It all started with this tweet:



Hi, Tracy,

Thanks for reaching out! Your confusion is completely warranted. And I’m completely prepared to resolve any concerns that you may have.

“With Musical Guest Sting” has been a recurring gag on the podcast for every single episode of the last five years (archive link). The show introduction is a self-deprecating over-the-top pack of lies, wall-to-wall. We claim to be “the world’s most popular podcast”, with “1.2 billion listeners” who aren’t just on iTunes, they’re also “on Geocities” – an online community that hasn’t been relevant since 2009 (we also claim to simulcast on Shortwave Radio and the frequency for CB radios but that’s more of a joke to amuse the 1970s kid in me more than anything else). We also claim to be the podcast for a non-existent magazine with operations in London, Bangkok, New York, and… Cincinnati.

The gag for “with Musical Guest Sting” is that there’s no way in a million years a musician as significant as Sting would have any reason to come on the show as small as ours (public stats). If we were, in fact, the world’s most popular, you would likely have reached out sooner.

Listeners have been in on the joke since day-one. Even other bands have made references in social media and I believe that shared gag creates a connection we hope one day fuels the growth of our silly little podcast. It’s been noticed that while we have 2,400 followers, we’re only following 1 Twitter account. And of course, it’s @OfficialSting.

Co-host Alan Cross and I are both 30 year veteran broadcasters (bios) with a respect for the importance of branding and reputation. It’s the second reason why we don’t say another word about him after the show introduction. It avoids the risk of a listener interpreting Mr. Sumner’s absence in a negative light. We also thought it’d be funnier that way.

If the machine behind this most amazing musician doesn’t feel the joke, we’ll immediately cease and desist.

With that honoured, we respectfully inquire if Mr. Sumner would find any of this the least bit funny?

Our listeners will want to know why after 5 years Sting is no longer “musical guest” (please don’t make me change it to “Drake”) and “because they asked us to stop” is what we’ll say, isn’t the least bit interesting. We’re professional storytellers.

If you ask us to end the gag, I would like to work with you to manage the message on the show and on social media.

Social media is your strength, not mine, but perhaps something as simple as a Twitter reply, “I have no idea who you people are”, a voicemail recording that’s simply “This is Sting. Knock it off. (click)” all the way up to an on-camera frown-y “cease and desist” that’s obviously tongue-in-cheek (but firm) might be a fun way to leverage our obvious small-time-show nature.

If you’d like in on the gag or do a long-tail strategic marketing wind-down of it, we could even tie into The Last Ship coming to Toronto in early 2019, something our listeners would be very interested in.

Please advise.

And thank you for your humour and patience.

Michael Hainsworth
Co-Host, Geeks & Beats
Toronto, Canada



The World’s Most Popular Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth
Wednesdays on iTunesGoogle PlaySpotify, and Stitcher