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Black Podcasts: An Untapped Ownership Opportunity

Black Podcasts: An Untapped Ownership Opportunity

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Written By

Lloyd George

Know the Author

July 26, 2022

In the latest episode of Sounds Profitable: Adtech Applied, Bryan speaks with Marketing Brew’s Alyssa Meyers about reporting on podcasting and audio for an advertising-focused publication. Listen in!

The podcast industry is ready for more Black creators, startup founders, and executives. This will take a village, it requires allyship, intentionality, and strategic partnership. Lloyd George writes…

My assumption is that many of you are just like me. The podcasting business has changed my life for the better. Podcasting is such a unique medium—it’s not quite like radio, TV, Youtube, or film. It occupies its own space, not to mention we’re building the industry as it grows. In this article, I’ll be sharing the impact podcasting has had on my life and also how Black people can play a role in the creation of the podcast industry.

I’ll also dive into how we need one another. Podcasting is the perfect opportunity to work together. There’s an opportunity for Black people and allies to collaborate and build an industry that is truly inclusive for everyone.

How Podcasting Changed My Life

My first experience with podcasting started in 2015. I was working at a job I hated, and there was only one thing that would help me pass the time. I listened to a podcast that had released thousands of episodes, which allowed me to listen from 9 AM–4 PM.

I knew then that podcasting was different. What other form of media would entertain and educate while allowing me to do my job, all for free?

More Than A Consumer

In 2019, after years of listening to podcasts and drawing inspiration from others, I decided I wanted to be more than a consumer—I created a podcast so that I could help other people too!

I now leverage my experience—all of the ups, downs, ins, and outs—to help other Black podcasters and podcasters of Color so they too can amplify their voices through podcasting.

As I discussed with others about the potential that exists for Black podcasters, there was a great realization: this changes everything.

You no longer need someone else to give you a job or an opportunity—you can start a podcast, build your own community, and use that as leverage to partner with people who intrinsically understand you.

The Opportunities for Black Podcasters

The podcasting business is chock full of opportunities—both for podcast creators and innovators. The podcast industry is made up of several sub-industries that all need to work together so that we can thrive. While you may not be interested in being a creator, you may have a passion for building technology.

Podcasting Verticals—A Lack of Black Ownership

I’m optimistic that we’ll start to see more content from Black creators, but it’s my dream that there’s a larger representation of content from people that look like me. It feels great to hear people tell stories that I resonate with, and it feels great to see podcasters that look like me grow in popularity and become full-time creators.

I certainly want to see more Black creators, but I’m more excited for Black people to gain ownership within the podcast industry. The truth is, my fear is that 15 years from now, when the podcast industry has grown tremendously, Black founders & creators won’t own anything within the industry. We’ll have contributed to its flavor, growth, and popularity but we won’t own any of the hosting companies, podcast networks, virtual recording studios, award shows, podcast conferences, etc.

Empowering Black Podcasts—You Can Change the Industry

At this present moment, I only know of one Black-owned hosting company. Ironically, they’re also the only company to hire me for brand/sponsorship work thus far.

As we started working together, we both shared this immense gratitude and mutual respect that I can’t really even put into words.

It was one of the few times I’ve truly felt seen as a creator and person navigating the business side of this industry.

Even though we didn’t know each other personally, it felt like we were brothers. I was, and am, both proud and excited for our partnership and the future we’re crafting together.

The time to start your legacy is now.

“If not now, then when? If not me, then who?” — Malcolm X

Affecting Change

A podcast is one of the few ways people can speak without being censored—within reason—and because of that, you have the power to affect positive change. Since podcasts are self-made, Black podcasters have the ability to decide what the conversation is, set the tone, offer insights, debate ideas, challenge opinions, present facts and more! As Black podcasters, we are afforded the ability to speak candidly and discuss topics that others may shy away from or keep alive a conversation that may have faded with time and media coverage. Whether you’re passionate about advancing equity and equality for the Black community through social and political commentary or simply want to discuss a passion of yours from a uniquely Black perspective, podcasting is the gateway. And there’s no better time to support Black creators.

The Podcast Market is Primed for New Entrants

Podcast statistics show that the number of weekly podcast listeners who are Black has increased by 53% over the last year—this means there’s increased demand for more niche topics within the Black community.

