Lou Mongello Interview Transcription
Vanessa Lowe Interview Transcription

Harry Duran:
Podcast Junkies welcome back. This is known as the Podcaster's voice and the show where we keep on the look out for interesting folks who are hosts of amazing shows and who want to come on and have a causal conversation about all things life related and podcasting every now and then. This is a doozy of an episode and I think there's a lot of talk all the time about trying to sound perfect. You can probably hear my chair squeaking, which drives me absolutely freaking crazy, because I'm doing this at home.

I've got the windows open. It is a hot as hell here and so you may hear a church bell, you may hear an airplane and quite honestly this is not a pristine recording environment and I think we just have to come to grips with that and be okay and stop trying to replicate production level studio because for the short term it's not on the radar to change anything. I can probably put some foam up here. I think might, might help things.

Anyways, this was sort of a stressful morning as I record this because I think, I mean, I had what I feel is one of my most important guests on the show today and I commitment a major, major FUBAR. I had him scheduled in and I did not pay attention to the fact that he had given me his contact info for the Skype call and I ended up looking for it and I was wondering why the call hadn't started and it was 1000% on me, so you know, these things happen.

Thankfully, as far as I know, the audio is not compromised, knock on wood. I've heard those stories before, so I guess in the grand scheme of things I rather have a slight scheduling SNAFU be the only issue that happened that caused this to start about 15 minutes late. I'm talking about Brendan McDonald. If you don't know who he is, he is the producer for WTF, which just happens to be the most popular podcast in the past couple of weeks as a result of the leader of the free world having appeared on that show. Funny thing is, when I reached out to Brendan I had no idea that this was in the works, this was probably a week or two it was announced and I had heard Brendan on The Wolf Den and I'm always fascinated with talking with folks behind the scenes, that's why I talked to podcasters, but I thought in this case, technically Brendan is not a podcaster, but I mean, he producers one of the top shows in iTunes.

So, it was just a cold out reach via Twitter that turned into a conversation where he responded back and a little back and forth and a couple of emails later and the result was the conversation I just had. So, needless to say, I was really stressed out in the beginning because I felt like I had screwed up and I thought for a moment I was going to lose the interview, because he had a conflict. Thankfully he was able to delay.

So, as much as I would like to imagine us talking for an hour and a half, I'm very happy with the time I did get to spend with him. To be honest, I didn't do much talking. I let him do most of it, because I think really that's the value in having someone like that on the show. Just fascinated to have had the chance to talk to him and from a podcasting perspective, I feel sort of like Marc Maron did after Obama left because this is a big deal for me and I just wanted to not screw up. I almost did. I almost did, but towards the end as is the case with all these interviews, I felt like I hit my stride and I calmed down and just gave him the form to impart as much knowledge as was possible in the time we had allotted.

So, really thank you again Brendan for being super, super accommodating with your time and it was just a great conversation. We discussed obviously the interview with Obama, a little bit of his history with Air America and how it was working with Marc and a couple of other things I just can't even remember now, because it's been a crazy day. I had two other interviews after that as well, which you'll hear about later on.

So, I hope you enjoy the conversation. I would love some feedback on this if you thought it was valuable and if there's anything else I could have asked there's probably a good ten or 20 unanswered questions as is usually the case when you have someone like this on the show. It's a particularly long intro, but I just had some things on my mind that I wanted to share with you, so thanks for letting me do that and enjoy my conversation with Brendan McDonald producer of WTF.

So, Brendan, thanks again for joining me on Podcast Junkies.

Brendan McDonald:
Sure. I'm happy to be here.

Harry:
So, Brendan, I was, I had been obviously a fan of WTF and I listened to your interview when you were on Wolf Den and I think that was now about a year and a half when you had that conversation.

Brendan:
Sure.

Harry:
What struck me about that fact how you were talking about your history with Marc and how you got into, how when you left Air America at the same time is when you both had the idea and I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what was going through your mind at the time both you and Marc were fired from Air America and what you were thinking about your next plans were going to be.

