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Fake News Podcasts from 'The Onion'

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Fake News Podcasts from 'The Onion'

Digital Life

Fake News Podcasts from 'The Onion'

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

If you are not familiar with The Onion, which bills itself as America's Finest News Source, suffice it to say that the satirical weekly has featured such front page stories as, Cat General Says War on String May be Unwinnable, 137 Oil Wells Liberated for Democracy, and Miracle of Birth Occurs for 83 Billionth Time. Now, America's finest news source is muscling in another medium, radio.

(Soundbite of The Onion radio broadcast)

SIEGEL: We're going to be hearing from Iowa about that. The Onion Radio News is not exactly a new phenomenon. What is new is it's growing audience. The Daily News Nugget has catapulted to the top of the iTunes music stores most downloaded podcast list. And we wanted to know what was bouncing NPR out of the top slots at iTunes. And the man responsible for this concept is Onion editor-in-chief, Scott Dikkers, who joins us now from our bureau in New York. Welcome, Scott Dikkers.

Mr. SCOTT DIKKERS (Editor-in-Chief, The Onion): Thanks. Nice to be here, Robert.

SIEGEL: How huge are your ambitions for radio?

Mr. DIKKERS: Well, they're huge. I don't understand any of that gobbledygook you just said about the inter-webs. Ultimately, we want to reach people who don't know The Onion from print, people who can't read, and once we get that demographic, we're going for the people who can't hear. And I think the only way to do that is through some sort of intravenous injection of the news. So that's what we're going for next.

SIEGEL: Now that we've offended the Iowans and the disabled in the audience, is there anybody you'd like to take a crack at?

Mr. DIKKERS: Yes. I'd like to offend women and minorities, please, for $200.

SIEGEL: You're doing all of this it seems, if I see your service correctly with one correspondent. Why don't you tell us about him.

Mr. DIKKERS: Doyle Redland is our primary radio news anchor. We actually have an entire team of radio news reporters and anchors. As you may know, Robert, radio news is a very competitive, male dominated business, and actually Doyle dueled with a couple of the other newscasters and won, and then consumed their young.

SIEGEL: Same as we do it here, I guess.

Mr. DIKKERS: I guess so, from what I hear of your show lately.

SIEGEL: You've worked with Doyle Redland a great deal then?

Mr. DIKKERS: He is great. He was the best newscaster in the business. And by the best in the business, I mean he'll read whatever we hand him.

SIEGEL: To give our listeners a sampling of his versatility, here's just a bit of it.

(Soundbite of The Onion newscast)

SIEGEL: Well, I think it's a hat trick for offending absolutely everybody right now, Scott.

Mr. DIKKERS: Doyle Redland reports his news from an ivory tower in New York City, and he doesn't really care who is offended by his news. In fact, he has disdain for the people that he reads the news for. He doesn't care what back water town they're listening from or what language they speak. And his business is he delivers the truth and he delivers it hard.

SIEGEL: Well, can you just give us a hit of some of the hot stories that you're working on now at The Onion.

Mr. DIKKERS: The U.S. joining the Columbia Missile and Tank Club. They get 12 new weapon systems for only a penny. And our report uncovered the fact that they hook you with the introductory price, but then it goes up and you're stuck paying the top rate. And also, the selection, not so good.

SIEGEL: Well, thank you very much for The Onion's work in radio and on podcasting. Scott Dikkers, editor-in-chief of The Onion.

Mr. DIKKERS: Thank you, Robert.

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