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CNN and iHeartRadio Launch Political Explainer Podcast ‘Election 101’ (Exclusive)

Vice president of digital productions Courtney Coupe tells TheWrap how her female-driven audio team is demystifying the electoral process

CNN and iHeartRadio launched a new podcast Wednesday with the aim of demystifying the electoral process.

“Election 101,” hosted by CNN correspondent Kristen Holmes, will use each of its ten episodes to tackle topics like gerrymandering, mail-in voting, the two-party system, the Electoral College and more.

The podcast isn’t just about this election, but about all elections and how they work, CNN’s vice president of digital productions Courtney Coupe explained to TheWrap ahead of the podcast’s launch.

“2020 is turning out to be a year that no one had expected,” she said, “and at every turn it feels like there’s another unpredictable moment and that leaves consumers with so many questions.”

She went on, “The value proposition for CNN Audio is, ‘How can we be a source for information? How can we take CNN’s expertise and provide into to our listeners?’ Around the election in particular, there are a lot of questions.”

The “expertise,” according to Coupe, isn’t just in CNN’s political team, but in her audio team, as well. Most of the audio team started this spring and, since CNN is like most media companies and has employees working from home during the pandemic, they’ve never all been in the same room together. They’ve still launched a a handful of podcasts in the last few months anyway. “Election 101” is meant to supplement the other political offerings, like “Politically Sound,” which dives deeper into headlines around this election cycle.

Coupe highlighted her female-driven leadership time in particular, lauding executive producer Megan Marcus, head of audience strategy Ashley Lusk and head of partnerships Lisa Namerow.

“It’s a really robust and female-driven leadership team. Look, we want to lean into smart, insightful, powerful voices to build this team, who come with the expertise and their own backgrounds,” she said. “These are audio experts experts and [we’re] really making sure that  we leverage the knowledge and expertise that they’ve built in the industry and kind of create our own powerhouse brands here at CNN.”

The first episode of “Election 101” is now available on CNN Audio and iHeartRadio digital platforms, on mobile via the CNN and iHeartRadio apps and everywhere podcasts are found. Future episodes will be released on Wednesdays and are distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network.