Brendan:
I think that for both of us that plan was just to still work together and I had, you know, been a fan of several podcasts that I listened to regularly at that time. That was 2009 and, you know, I've been listening for several years, so I just always had it in my head that that's what was going to be our next step regardless of what was happening at Air America currently, you know, obviously I wanted that to succeed, I wanted use to, you know, continue doing things in the context we were doing them and it would be great to have other people paying for it, but if they weren't, we were just going to still do it. That was my mentality. I think Marc shared that and also at that time he really had nothing to lose and was just ready to do it.

Harry:
It just so happened that you guys were able to start the first couple of episodes in the actual Air America studios, right?

Brendan:
Yeah, there was, there was no real pressure on us to leave the building, you know, I've seen it couched in certain ways that we were like breaking in, like it was like an Ocean 11 movie or something, but it really wasn't that. They let us use our offices and we were there until whatever time of night we needed to be there and we would just go into the studios which were there. No one was kicking us out, but I don't think they knew we were making something that was going to be, you know, viable program, which is what we did.

Harry:
What's your earliest recollection of meeting Marc?

Brendan:
The first time I met him was at the Air America launch. We were, it was a launch, it wasn't a launch party, so much as it was a first party of work basically for everyone who was there and I met him along with anyone else who was working on the morning team for the first time we were all asked to, you know, come to getting this hotel ball room just everybody meet each other and Al Franken gave a speech and I believe Lizz Winstead gave a speech. There were kind of the creative drivers of the entire thing and it was just a total, you know, discovery process for all of us.

It was exciting for me. I was in my mid 20s at the time. I did not know what show I was going to be working on when I got there that day, that was the day they kind of assigned everyone their teams, so I met Marc along with anyone else I met first time that day and I had known him as a fan of standup comedy. I was not a fan of his, I did not dislike him, he was just not a guy I watched or really knew much of. I just knew he was a comedian and I had seen him in the peripheral of things that I was interested in.

So, I knew who he was and I met him and I thought, okay, this is a pretty intense dude, but I didn't have any negative opinion of that intensity, I just felt like, okay, cool, this is a good show, this is going to be a good, interesting experience and then we just got to working. It was maybe within a few weeks everyone felt pretty comfortable with each other.

Harry:
So, the way that it worked back that is someone would get assigned, like a producer would get assigned to talent or?

Brendan:
Well, no, you gotta understand this was a brand new venture. This was a startup, so they had to put together an entire – they weren't trying to make one show, they were trying to make a network and then instead of syndicating shows, they were trying to put a fully slated network on the air in whatever market they could get into and so they programmed it from 24 hours of programming, some of it was repeat, but original content from 6am until, I believe, 11pm, which might have been shorten by one hour at some point in the early goings, but I believe that was the original going days was 6am to 11pm, so they had all these blocks of content and then they hired all these people and they just had to fill them. It was like assembling a team. So, I remember getting hired and being told, not sure what show you'll work on, but you know, we are still assembling teams and show up on this date and that's when you'll find out who you're working with.

Harry:
Did you always have aspirations to be in radio when you were growing up?

Brendan:
Not so much when I was growing up. I don't know that I ever had any aspirations to be in an anything other than the kind of vague notions that you have as a kid as to what you're to be doing with your life, but when I was in highschool I took some journalism classes, I had entertained the notion of going to Syracuse University for their communication school, which was a big deal and big deal for people that I looked up to and when I got to college an undergrad at Fordham University, they had a great radio station and I knew people that I became friends with there who worked at the radio station and it just kind of dove tailed with my general interest in broadcasting and journalism.

Nothing that I was like writing down on a piece of paper, here's my five year plan or my trajectory for life after I graduate, but it was just something I wanted to do and that wound up being like the best way in was a place like that was not a college radio station and I think it's still this way today. It was a professionally run station that was an NPR affiliate that would allow students the opportunity to really get a good hands-on education and experience in that style of production.

So, it was a good experience, it was a good learning experience. There were a lot of great people that I worked with and I learned from. There were a lot of great people that were going on to other things that you could see tangible results in. There are people I see out there now that I say, oh, that was a Fordham person, yeah, that's great. So, it was a good place to start and it was a good way to get myself situated into understanding what it would be like to be on the production side of broadcast media whether that was radio or television or what we wound up doing now.

