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'Breakfast Club' radio show emerges as crucial stop for 2020 Democrats

"You can get on all the political shows as much as you want, but that’s not really only where the audience is," candidate Julián Castro said

The TriBeCa neighborhood of New York is a long way from Des Moines, Iowa, but for 2020 Democratic hopefuls, it's quickly becoming a worthwhile detour on the campaign trail.

On a fourth-floor studio inside the art deco AT&T building, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro waited for his turn to be interviewed — just after an appearance by Grammy Award-winning singer Gabriella Wilson, better known as H.E.R. — on everything from immigration to reparations.


"These folks reach so many people out there," Castro said. "And today in politics, you can get on all the political shows as much as you want, but that’s not really only where the audience is."


Eight years ago, the “world’s most dangerous morning show” started in New York with a focus on hip-hop, pop culture and the black community.


Now, hosts Charlamagne Tha God, born Lenard McKelvey, Angela Yee and DJ Envy (born Raashaun Casey) reach more than 8 million monthly listeners and have more than 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube. This year, they've hosted almost a third of the Democratic field, including Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris.

But it's not just the size of the audience that draws political candidates.


According to Nielsen data, 77 percent of the show’s audience is African American or Hispanic, a demographic that makes up nearly a third of the Democratic primary electorate, according to one Brookings Institution study.


Read more on NBC News

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