The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Al Franken returns to radio with comedy-politics show on SiriusXM

Former Minnesota Senator Al Franken. (Photo: Eric Austin, Flickr Creative Commons)

Al Franken, the Saturday Night Live writer-turned-senator who resigned his seat in December 2017 amid allegations of unwanted sexual advances, has been out of the spotlight long enough to land a job in the entertainment industry once again.

On Wednesday, SiriusXM announced it would air a show produced and hosted by Franken on the left-leaning talk channel SiriusXM Progress (Channel 127). The show, set to debut this Saturday, will be available live on satellite radio and on-demand via SiriusXM’s smartphone, smart speaker and smart TV apps.

SiriusXM says the new show will be a mixture of comedy, political commentary and conversations with newsmakers and experts. In a statement, Franken said listeners “can expect a mix of guests from my comedian friends like Chris Rock, to my political pals like former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to policy experts on the issues in play in 2020.”

Franken previously hosted a radio show that was carried by progressive network Air America and was simulcast on SiriusXM. Air America shut down in 2010.

Franken ran for office toward the end of his radio career at Air America, landing a seat as the U.S. Senator from his home state Minnesota in 2009. He was, at times, one of the most-brash, outspoken and —true to his name — frank politicians in Congress. He announced his intent to resign in late 2017 and formally ended his two-term political career the following year after Congressional Democrats urged him to step down following numerous claims of unwanted sexual advances, which Franken denied.

In a statement, an executive in charge of talk programming said Franken’s “influential progressive voice” is one that “many have missed,” and said SiriusXM was the place for the comedian to re-emerge as an influential thought leader.

“SiriusXM is the perfect platform for him to re-enter the public conversation,” Megan Liberman, the Senior Vice President of News, Talk and Entertainment Programming at SiriusXM, said.

In addition to the show, Franken will also provide political commentary and analysis during SiriusXM’s political coverage of the 2020 election.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).