Harry:
I'm familiar with Ford, I grew up in New York as well. I grew up in Yonkers and I went to school in White Plains-Stepinac. I don't know if you've heard of it.

Brendan:
Sure. Yeah.

Harry:
You live in Brooklyn now, right?

Brendan:
Yeah. I grew up in Queens, actually.

Harry:
And how was growing up in Queens?

Brendan:
It was great. It was the early 80s. It was a different time. It was a coming off of the real bad times of New York City and there was something kind of new and interesting about things that were happening like where I lived and what the neighborhood I grew up in, but also some parts of it that were less than desirable. I always drive with memories of just being afraid of like The Daily News, like seeing scary things on there all the time, you know, death and blood and stuff and that kind of mentality, that tabloid mentality I think was very, was ever present when I was a kid and, you know, on like Channel 4 news and things like that. I just always remember these feelings of like, oh, my neighborhood seems very cool, like there's nothing bad here, but there are scary things out there.

So, it was a little, you know, I can imagine my son being raised here now as having an entirely different experience. It must seem like a kind of, you know, version of Disneyland for kids. There's never not things for them to do and I spent a lot of my highschool years in upstate New York. There were lots of things to not do. You could make a list of things that you didn't do better than you can make a list of things that you did and so, you know, I was always happy to have that and I always consider it an advantage that I had that experience of living, growing up in a burrow of New York and then having an experience, you know, in fairly rural areas as well. It definitely helped me.

Harry:
Yeah, I went to Syracuse for a couple of years, I am familiar with upstate New York as well and it was interesting to see when I went there the really difference in people who were from the city and the people who were like from he surrounding areas and just their views on culture or things that were culture related, I think, were very different at the time.

Brendan:
Yeah, yeah.

Harry:
So, when you decided to move back into the – Air America had shut down and then you and Marc parted ways at that point, but you kept in contact.

Brendan:
No, no. We didn't part ways really. It was just more a – I mean, I guess if you want to define parting ways as physically, you know, being separated that's true. It wasn't so much of like there was a – let me put it this way, that was always kind of part of the plan. We knew here was a good way for us to continue working together, it's something that can be done with, you know, going back to live the life you wanna live in California, me staying here with my life, and we can still continue.

I mean, I work with him more seamlessly than I ever worked with anyone in my life, including people that I've sat right next to in an office for years on end. So, I guess I understand what you were asking in terms of parting ways is technical true, I just never saw it that way. Even answering the question, I immediately thought, well, no, we didn't part ways, we've been working very closely together for six years, but yes, physically we were 3,000 miles a part.

Harry:
Is it something that's in Marc's personality where, like, when he finds someone that he has a really good vibe with, he tends to keep those people close to him, like working with those types of people from your experience?

Brendan:
I mean, I can answer just from my own experience that I think we both feel that way and yeah, I'm sure he wouldn't have been eager to stay in business with me if he didn't just feel like it was a good working relationship. Yeah, I sense he's a very loyal guy. You know, just across the board. It would take a lot for Marc to, you know, kind of move on personally from someone and when I say take a lot, I would mean like, they would have to be, you know, something particularly unpleasant for that to be the case, so I'm sure that factors in to the fact that, you know, he's entrusted me with quite a bit. It's just a matter of comfort and comfortably and loyalty and so, yeah, that's really how we've been able to manage it.

Harry:
So, when you got started and you had to talk to Marc about the idea of doing a podcast, there was already folks that were doing it at the time. I think you mentioned Keith (?) and a couple of other folks that you were serving – that you were serving, that would serve as a sort of model for you guys?

Brendan:
Well, yeah, I definitely don't think there were many shows per say that served as models in the sense that like we already knew what we were doing and what we would what a show could sound like. I definitely didn't think that anything that was out there, even the stuff that I was like a huge fan of was representative of the type of thing that Marc and I would do, but there were, the inspiration was really, you know, the fact that these things were done, right, I guess it was really more about finding confidence and ease in the ability to execute, because we knew it had been happening.

I mean, there were shows I had been a big fan of that had big corporate media impetus behind them and I knew we were never going to get that, but I still listened to shows like Bill Simmons podcast was a real, kind of, changing point for me where I was like, this is being paid for by Disney and it is just the bare bones of what you would want to be listening to on a tape discussion and I had thought that since like 2007 when I was listening to that show and wanted to – and kind of pushing people even in broadcast media to that direction.

