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As Ben Shapiro’s podcast and radio empire continues to grow, the conservative talk personality is stepping down as Editor in Chief of the Daily Wire, which he co-founded five years ago. Shapiro is passing the reigns to John Bickley, who has been with the website since its launch, serving as a writer, editor and supervising editor under the pseudonym James Barrett. Shapiro will serve as Editor Emeritus and will remain a featured talent of the Daily Wire and remain part-owner, The Blaze reports. 

Co-CEO Jeremy Boreing said the move has been in the works for some time, with Bickley handling the essential Editor in Chief duties for the past two years, as Shapiro’s star has risen at radio. 

It was May 2018 when Westwood One syndicated Shapiro’s one-hour podcast to radio. In January 2019, the “Ben Shapiro Show” was expanded to three hours by the network, with the two additional hours hosted live, anchored from WABC New York (770), then under Cumulus Media ownership. 

In passing the torch, Shapiro said in a statement, “John Bickley isn’t just a tremendous editor and writer, he’s a principled conservative and an honest human being. I can’t think of anyone better to take over as EIC, and I look forward to seeing the new, exciting editorial direction of the site.” 

Bickley said he is committed to the company goal, which is for the Daily Wire to become “the biggest alternative media company and counter-cultural outlet for news, opinion, and entertainment in the nation.” 

Since its launch in 2015, the website “has accumulated over 30 million followers, three billion video views and 180 million hours of video watched” across all the publication’s platforms, Daily Wire Executive VP Jon Lewis said.

In an email to The Blaze, Bickley said he and Shapiro are motivated by a philosophy of “facts over feelings,” saying “that’s never going to change.”