Clintons Pivot to Podcasting With New Show 'Why Am I Telling You This?'

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock
May 7, 2019
Updated 14d ago

By Rebecca Heilweil

While the Obamas dive head-first into streaming video with their multi-series Netflix deal, the Clintons are turning to a more personal medium: podcasts.

Last week, the Clinton Foundation announced it would co-produce a podcast ー titled "Why Am I Telling You This?" ー with At Will Media, a New York-based audio content company. The show, set to debut this summer, will focus on the Clinton Foundation's humanitarian work, and feature President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and the organization's staff and partners.

"I think the idea here is both Bill and Chelsea are amazing communicators," At Will Media CEO and founder Will Malnati told Cheddar. "Podcasting is an intimate medium. It's really a way for them to sit down and have a real conversation."

The title is a phrase former President Clinton frequently employs in rallies and speeches. A preview of the podcast is currently available on Apple podcasts, though Malnati told Cheddar that the series will also be available on other platforms.

The podcast will explore, among other topics, the foundation's hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and its work combating the opioid epidemic. "It's a really beautiful way of incorporating people from the foundation, people have worked alongside them in disaster relief, and different crises that they're involved with, and really be able to share their stories," said Malnati.

Guests will include celebrity chef José Andrés and former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Notably, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose work with the foundation came under scrutiny during the 2016 election, does not appear to be involved with the show.

Founded in 2015, At Will Media is another player in the increasingly hot podcasting space. In February, Spotify announced that it would purchase the podcasting startups Gimlet and Anchor. Competitor Luminary ー which has raised $100 million ー is still recovering from its bumpy launch late last month, when several high profile shows pulled or withheld their content following disagreements over licensing and the sharing of listener data.

Malnati says his company specializes in providing 'white-glove service' to high-profile clients. At Will Media has previously helped produce branded shows for Morgan Stanley, Town & Country, and Fidelity, in addition to its original content.

"We've done a really good job of saying At Will Media is here to work with those people," he said. "It's early in the podcast industry, so we're really able to capitalize."

Meanwhile, "Why Am I Telling You This?" might be the most effort made by a former president in the podcasting medium to date. Earlier this year, George W. Bush Institute released its own podcast, called 'The Strategerist', though the former commander-in-chief doesn't appear to have a significant presence on the show. Last year, President Barack Obama also participated in the public radio station WBEZ Chicago's podcast series, "Making Obama," which explored his road to the White House.