So, anything that was already being done in that realm was kind of an inspiration to us as far as knowing that we could do it, knowing that we weren't going to be wasting our time that we were neofights and unsure of what this podcast landscape was. Like, if anything, we had the confidence of being like, we're radio guys. We have a leg up on this. It's the people who are thinking for the first time that are going to open their laptop and talk into the internal mic in the laptop that are the ones that are at a disadvantage. We are already in a pretty good driver's seat here. So, that confidence was always there in how we started. I think the biggest part of the learning curve was just figuring out the podcasting apparatus and how to make it work in an automatic and easy way.

Harry:
Yeah. I mean, it's funny to watch the latest season of Maron and as well as the end of season two, because it's almost like what's mimicking probably what happened in real life where he's trying to convince people what a podcast is and the benefits of podcasting and why it's a viable option. Is what happening on the show sort of reflective of the challenges you guys had when you were getting started?

Brendan:
No, I think that, the stuff on the show is definitely highly dramatized for, you know, story telling and I mean, there's a big reason why you don't see a character that represents me on the show, because that would like suck tension out of a show pretty easily or just any kind of dramatic or comedic arch. There's something that's sticky and oh, I have a guy right here who helps take of it. Like, that's pretty much a dead end for a narrative.

So, I think what is reflected on what you see on that show is the idea of overall of Marc's sense of self and that he was able to kind of overcome a feeling of being done, of being out of options, of being, you know, of having no more cards on the table and utilize this new media in a way that he could, he knew he would be able to do and that he was good at and have it turn it into kind of a second life of his career. You know, I definitely think that's true and that's part of how they written the show and part of what their ongoing arch of the show is going to be.

Harry:
So, I think you mentioned in The Wolf Den interview that the show hit its stride about 7 months in and that's when you started having some of those more memorable conversations or when he had the conversations with Carlos Mencia and Dan Cook and Gallagher. Are those recorded, does Marc take care of all the recording and then you listen afterwards or are those recorded live?

Brendan:
Well, recorded live in that, are you saying that does..

Harry:
I think the question was, were you monitoring it at the time or..

Brendan:
No. The only ones I ever monitored were the first, like, you know, I would say 11 or so, maybe ten or 11, those were done in there, Air America studio, and I was in the room with him and you could even hear in some of those early episodes we're talking to each other and, let me think if there's any others. There aren't any others, not until the President. I sat there outside of the garage and listened to the episode, you know, as he did it live with the President, but everything else has been something he's done on his own and sent it to me.

You know, we've done some live episodes at location that I've been there for, but even those, you know, get edited in a way that make them sound clearer or have just kind of more pleasing direct tone, so it's always been here, I mean, with the exception of his early episodes, he would do it by himself, send me the files, I would edit them, compile them into a show and put it back out there.

The, what we learned early on, you know, you mentioned those episodes about a little less than a year in where we felt the show hit its stride, those episodes before that I think what we were learning from that was the show is actually unique and could hit a stride based on continuing that type of conversation and part of that was knowing what we've been created on a microphone by just having Marc and a guest in this room that was part of his house, you know, that was surrounded in his own memorabilia and pictures and made for a very intimate kind of deceptive atmosphere for people who are used to doing interviews.

Harry:
I think it's the nature of podcasting because I think itself that allows for that level of comfort with your listening audience. You mentioned a time when Marc had his burnt lentil incident lead you to call it, I think, when he was on Air America and you had just a, I don't know if it was considered rent at the time, but you just went on something that was really, really personally for him and I think the audience resonated with that a lot and it seems like that sort of approach is really what the listeners like as the show got more and more popular.

Brendan:
Yeah and that type of thing, that was a real kind of case study for me. I know Marc always talked about it privately and we mentioned it on that episode that it was a moment he realized he could, he had the skills he needed to be on mic as a voice, as a personality, as a broadcaster and it was definitely a moment for me where I was aware of that being a strength of his and that his ability to communicate as a like, mycologist was in important, you know, beyond the idea that the show became this interview show.

