About the Political Junkie

About The Show

Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie brings a fresh take to political conversation — featuring energetic discussions, rich historical context, and plenty of bad jokes. Host Ken Rudin brings his years of experience on the campaign trail to the fore as he highlights notable moments in political history, and looks ahead to the biggest stories on the national scene.

Political novices and junkies alike will gain new insights from a broad spectrum of journalists, analysts and newsmakers from across the country. Plus, listeners are invited to show off their own political knowledge with Ken’s weekly trivia questions and ScuttleButton puzzles.

Combining Ken’s encyclopedic knowledge of political facts with his trademark humor, Political Junkie is the program that dares to make politics interesting and fun.

Political Junkie Features

The show is broadcast every week on a handful of public radio stations across the country, and is available to listeners as a free online podcast. The podcast is downloaded over 20,000 times per week.

In addition to the program, the Political Junkie website features Ken’s blog, along with his classic ScuttleButton puzzles and trivia questions, and highlights from Ken’s campaign button collection. All of the Political Junkie features are highlighted in a weekly email newsletter.

Political Junkie was formerly a weekly segment of NPR’s Talk of the Nation from 2006 until that show’s conclusion in 2013. Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie launched as an independent production in October 2013, with initial support from WAMU 88.5 FM in Washington, D.C., from which the show was recorded until 2016. Political Junkie is distributed to stations nationally by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.

About Ken Rudin

ken-rudin-210x250Ken Rudin is one of America’s foremost experts in politics and campaign history. He focuses on all aspects of politics, from presidential elections — with the primaries, national conventions, debates and general election — to the races for the House, Senate and state governors. He has analyzed every congressional race in the nation since 1984.

For most of the past 20 years, Ken was the eyes and ears of National Public Radio’s political coverage in his position as NPR political editor and resident “Political Junkie.” That was interrupted only by a three-year stint (1994-97) as managing editor of the Hotline, a daily political newsletter.

Beginning his NPR career in 1991, he worked with correspondents and reporters both at the network and member-station level. From 2006-2013, Ken was regularly heard on Talk of the Nation in the weekly (and very popular) Political Junkie segment. He also helped create the It’s All Politics podcast, which also ran for seven years. In his Political Junkie weekly column — which first appeared on The Washington Post website before coming to NPR.org — Ken previewed the politics of the week and explored campaign history, strategy, trivia and lore, along with his well-known ScuttleButton contest.

Ken was a key player on the NPR team that won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Silver Baton award for excellence in broadcast journalism in 2002 for coverage of campaign finance, and again in 2012, working with member stations WITF and WHYY in Pennsylvania for their coverage on the fiscal and environmental impact of the state’s natural gas drilling (fracking).

From 1983 through 1991, Ken worked at ABC News, serving first as deputy political director and later as the off-air Capitol Hill reporter covering the House. He also wrote the “Political Graffiti” column for The Hill, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill.

Ken now hosts the weekly Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie program, and is a contributor to many local and national public radio programs. Ken is also a columnist for the USA TODAY newspaper and website, and contributes to a few other publications.

As a political junkie for many decades, Ken has one of the most extensive collections of campaign buttons in the country, a collection that now surpasses 70,000 items. He is a graduate of Pace University in New York.

Political Junkie Team Members

Ken Rudin, Host and Executive Producer
Devin Maverick Robins, Producer and Editor
Douglas Bell, Coordinating Producer and Engineer

Special thanks to Political Junkie fan Mikey Casalaina for creating our Political Junkie logo.

Our billboard theme is “American Life” (instrumental) by Silence is Sexy, used with permission.