooked network.

Crooked Media shows can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher and wherever listeners listen to podcasts. For more information, please visit www.crooked.com.

Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It Announce Tour

Crooked Media has several podcasts. Two of the most popular ones are Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It. Billboard reported that the hosts of those podcasts have announced a tour.

Pod Save America: Live and Lovett or Leave It: Live on Tour will hit a collective 17 dates across the U.S. beginning with Lovett or Leave It: Live on Tour at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, Iowa on Jan. 30. The shows will continue through San Diego, Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit, Nashville, and more.

According to Billboard, the podcast co-hosts, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor and Dan Pfeiffer, are aiming their election year tour towards battleground states, including Ohio, Kentucky, Detroit, Nashville, and more.

The Crooked Media website says: Crooked Media is hitting the road to a city / hamlet / fictional metropolis near you! Tickets for the 2020 Tour are on sale as of January 18, 2020. Tickets are sold for each, individual, show.

Pod Save America is described as: “A no-bullshit conversation about politics.” It is hosted by former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Timmy Vietor. It cuts through the noise to break down the week’s news, and helps people figure out what matters and how they can help.

Lovett or Leave It is described as: “A week in review recorded in front of a live audience. It’s great.” Each week, former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett and a panel of comedians, actors, journalists, and some of the many, many, famous Friends of the Pod appear before a live audience to break down the week’s biggest news.

Pod Save America to Release Series on the Iowa Caucuses

Crooked Media, and Pineapple Street Studios announced that they will release a five-episode limited series on the Iowa caucuses. Pod Save America: On the Ground in Iowa will be hosted by Crooked Media co-founder and Pod Save America co-host, Tommy Vietor, and will take listeners to Iowa to spend time with candidates, campaign staffers, and voters who will determine the outcome. Vietor worked as the Iowa Press Secretary for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Debuting on Tuesday, November 19, this limited series aims to help listeners understand why Iowa is the first state in the primary process, how the caucuses work, and what it takes to win. The show is produced by the Pineapple Street Studios team led by Senior Producer Kat Aaron.

“We’ve been looking for an ambitious narrative series that can help explain this inexplicable political moment, and we’re so thrilled to have found it with Crooked – there’s nobody better to partner with on a show like this. We’re honored. Tommy is the exact right person to help us all understand how and why Iowa became the key to deciding who will take on Trump in 2020,” said Max Linsky, co-founder of Pineapple Street Studios.

“The Democratic Primary is going to run through Iowa,” Vietor said. “We want to help listeners understand how the caucuses work, the good parts and the bad, and introduce them to the young organizers who are at the heart and soul of these campaigns.”

The special will be available on the Pod Save America feed; each episode title will begin with Iowa. You can subscribe to Pod Save America on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play Podcasts, Tunein, and via RSS feed.