How Mike Baker’s ‘The President’s Daily Brief’ rocketed to the top of podcast charts in 2023

The President's Daily Brief Mike Baker
Mike Baker, the host of The President’s Daily Brief podcast.

We’re calling it – this is the greatest podcast success story of 2023.

The President’s Daily Brief launched on September 5, 2023. Over the next 60 days it would overtake the likes of the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and The New York Times, becoming the most popular news podcast in the United States.

What’s more, as we write this article in November, Spotify’s Top Podcasts list – which ranks podcasts across all major categories – lists the show as the United State’s second most popular overall podcast, behind the Joe Rogan Experience.

It’s a remarkable rise to prominence and a demonstration of the enormous appetite for the news of the day delivered in a concise, easy-to-understand format.

Mike Baker, a former CIA officer, says he launched the podcast after growing concerned with how difficult it has become for people to get the simple facts that matter in world news.

He says social media sites have become a vacuum of extreme opinion and bias commentary, while few reputable mainstream media sources remain.

“You need to read a variety of them (mainstream media sources) so it balances out,” he said in an interview earlier this month.

But of course not everyone has time to that.

This is where The President’s Daily Brief podcast comes in.

The podcast releases a morning briefing episode – usually 10-15 minutes – at 6am Eastern each weekday morning. Recently, an afternoon briefing edition has also been added to the schedule.

“My primary goal was to beat NPR and we did and now we’re doing an afternoon edition too. So, you get your PDB (President’s Daily Brief) in the morning, then when you’re on your way home or you’re unwinding over a cocktail, you get the afternoon bulletin,” says Baker.

Baker has a small research team that supports him in curating and producing each briefing.

“It’s been a great experience, I don’t even it view it as work or anything because it’s interesting and it’s the sh** that I would be reading about anyway, which means I’ve got a sad daytime life!

“It’s a straightforward process. The folks that work on it with me, they do a great job. We talk in the morning about what are the topics we think are going to be the hot ones that we need to cover the next morning.

“So we talk about that, we put it together, we finalise the next edition by late in the evening. Now we’re doing the afternoon bulletin so we’re kind of doing the same thing but with a shorter view.

“I enjoy it because for whatever reason, you want to know what the hell is going on in the world, particlalury when it’s as fu**** up as it is now, right?”

Who is Mike Baker?

During a 17-year career working for the CIA, Mike Baker specialized in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations.

After leaving the intelligence service in the early 2000’s Baker commenced a career in security advising. He also took on various television roles focussed on spy-craft and national security.

President's Daily Brief
Mike Baker, host of The President’s Daily Brief has regularly appeared on US Television as a national security and geopolitics commentator since leaving the CIA. Image from Fox Business in October 2022.

Baker eventually became the CEO of prominent global intelligence and security strategy consultancy firm, Portman Square Group – a role he continues in today, alongside his podcasting work.

The 62 year old says during his time in the CIA he was regularly required to brief American Presidents on critical issues.

He now says he aims to give his podcast listeners “news with the same analysis and insight, I once offered the President of the United States”.

Want more podcast ideas? Check out Podbam’s Best Podcasts for curated lists of the world’s best podcasts.

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