Howl Launches Podcast Subscriptions With 'WTF with Marc Maron' Archives
The $4.99 a month subscription offers fans of Marc Maron's podcast exclusive access to his episode archives.
Want to listen to Marc Maron's first-ever podcast with comedian Jeff Ross? How about his two-part interview with Judd Apatow in 2010? Well, there's an app for that.
On Monday, podcasting company Midroll Media launched subscription service Howl Premium that offers exclusive access to archives from a number of top podcasts, including WTF with Marc Maron.
E.W. Scripps-owned Midroll launched the Howl app in April to aid in the discovery of and listening to free, ad-supported podcasts from its networks Earwolf — which is home to Comedy Bang Bang, Kevin Pollak's Chat Show and How Did This Get Made — and Wolfpop — which features Maltin on Movies and The Sylvester Stallone Show. Now, Howl has added a premium tier that offers ad-free access to archives from all Earwolf and Wolfpop shows and the entire WTF library for $4.99 a month. Howl Premium also offers original programming from comedians and comedy brands including Lauren Lapkus, Paul F. Tompkins, Comedy Central and the A.V. Club. Episodes of WTF and other podcasts that are less than six months old will continue to be available for free on Howl.
"Howl Premium is for people who love audio programs — from comedy and commentary to narrative and documentary — and who want that content on-demand," said Howl GM Daniel Osit. "The release of Howl is significant to us because it's about using our leadership and expertise to solve for the limited experience that audio apps currently in the marketplace provide."
Maron previously charged for access to the WTF archives through the podcast's website, but he and producer Brendan McDonald were looking for a way to broaden the audience for the nearly 630 episodes he's recorded since 2009. "Usually the way people found the premium content was by already listening to the podcast and searching for it," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Howl gives us the opportunity to be on the app with a lot of shows. For the first time ever, the full archive will be available to anybody who pays to be on the service. It will be exciting for people who maybe haven't heard any WTF to be able to access the archives."
The move to Howl comes as WTF has seen a surge in new listeners following Maron's June interview with President Barack Obama. Maron says new episodes were averaging about 400,000 downloads each prior to the interview and now are exceeding 500,000 downloads each. The Obama interview has been downloaded nearly 2.5 million times.
WTF has been a part of the Midroll advertising network since 2014, but Maron says he was compelled to join Howl Premium because of the opportunity it presented to be a part of a Netflix-like service podcasts. "Everyone's been searching for a platform that will make podcasting easily accessible, that will promote creativity and also create a revenue model," he says. "I'm excited that it happened organically with people I've been working alongside."
Maron also plans to take advantage of the product arm that Howl has established to provide comedians and other experienced podcasters with producers and recording space to create one-off podcasts or special series. "If I want to do something that doesn't necessarily fit within the WTF banner — like if I wanted to do a four-part series on the history of comedy that was a standalone event — I could do that through Howl," he says. "That's very compelling."
Existing subscribers to the WTF archives will be grandfathered into Howl Premium. WTF listeners who subscribe to Howl Premium are currently being offered 20 percent off their subscription.