I just put that guy on a mic if we produce it well and we put the right supporting elements around him, it's going to be gold and that was, you know, back in 2004-2005 and I felt that and I just wanted it to happen. I wanted to do whatever I could to make that happen as an ongoing bit of business, as an ongoing production, so you know, that was a great thing, you know, about jumping in when we did in 2009 and not really even knowing what the show was going to be.

You know, our first instinct, I should say, my first instinct was to do what I just said, make this a thing that Marc Maron can get on a mic, be surrounded by supporting elements and be the highlight, be the thing that I know he is. Be the very funny, interesting, intuitive, empathetic voice that I felt people would connect with. So, if you listen to a lot of those old shows, there's a lot of variety on there. You have him talking to, you know, just friends who are sitting in the studio and there's some actually like impromptu comedy sketches on there.

We were still trying to find our footing, find what the show was and I think that's why we always kind of marked that one idea in 2010 is, you know, hitting our stride, it was when we really locked in on this idea of kind of intimacy and conversation that we felt wasn't happening anywhere else and it was clear it was the strength of the show. So, we dialed back the other things.

Now, of course, we are always going to leave in Marc's personality because whether people realize it or not, you know, Marc being in the forefront of the show is why the show is what it is. You know, it's funny, I always hear sometimes people that are new to the show. They say, I don't like that guy, but I love the interviews. Well, then, you like the guy, like, that's why they're good interviews, because he puts his personality into them and because I look at the show, it's a currently 618 part series of one guy's personal development and, you know, that's exactly where he show started and that's where the show is going to end.

When we hang up the mic and do our last episode, there will be a kind of, you know, a full picture of who Marc Maron was over the course of however many years that winds up being and to me, the kind of documentation that we've had on the show from famous people, from kind of news worthy moments, anything like that, that's just bee gravy. That's the stuff that came along with producing the show about this guy.

Harry:
What's fascinating is that it's only because of Marc's long history and his friendship with all of these folks that are really close to him, these fellow comedians that he brings on to the show and the level of trust that they have for him that they feel that they can be intimate and maybe its the environment that they're in and maybe it's just that they've, you know, they've come up through the ranks together, but I think one of the ones that was most telling was the conversation with Todd Hanson and it's a testament I think you to as an editor as well that you left most of the pauses in there, because that was a really, really intense interview and he talks about how wanted to commit suicide. I mean, it's really compelling radio when you think about it, because listening to that whole interview it's like, wow, you don't really hear this level of people exposing themselves to that degree.

Brendan:
Yeah. I mean like that's a definitely a memorable one for people just because of the intensity of the conversation. I can't say I have any real memory of what it was like to produce those episodes other than to say we looked very closely with Todd in putting them out. We wanted him to have full comfort in what he was doing and I definitely, I definitely have made a conscious effort from day one to leave things in that would otherwise be taken out on a more polished product.

It's kind of like a magic trick or a double edged sword, whatever way you want to put it that I've always felt that it was very important that the show sounded good from somebody that came from, you know, having to put live radio on the air and have, you know, people telling you of something didn't sound good and that it wasn't acceptable for on-air broadcast and things of that nature.

It was very important to me to make the show sound good, to make sure voices were upfront, to make sure that voices were upfront, to make sure that there wasn't an inconsistency in volume that people had to be changing, you know, between episodes or inter episode, you know, as I mentioned, I listened to a lot of podcasts and so I was familiar with the shows even shows that I liked that I thought could have sounded better, because, you know, there was still some amateurism going on. I took that mentality and combined it with the fact that we're encumbered by format, we're encumbered by programers, we don't have to play by any rules of, you know, broadcasting other than our instincts.

So, if there was a moment that happened off mic, but you could still hear it, I wanted that to be in there and if there was something awkward or uncomfortable, I wanted that to be in there or if there was, you know, a moment where Marc made himself not look so good, you know, we talk about that and say, well, that should stay in the show. That's the honest thing that happened and we should leave that. You know, we just did an episode with the singer Laura Jane Grace.

