Longtime Donald Trump ally and promoter Steve Bannon is turning his influential radio show into a platform for MAGA midterm candidates with an expansion that will allow him to grow as a right-wing gatekeeper.
The special edition show, titled War Room: Battleground, debuts on the John Fredericks Radio Network on March 7. The one-hour show, airing from 6 to 7 p.m. weekdays, will give maximum exposure to Trump-aligned candidates. The show will broadcast in radio markets in states with some of the most contested races this year, including Pennsylvania and Georgia, with an emphasis on hyper-local races.
“We think there's an opportunity to literally destroy the Democratic Party as it currently exists in the November elections this year,” Bannon told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. “It's a definite platform for MAGA and for America First. It’s the hyper-local version of the War Room.”
Bannon said he won’t personally make endorsements but wants to widen the exposure of MAGA candidates through radio, streaming, and digital mediums.
“The Republican establishment is just totally fearful of the populist Trump movement now taking over institutions,” he said.
Listeners can expect appearances from MAGA candidates from all over the country, with an emphasis on Republican primaries and races for governor and secretary of state. But the show also plans to give airtime to people running for county supervisor, county judges, and election officials, as well as school boards and Republican Party committees.
“We know the hyper-local strategies resonate with people because they're volunteering like crazy,” Bannon told BuzzFeed News. “Now we're basically giving them air cover with both radio streaming and web news services to back it up and, quite frankly, make these people stars.”
Bannon is also partnering with Star News Network, a conservative Tennessee-based digital outlet with a focus on hyper-local news currently operating in 11 cities, including those in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Arizona. War Room will host the Star News Networks’ reporters daily, and the two outlets will work in concert to curate the editorial agenda.
Bannon has already built a stronghold in the right-wing radio market. His original War Room show launched in fall 2019 to defend Trump from the ongoing impeachment proceedings. Bannon's revived celebrity after an ugly 2017 fallout with Trump has ensnared a cult following of far-right loyalists among whom critical race theory and vaccine mandates are demonized and the unfounded claims of election fraud are touted.
When he’s not taking the show on the road, the former Breitbart News executive sits at the helm of a large rectangular table in DC at least three hours a day, flanked by studio lighting and a producer or two. With pen in hand, Bannon introduces one guest after another (some of them conspiratorial), all of them ready to parrot the latest MAGA talking point. And when it’s time for a commercial break, viewers and listeners are almost always greeted with MyPillow ads featuring Mike Lindell, a "pillowpreneur" and election denialist who also appears frequently on the show as a guest.
Bannon has been widely deplatformed on social media but found a home on Gettr, a fledgling right-wing alternative to Twitter created by Jason Miller, another Trump ally. Bannon has over 800,000 followers and broadcasts War Room from there, Real America’s Voice, and right-wing YouTube competitor Rumble.
Bannon, who was pardoned by Trump in a fraud case in 2021, is still in legal trouble stemming from his work for the former president. He ignored a congressional subpoena as part of Congress’s investigation into the Jan. 6 riots, for which he was held in contempt last fall and soon after indicted.
Whether you’re following his subpoena drama or his twice-daily broadcast, one thing is for sure: The once-ousted White House whisperer is reascending a ladder to MAGA royalty.