First Lady Michelle Obama Joins Podcaster Ranks.




Former First Lady Michelle Obama is joining the podcast ranks. It is a production of Higher Ground, the production company she and former President Barack Obama created. It announced last summer plans to expand into audio. The Michelle Obama Podcast is now set to debut July 29 as part of Higher Ground’s alliance with Spotify. While not overtly political, the show comes just as the presidential race starts to head into high gear.


“My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives,” Michelle Obama said in a statement. “Perhaps most of all, I hope this podcast will help listeners open up new conversations — and hard conversations — with the people who matter most to them. That’s how we can build more understanding and empathy for one another.”


Spotify said the show will bring listeners Mrs. Obama’s “most candid, human, and personal conversations” to show listeners “what is possible when we dare to be vulnerable.” It will include topics ranging from sibling relationships and raising children to girlfriends, women’s health, mentorship and marriage. Among the guests in the first season will be Dr. Sharon Malone MD, actor Craig Robinson, former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, late night TV host and fellow podcaster Conan O’Brien, and journalist Michele Norris. “We’ll be discussing the relationships that make us who we are,” she said in a YouTube video.


“We believe that audiences across the globe will be inspired by these most candid, most human and most personal conversations between First Lady Michelle Obama and her guests,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff.


The Michelle Obama Podcast launches with the support of the biggest advertiser in the U.S. as Procter & Gamble will promote its Dawn and Tide brands on the podcast. Salesforce has also signed on as a presenting sponsor.


Higher Ground was launched in 2018 by the Obamas and its initial partnership was with Netflix. But the company says expanding to audio will allow it to expand its reach to a larger and more diverse audience. The couple said they plan to develop and produce podcasts on a wide array of topics, as well as lend their own voices to shows.


Speaking at the Brilliant Minds conference last year in Sweden, former President Obama said the audio format offers a more nuanced and forgiving format than video or the written word. “There’s something about the human voice and stories that are told — the visual is powerful but sometimes overwhelms and the brain short circuits,” said Obama.

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