Series of On Air Specials Featuring Speeches from the Commencement Podcast Aired Across iHeartMedia Broadcast Stations Nationwide Over the Weekend Culminating on National Graduation Day
Featuring Inspirational Quotes from the Diverse Lineup of Speakers
“...we can solve more problems together than we can alone.” - Hillary Clinton
“Love can change the world.” - John Legend
“Disruption often inspires innovation.” - Katie Couric
“...at the end of the storm, comes a rainbow, even if you can't see it yet.” - Kesha
“These hard and uncomfortable times do not define our identity.” - Mary J. Blige
“...we can come together and rebuild stronger, and young people can lead the way.” - Melinda Gates
NEW YORK – May 18, 2020 – iHeartMedia today shared a series of speech highlights from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” – a one-of-a-kind special podcast event for America’s graduation month featuring commencement addresses from some of the most inspiring and accomplished thought leaders impacting culture today.
The “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” podcast was released last Friday, May 15, through the iHeartPodcast Network. Following its digital release, iHeartMedia’s more than 850 broadcast radio stations across the country aired featured clips from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” every hour, culminating Sunday night with a series of 30-minute on air commencement specials on all music stations and 60-minute specials on all Talk stations. The on air commencement specials broadcasted on every station between 7 p.m. and midnight local time and featured multiple speeches from the podcast – taking these inspirational speeches directly to millions of graduates nationwide.
While graduates around the country are missing their traditional end-of-year celebrations, iHeartMedia is honored to gather an impressive group of leaders, creators and thinkers representing every corner of today’s culture to give the entire graduating class the sendoff they deserve. From Abby Wambach to Hillary Clinton, Eli Manning to Mary J. Blige, and DJ Khaled to Katie Couric, 2020’s graduating class heard from an inspiring and eclectic group of individuals over the weekend in honor of National Graduation Day on May 17.
“Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” speaker highlights include:
Bill Gates: “The important thing to remember about career paths is that they don't have to last forever, and when I was in my 20s, I thought I'd always work in software. I never saw myself working in philanthropy or on global health at all, let alone leaving behind my job at Microsoft to do it full-time. As you get older, your interests and your skills will evolve. My advice is to be open to change. Don't be afraid to try something new.”
Melinda Gates: “This pandemic is a defining moment in our history. Today's graduates, you're going to play a huge role in how it defines us. As we start to recover, you will be at the forefront of answering big questions like, will society become more or less equal? Will the world become more united or more divided? Will we make the changes we need so no one is left behind? Just like World War II and other emergencies, we can come together and rebuild stronger, and young people can lead the way.”
Bobby Bones: “Everyone who has ever walked a stage before you had to overcome obstacles to get where they are and achieve their goals. And maybe their obstacles didn’t come in the form of a global pandemic, but I believe there is some beauty in dealing with wrenches thrown in your gears... Go out, set a new precedent, be the new standard. Don’t let anyone deem you unessential. You don’t deem yourself unessential.”
Bobbi Brown: “Take care of yourself. Many of you might be feeling stuck right now, and I know how that feels. Figure out what makes you feel good, motivated and healthy. For me, that's drinking water, exercising as soon as I get up, and eating nourishing foods. Which I believe absolutely helps your mood, and your brain. For you, it could be anything. Do that push up challenge. Take a walk. Hold a plank. Whatever works for you.”
Bobby Flay: “This year's graduation class is special. You're one-of-a-kind and you're singled out as the year of the pandemic graduates. It's a story that you'll be able to tell for the rest of your lives. You'll tell your children and your grandchildren this story. You've done the work in a classroom and virtually as well. Yes, your schoolwork is done for now, but more importantly, every one of you is getting a lesson of life that will serve you well, not just now, but for the rest of your lives.”
Chelsea Handler: “You direct the course of your life, so if you're not on board with your own decisions, no one else will be. Don't be an average friend to people. Be a great friend. Show up when others stop showing up. Be someone that people can rely on and that people can turn to when they're in trouble or despair. Don't let uncomfortable feelings prevent you from having real conversations. If you are brave and you have strong beliefs, you can, indeed, change the world. Maybe not all at once, but you can change the world one person at a time. You can save the world one person at a time.”
David Chang: “It's a marathon of marathons, and you will need to draw upon an endless reserve of willpower, of grit. Hard work is a great equalizer. It's something I didn't quite figure out till much later. It's how you'll be able to meet the thousands of challenges that await, whether it's humiliation or the apartment bathtub upstairs that's now flooding on your dining room floor when there's a critic eating a meal.”
Eli Manning: “You see, I don't mind being in awkward situations or doing things I don't necessarily want to do, like becoming the Giant's backup quarterback after winning two Super Bowls and walking away with the MVP. Embracing awkward is worth cultivating because life, like this graduation, rarely goes as planned.”
Enrique Santos: “The world is yours, we're turning it over to you. You know the world needs saving and it's the youth who are going to have to do it. You. You're going to be driving the train and it's going to happen a lot sooner than you think. You're graduating into a world that needs you badly. And I want to challenge you. I challenge you to do better for the world than any generation has done.”
Hillary Clinton: “Your generation has always embodied the principle that we can solve more problems together than we can alone. That has to start with someone, and why not you? After all, as one of my favorite Americans Eleanor Roosevelt said, human rights begin in small places, close to home. So does all the progress we want and need.”
