Obama as American Idol: president to be guest on Ryan Seacrest radio show

In a final bid to bring young voters to the polls, President Obama will join Ryan Seacrest's radio talk show on Election Day.

Charles Dharapak/AP
President Obama chatted with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show' as part of a bid to motivate young voters. On Election Day, he'll be a guest on Ryan Seacrest's radio talk show.

Let’s just say it’s official: President Obama will do whatever it takes to reach that younger demographic that was so important to his 2008 election.

On Monday, American idol and radio talk show host Ryan Seacrest announced that the commander-in-chief will appear live on his syndicated, daily radio talk show. It will air at 7:15 a.m. Pacific time – drive time – on Election Day.

Mr. Seacrest tweeted to his fans to submit questions for the interview. The questions are currently piling up on the Facebook site and run the gamut from serious ones about the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” to queries about Mr. Obama’s favorite songs and other essential POTUS trivia. (That would be President Of The United States, for the uninitiated.)

This fits in with a trend that began with Bill Clinton, says Travis Ridout, a political scientist at Washington State University in Pullman. “He’s clearly trying to bypass the filter of the traditional media to get his message directly to that younger demographic,” he says.

“There really are no boundaries any more,” says Washington-based digital strategist Brendan Kownacki.

While other politicians have tested a wide variety of new media outreach vehicles, Obama has ventured into territory untouched by previous presidents, Mr. Kownacki adds. For example, he held a YouTube chat immediately following the State of the Union speech.

Tuesday's move follows the head-of-state’s half-hour interview with comedy host Jon Stewart on Comedy Central this past week, as well as a turn on Univision’s morning radio talk show.

As a side note, this is also an important moment for Seacrest, whose career has pretty much run the red-carpet gamut. What could only be described as a programming coup makes sense, says Kownacki, “when you think about the fact that he’s being talked about as the next Larry King,” whose long-running stint on CNN ends this year. “This is certainly the first time the word journalism and Ryan Seacrest have been mentioned in the same breath,” he adds.

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