“There is a creative silver lining to what we’re in right now.” That’s the message Questlove, host of the Questlove Supreme on the iHeartPodcast Network shared with ad buyers Thursday during a presentation about his four-year old show. With much of the world shut down, including tapings of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” where his band The Roots appears each night, and other live music events, artists like the drummer and co-frontman are left to redirect their creative juices. “Being bored is probably the most important thing that you can be, because silence is where the ideas come in –when we’re bored, we want to entertain ourselves,” said Questlove, whose real name is Ahmir Khalib Thompson.
Of course, the world outside isn’t really silent. It is anything but, with protests on the streets not seen since the 1960s. “We are literally living history. It’s being written now. And there are people who want to be on the right side of history,” Questlove told ad buyers. “People now know the effects of where the average everyday person stands, and I see everyone getting in line.” He pointed out that seeing a big bank like Chase say it was closing for Juneteenth was something he never imagined would occur in his lifetime.
That sort of social awareness is what artists like Questlove are demanding from ad buyers interested in buying live reads on a podcast. The 49-year old Philadelphia native has so far done reads for Sonos and said he is also interested in doing ads for alternative food companies. “I’m very much interested in working with the products that I use in my everyday life. I walk it like I talk it,” he said.
The Questlove Supreme podcast premiered in August 2016, but it had limited availability with the show only being posted on Pandora for its first two seasons. Last fall it moved production to iHeart which meant Questlove’s podcast will not only be available on iHeartRadio but all the major listening apps. Executives said bringing Questlove on board was part of their broader effort to attract more diversity to not only its podcast producer ranks but also among listeners.
The podcast is hosted by Questlove and five of his closest friends, and also features a well-known guest on every episode. The show digs into the stories of musical legends and cultural icons driven by conversation ranging from the guest’s origins to their life passions and current projects. As part of the iHeart arrangement Questlove has also been given the opportunity to curate and produce a new slate of iHeartRadio Original podcasts that will go beyond music.