Jake Brennan: “Who is worthy of your presence? Who are you going to bless with your incredible skills and intellect and hustle? That’s how you have to look at going after the career you want. You are a rock star. Whoever it is that is going to be interviewing you is going to be lucky to have you show up everyday and rock their house. Know this, you are no less awesome or worthy than Dave Grohl or any of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl, I guarantee you, would be the first one to tell you that. The world is ready for your set, so go hit the stage and crush it.”
John Legend: “We can raise our voices together to create something we are proud of. We can do that if we lead with love. Love can change the world. There are 7 billion other people out there, 7 billion strangers. I want you to consider what it means to love them too. What does it mean to love people we don't know, to see the value in every single person's life, valuing every hospital worker from the doctors to the cleaning crew, valuing every worker that we now see as essential, but maybe overlooked and underpaid before, honoring every life loss to this horrible virus, whether they're in China, Iran or around the corner, whether you know them or not?”
Katie Couric: “Disruption often inspires innovation. Look around, pay attention and imagine how our new reality will transform the world around us. As Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter once said, ‘Find a need and fill it.’ Now is the perfect time to reassess and reconnect.”
Kesha: “This disruption may be just what we didn't know we needed to shake off the rest of old ideas and blaze ahead with a new plan. You don't need to follow the rules. There are no rules. Follow your heart. Create the new rules. Stay well. Stay strong. And remember at the end of the storm, comes a rainbow, even if you can't see it yet.”
Dr. Oz: “Whatever you choose, do it fully with a passion and a childlike enthusiasm. You don't want to go through the motions. It usually fails anyway, and it's not as much fun.”
Mary J Blige: “These hard and uncomfortable times do not define our identity. The only thing a trial like this can show us is what we're made of, and you are everything amazing and phenomenal. It's not about a perfect performance, but a sincere heart, drive, determination and strength.”
Ryan Seacrest: “When you try something new, you take a risk or you change your course, there will be naysayers. And there will be well-meaning skeptics too. Thank them for their advice, but whatever you do, don’t let them silence your intuition.”
Tim Cook: “When I joined Apple in 1998, I couldn’t believe my luck. I was going to get to spend the rest of my professional life working for Steve Jobs. But fate comes like a thief in the night. The loneliness I felt when we lost Steve was proof that there is nothing more eternal, or more powerful, than the impact we have on others. Those of us who can look back on this time and remember inconveniences and even boredom can count themselves lucky. Many more will know real hardship and fear. Others still will be cut to the bone.”
Tim McGraw: “This situation is unique, but that is also what makes it memorable. The entire world is thinking about you, standing behind you
, and wanting to support you, as you enter the next phase of your journey. I can personally relate to the situation you're in, as we have two daughters graduating this year; one from high school, one from college. Our family joined you in the disappointment of not being able to share this moment in person as a collective event.”
The final and comprehensive lineup of speakers for the special podcast event includes creator and producer Aaron Mahnke; two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach; Alphabet X’s captain of moonshots Astro Teller; philanthropists and business leaders Bill and Melinda Gates; singer, songwriter and actor Becky G; cosmetics icon Bobbi Brown; celebrity chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay; comedian and TV host Chelsea Handler; sports analyst and commentator Chris Broussard; restaurateur and TV personality David Chang; Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon; NFL football legend Eli Manning; comedian and actor George Lopez; journalist and NPR correspondent Guy Raz; top recording artist Halsey; director and actor Henry Winkler; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; top recording artist John Legend; New York Times bestselling author John Green; award-winning journalist Katie Couric; Grammy-nominated pop star Kesha; DJ Khaled; R&B singer and songwriter Khalid; Academy-award and Golden Globe nominated Mary J. Blige; business leader and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson; T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert; Coach Mike Krzyzewski; Dr. Oz; international recording artist and business entrepreneur Pitbull; actor, producer, singer and songwriter Rita Wilson; actor Sienna Miller; acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; General Stan McChrystal; MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle; CEO of Epic Records Sylvia Rhone; top country artist Tim McGraw; rapper and record producer T.I.; Apple CEO Tim Cook; and Emmy award-winning news anchor Tom Brokaw. “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” also featured speeches from leading iHeartRadio on-air personalities and podcast hosts, including Ryan Seacrest; Enrique Santos, Bobby Bones, Jake Brennan, Angela Yee, Josh Clark, Chuck Bryant and Woody.
Special thanks to the commencement speakers and partners including Doritos, State Farm and T-Mobile who helped ensure the Class of 2020 received the commencement advice they deserve in this unusual graduation year. Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau partnered with iHeartMedia for “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” to remind everyone that responding to the census helps shape your future and that of your community. Listeners are encouraged to visit 2020census.gov to learn more about how and where to be counted.
The special podcast is distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network which is home to more than 750 original podcasts with over 200 million downloads each month. iHeartRadio Original Podcasts span every category from business, sports, spirituality and technology to entertainment, family, comedy and true crime – and everything in between – making iHeartRadio the largest publisher of podcast content in the world. The platform is also home to the most successful podcast of all time, “Stuff You Should Know,” and creator of hits like “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” “Disgraceland” and the “Atlanta Monster” series as well as fosters over a hundred shows from its on-air talent like the popular “Bobbycast” and “The Breakfast Club” radio show podcasts. These shows are distributed on all major podcast platforms including the iHeartRadio app, which additionally distributes more than 320,000 shows.