That was earlier this week and I saw a lot of comments about it saying it was a good interview, but Marc showed himself to not know something about the transgender community and some of his questions were awkward and there was a lack of preparation for it and, of course, I know people don't think this way, because they're not producers of media, but you know, my first thought of that was, well, if we didn't think it should have been in the show, don't you think we could have taken it out?

You know, if you are hearing something you should be hearing something that is a choice, you know, for a good program of any nature, what you're hearing or seeing is in front of you or in your ears because of a choice made from the people who created it and we had a very specific reason to make sure any questions of Marc asked in that interview that were, you know, maybe not using the proper nomenclature or, you know, kind of a interest level that transgender people are not focused on, you know, that it doesn't define them as an interest, but people who are still not aware of transgender issues might still ask.

We thought of it as important to put that in and let people know. Awkward conversations around this might happen and the only way you're going to get answers is if you hear the answers to the awkward question, right? Hear how it's handle, especially someone who was as mindful and as patient and gracious as she was to answer those questions with a little bit of levity and to say, you know, no, here's the way I really consider myself or consider my situation.

You know, so to me that was just a small example of why we think it's important to show everything and at the same time present it in a kind of polish and professional way that is going to sound good, that it's going to be a good show and it's going to be compelling to people.

Harry:
Yeah, the other example of that is when you actually hear the guest say, Louis C.K for example said, you can take this part out if you want and then he proceeds to go to that conversation.

Brendan:
A guest saying we can take something out is pretty much a guarantee that it's going to stay in and that goes for, you know, people who, you know, I think of us as pioneers of the phrase, oh, are we recording already? Because I know we were doing that very early on where Marc would just kind of roll tape and the reason why we were doing it was out of necessity, was out of the necessity for Marc sending me a file to edit for the show and so he would start rolling tape as he's walking the garage.

There was no situation where he's sitting at a microphone and he has a board op able to signal to him and say, okay, we are rolling now, you guys can start and so I would get these files, you know, back in 2009 and there would be all this fun interesting interplay between him and people who were mostly his friends, coming in, sitting down, saying funny stuff, and then by the time they were actually into the “interview” portion of the show, a good ten minutes had already gone by, so I wanted that stuff. I always thought that's the stuff people are going to want to hear and now it's like a trope.

Now I hear it on every show of like, you know, microphones rolling before people get into these great expensive studios. There's absolutely no reason to just be dead rolling tape, but you know, I think of that as a good convention of the format, like that's why people are going to continue listening to podcasts or experimenting with them, because they say they can break rules with them and then once that becomes a rule, go ahead and break something else.

Harry:
Yeah, what's fascinating for us as podcasters is just listening – that conversation of you and Marc talking about the post game following the Obama interview. It was just really fascinating for us, because the build up, listening to how the contacted you, the prep back and forth, you talking Marc down off the ledge a couple of times, because he was just freaking out about his mileage points and all that was really, really just fun stuff to listen to and it was interesting in that example you just gave that he did that too with Obama, he had the tape rolling and you were like, hey, you gotta get outside, because the car is going to be coming in. You need to be standing outside, because that's what they're expecting.

Brendan:
Yeah, right, right. Well, you know, I also think that there's something about the way he and work together that we know how these things become part of the story, right. They're going to become, it's not just a gimmick. We're not just let's roll tape and you'll have several minutes of a show that are off mic or people are unaware of what's going on, it's gotten to a point where we know the show we do, so Marc always knows even before people walk into the garage, he's prepping them. He's getting them ready for the type of interview they're going to do, the type of conversation they're going to have. He's already kind of done a kind mini show for them, you know, standing in the living room of his house where he's getting them comfortable with the way he talks.

A lot of the vast majority of people that we have on the show are people he's never met before, which was probably not the case when we first started, definitely not the case when we first started, because he was only asking friends to do it, but you know, these are first dates and so a big part of it is on us and primary him since he's the one there. He's in the location disarming these people, making them feel comfortable, making them feel like this is a thing they can do and a safe place for them to share.

Harry:
How often do you, obviously with a big event like this, it was imperative to be there, because I imagine there was a lot of moving parts, so first off, congratulations on what you pulled off, because it just made for amazing, compelling listening. Obviously the Libsyn numbers, you know, validate that this was one of the most popular podcast episodes ever and I think what was validate for you was when the White House gave you that certificate of appreciation, right?

