Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is returning to a role in front of the microphone as host of a podcast that he’s producing for the home of his former radio home. Cumulus Media’s news-talk WLS Chicago (890) is launching The Lightning Rod, in which the controversial former politician and convicted felon will talk politics, government, trending stories and global issues.
“After a long exile, I made it home. It’s a brand new day. I’m finally free and fired up to speak my mind, provide insights from the inside, and share what I’ve learned from the school of hard knocks,” Blagojevich said in the announcement.
Blagojevich was a state representative before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing parts of Chicago. He was elected the 40th Governor of Illinois in 2002, and won re-election to a second term in 2006, serving until his impeachment in 2009. He then launched a weekly radio show on WLS in 2009, but the station pulled the plug on the program when Blagojevich went on trial on corruption charges tied to his attempt to sell the Senate seat vacated by former President Barack Obama. Blagojevich was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison. That term was to have run through 2024, but President Trump commuted Blagojevich’s sentence, and he was released from federal prison on February 18. The former Democratic governor now describes himself as a “Trumpocrat.”
The Lightning Rod podcast will draw from Blagojevich’s connections to secure appearances by politicians, political experts, policymakers and celebrities. Cumulus says the goal is to talk about what’s worked, what hasn’t, and who can make it better.
“Blagojevich is a polarizing political figure who served his time and now he’s serving up the truth,” said Cumulus-Chicago Market Manager Narv Nyren. “It will be messy, it will be raw, and it will be Rod as you have never heard him before.”
The Lightning Rod will debut May 20.