President Obama on WTF is ‘Podcasting’s First Super Bowl’

Any doubt about podcasting’s broad appeal and ability to break through to the mainstream were put to bed last week when news broke out about President Obama’s visit to Marc Maron’s famous Cat Ranch to record an episode of WTF in the famous garage studio. See behind-the-scenes photos at: MarcMeetsObama.com.

Surely, this interview will draw thousands–maybe millions–of new listeners who will have an opportunity to experience the singular intimacy of podcasting for the very first time. Moveover, this episode of WTF is a pivotal moment not just for podcasting, but for the entire media landscape.

Beyond hosting a world leader, it’s an extraordinary opportunity to hear from the president in a long-form, intimate conversation, outside the typical political and issue-driven back-and-forth that otherwise predominate television and radio. Hour-long, uninterrupted interviews are rare enough outside podcasting. One with the President of the United States? Nearly unheard of.

It’s clear that the president and his advisors understand this.

“Yes, the President will be in his garage,” deputy press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Los Angeles. “And yes, we think this is an opportunity to have an extended candid conversation, not necessarily about news of the day items, but I think this is going to be much more about areas of the President’s life that don’t always get reported in the news.”

Regardless of your personal or political beliefs, the kind of free-ranging discussion honed and perfected by Marc over the course of 613 episodes humanizes his guests, makes them more accessible to audiences, and encourages listening with an open mind, understanding, and empathy–no matter what side of an argument you stand on. As a result, shows like WTF attract audiences full of intelligent, critically thinking people interested in expanding their outlook, rather than narrowing it.

That is the power of podcasting.

Podcast fans know well that Squarespace has been a strong, consistent, and longstanding patron of our favorite medium. The company is committed to supporting artists–like Marc–both financially and creatively, so they are free to focus on their art and create great work. Sponsoring this milestone episode WTF with President Obama is a logical step in both podcasting’s and Squarespace’s parallel growth.

“As a longtime supporter of podcasters, we admire the unique ability that these personalities have to connect with their audiences, and are thrilled to see the medium gain new attention from listeners as well as honored guests,” said Ryan Stansky, Marketing Manager at Squarespace. “We are very excited to partner with Marc and his team to present this historic episode with limited commercial interruption, which is what loyal and first-time listeners equally deserve.”

Midroll is the exclusive advertising representative for WTF, and so we are thrilled to have played a role in helping Squarespace, Marc and WTF producer Brendan McDonald with this landmark episode.

“President Obama’s unprecedented appearance on WTF is the equivalent of podcasting’s first Super Bowl. We at Midroll want to recognize Squarespace for their very generous support in empowering WTF to present the episode that we’re pretty sure is destined to break previously set download records, without commercial interruption,” said Lex Friedman, EVP of sales for Midroll.

The podcasting arena just got a little bigger, and we couldn’t be more excited!

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