Brendan:
Oh, very much so, yeah.

Harry:
So, is that just, do you see that as a combination of everything you've done and validating you guys were really on to something, because you and Marc talked about it a little bit during the show.

Brendan:
Yeah, I think the most validating thing and I said this to an extent and maybe I can expand it a little bit, but the most validating thing is to know that one of the most important, powerful, and calculating media operations on the planet, which is the White House communications department felt like this was a valid outlet for a person who communicates to the world and to stop for a second and think about that, why would they think that? Is it just because they liked our listener numbers? I don't think so, because even as much as we're happy with where the show is at, we'd never dream of downplaying with how trilled we are with our listener numbers, podcasting is still a (#42:32?) medium. You're not going to have podcast numbers that are on par with a low rated network television show.

So, I don't think they came to us simply because they thought, well, here's a huge audience, right. Let's get to this huge audience. They can go to plenty of places with big audiences. I think they saw value and I kind of know this from my conversations with them and hearing what they valid in the show. They saw value in this type of conversation and the intimacy of it and the fact tat people were able to listen to that interview who didn't like the President and say, well, he sounded different to me, he sounded like a reasonable guy and I think that's a testament to many things and I don’t want to downplay Marc's contribution to that in his ability to make that conversation comfortable, but I think it's a real testament to just what the media up is and what – how there's loose format, however lose it may be, we still created something that can contain a very direct, a very pointed conversation with a head of state, the head of state and it feels spontaneous and natural and not, despite, you know, whatever a politician's drive might be to repeat talking points, it does not come across as a canned interviewed.

So, it's validating to me that they identified that in what we were doing, which was always the value to me of what we did was we can take the thing that we love to do, which was make content on microphones, you know, that was the market I met and that's what we got good at and we loved doing it, we always thought we were going to keep doing this and we kept doing it and we kept doing it to the point where we had no financial backing for it, we did it on our own and it got to the point where the president of the United States felt there was a valid way for him to communicate.

So, all of the other things are awesome and it was a super exciting experience as well as, you know, professionally satisfying, but when it comes to validating, it was really validating our faith in ourselves and our faith in our choice of product that we decided to make six years ago.

Harry:
What was the most surreal moment for you during that day? I mean, there must have been a couple, just sitting there, because that was conversation obviously you mentioned you were monitoring as you were going on.

Brendan:
The most surreal thing was actually probably the lead up to it months in advance. It was very surreal to me to be sitting, like, exactly where I am sitting talking to you right now and get an email from the White House saying it's on. Like, that was super surreal and you talk about things you never imagine happening even in my wildest dreams of imagining being in a situation where I'm involved in a production that the President of the United States is involved in. I don't know that I ever imaged that, but if I did imagine it, there were ways I could have imagined it. I would have never imagined it as a thing that happened, you know, because I'm sitting there with my laptop and I get the email while I'm in my bedroom that says, we're a go with the President coming to your co-worker's garage.

So, those were the really just kind of outlandish surreal moments for me as it rammed up and I was in LA and I was working with the Secret Service for preparation and White House advance teams, that stuff to me was more me kicking in to the my proctorial role and just doing the job I am kind of tasked to do and I did a few moments kind of have a little chuckle to myself about how crazy it all seemed, but I know I was kind of putting it in the back of my mind and like, you know, let me pocket that and I'll deal with the ridiculousness of it later. So, yeah, that those I would say are the two points where I can distinctly remember being a little taken aback by how crazy the whole thing was.

Harry:
What was the – I mean, the response from your family must have been crazy, right?

Brendan:
Everyone I know as just thrilled. Response from people, not just my loved ones, but people I hadn't heard from in ages. Marc said he got the same thing. It was, you know, just very, it was just a very heart lifting show support from people we knew and Marc said that it reminded him of the way people reacted, they must have reacted when they heard about it the same way that Ray Liotta acted in Goodfellas when he was in the shower and he hears about the Lufthansa heist, just like, these people knew what we've gone through, they know what Marc has grown through, they know that it has not been an easy lift, but that it's been a satisfying one and that we've done it all on our own and in many ways it's kind of defied any conventions that you can think of and so I think that was a good deal of what the reaction, as positive as it was to it was really people taking it as a combination of something they had an emotional investment in.

Harry:
Well, like I said, that was really an inspiring for us as podcasters and I think we are really just proud of the work that you do and just like elevating podcasting. Marc was recently on Duncan Trussell and Duncan was just telling him, do you realize like, what you've done for podcasting in that one conversation, because you had the leader of the free world there and you were the first podcasters with the exception of the 20 minute conversation with that sports podcast, but it was like the first time that a podcasters had a full hour conversation with the President of the United States.

Brendan:
Yeah. I said that to a few people and I want to make sure I say it I don't come off as, you know, being falsely humble about it. I honestly believe that was definite fist pump for me when I found out it was happening when we actually accomplished it, this notion of, we scored one for everybody and I just really want to stress that. I don't mean that in a light way. I take person pride in it, sure, but I really just do feel like it is a community win. I feel the same way about Serial. I love Serial. I was enthralled by it as everyone else was, but I was also like fist bumping it as a tremendous achievement for our community. It has done great things for us. We are in a better position because of that show. I hope that us doing that interview in the way it came off and the way it was received has been received by other people the way that like I received Serial. Like, that's a great thing for me.

Harry:
I'm excited to see obviously there's a jump in numbers, there's a jump in sponsorship and listenership. So, I'm really excited to see the types of guests that are now hearing about Marc and are going to want to speak to him and, you know, those types of conversations are just going to make for an even compelling listening.

Brendan:
I hope you're right!

Harry:
So, Brendan, thanks so much for being extremely accommodating with your time. I was really excited for this opportunity to talk to you. Hopefully at some point in the future, we'll do a part two or a follow up. Again, I just want to congratulate you again on what you pulled off and I think it's going to resonate a lot for years to come.

Brendan:
Well great, Harry, thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.

Harry:
If people want to converse a bit with you online, is there a way for them to get in touch with you?

Brendan:
Sure. I am probably one of the least visible people on the internet that has a broadcast platform and that's by design, but my Twitter is @ProducerMcD and anybody can reach me on that.

Harry:
Okay, we will let people get in contact that way then thanks. Okay, so that went back way too fast for me. It was all I could do like I mentioned earlier to not lose my cool and probably fan boying a bit here, but it was an awesome feeling to know that as a result of my podcast that I've been doing for just a little over a year, I was able to talk to the producer of arguably the most popular podcast out there and that's awesome and if any of you are still thinking about starting the best time would have been, like, as they say, yesterday and the second best time is today. Just do it even if you don't know what grand plans you have.

If you have that burning desire to speak to people about a passion, about something that really lights your fire, you should do it. You should do it, because you just never know, because there's something to be said about continuing to do something that really excites you, really, motivates you and puts you in a position where you can get to speak to folks that you really, really respect in this business or any business that you're in.

So, I was really happy for the time we got to speak. I learned a bit more because I could tell I do these interviews via Skype and he was on Skype and it's something to be said when you're looking at the person eye to eye and I just applaud Brendan for being considerate in his answers, because there was times when he could have just easily given me a yes or no response and I could tell he went out of his way to give me the right response and even elaborate at times when it felt like maybe I didn't ask the right question, but he kind of had a feeling for what I was going for and it's probably a testament to him. I mean, he's a freaking awesome producer and I think, you know, this type of stuff comes naturally for him, so, it was awesome. It was cool. I'm really happy to be a podcaster today. I hope you enjoy the show and I'd love some feedback. PodcastJunkies.com and let me know what you think.

I want to make sure as always that you are awarded for listening this far. I didn't really want to ask Brendan to help me come up with a hashtag for this episode, but I think maybe something simple like #WTFProducer. That's it. #WTFProducer hashtag. If you made it this far and you enjoyed my conversation with Brendan, one more thing before I forget and I've promised to do this going forward is give credit to the composer for my intro and outro music and that is Cedar & Soil and you can find out more about him at CedarSoil.com. I highly recommend you check out his fantastic, fantastic original music. He's got a new album out and he's just extremely talented, extremely passionate and a good friend of mine and a good friend and fan of the show. So, don't forget to do that. Thank you.

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