The 5 most popular reasons for tuning into a podcast are:

  • to learn new things (73%)
  • to dive into topics that interest them (73%)
  • to be entertained (72%)
  • to hear unique perspectives not covered by other media (70%)
  • … and to relax (68%)
Get Involved

There are also a lot of great resources for Black creators; I’ve jotted a few below:

  • BLK Pod CollectiveFounded and operated by a group of Black women, BLK Pod Collective started as an Instagram page and quickly evolved to provide increased visibility and educational resources for Black creatives so you can start, grow, and maintain a successful platform.
  • The Black Podcasters AssociationIn their quest to create a thriving, safe space for Black podcasters without the obstacles of code-switching or having to explain your Blackness, BPA has emerged to offer community members access to curated courses and workshops, community spaces where you can connect and collaborate with other Black creatives, a catalog of Afros & Audios videos and trainings, a podcast member directory, and more.
  • BIPOC Podcast Creators Owned and operated by Black and Latinx Women, BIPOC Podcast Creators offers a community for those who want to go beyond the 101, advocates for a more equitable and transparent podcasting industry, amplifies visibility opportunities for BIPOC creators and helps provide training and connections to funding sources.
  • PodJobs A jobs board for those in the podcast industry, PodJobs helps connect creatives so you can hire the right person to help produce your podcast, so you don’t have to do it all alone. It’s also a great resource for those who are looking for work and want to help podcasters achieve their dreams! Win-win.

It Takes A Village—How to Help Black Podcasters

The podcast industry as a whole benefits from more diverse perspectives, allowing us to continue our ingenuity and offering more creativity in the way that we solve problems. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already in the podcast industry. Here are some ways you can play a role in making the space more diverse—especially if you’re not from the BIPOC community—because it does take a village.

Extend an Olive Branch

Do you know someone from the BIPOC community who has great ideas? Encourage them to speak up and use their voice! Even better if you have the skills to help them along the way. By reaching out and leveraging each other’s unique skills, you’ll be able to help amplify Black voices far and wide.

Inclusive Programming (Diverse Creators)

We are truly stronger when we band together—I encourage you to elevate the voices, stories, and experiences from the BIPOC community that are intersectional. That includes highlighting and promoting Women of Color, the LGBTQ+ community, religious and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and others.

Be Open to Learn and Understand

You may already be involved with podcasts, whether you’re a creator or helping produce them. Either way, I want to encourage you to never stop educating yourself—learning is a lifelong pursuit.If you’re not BIPOC, I want to encourage you to be open to learning and understanding the issues that have and continue to adversely affect our communities. Listen to Black podcasts, share them with others, and become an ally in expanding the health, wealth, and influence of the BIPOC Community.

Lead with Empathy

Are you a podcaster or producer within the space? Take a moment to reflect on how you can lead with empathy and help pave the way for Black podcasters, especially if you yourself are not BIPOC. By giving voice to others through featured snippets, interviews, and cross-promotional advertising, you’ll be helping elevate our community and breaking down barriers.

Naturally, I’m an optimistic person. But I’m even more excited for the future of podcasting as I notice all of the evidence highlighting that there’s no better time to join the creator economy as a podcaster.

This is especially true for Black podcasters. The podcast industry is ready for more Black creators, startup founders, and executives. I get excited thinking about a world where Black podcasters also have the opportunity to highlight their voice, share unique stories, and inspire people.

New Sponsors

Sounds Profitable exists thanks to the continued support of our amazing sponsors. Each sponsor receives one hour of consulting per month as a way to say thanks.

  • DCP Entertainment is a Black Owned digital media company providing a platform to People of Color, Women, Disabled and LGBTQ+ communities
  • Ocean Media is a planning and buying agency whose mission is to drive transformational business results through data insights, technology, measurement, and media performance.

Want to learn more about sponsorship? Hit reply or send us an email!

Market Insights with Magellan AI

This week we are spotlighting Casper, which has been a big player in the podcast space since it first started advertising in 2017. We wanted to highlight how much the Bedding industry has grown over the years relative to Casper’s spend.

In both 2018 and 2021, Casper spent roughly $1.7mm. In 2018 that $1.7mm made up 28% of the total spend in the bedding industry for the year. Comparatively, in 2021, that same $1.7mm made up around 4% of the overall spend in the bedding industry. Though this is not surprising given all the bedding brands that have entered the podcast space since 2018. This is a great illustration of the difference in share of voice for certain brands compared to a couple years ago.

For more insights like this, sign up to join the July 15-minute monthly update on August 18th.

Anatomy of an Ad with ThoughtLeaders

Sponsoring brand: Manscaped

Where we caught the ad: Film & Whiskey – Whiskey Spotlight: Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2022

Who else has sponsored this podcast? Root23 and Philip Morris

Where else has this brand appeared? The JTrain PodcastManchester United PodcastRick & Bubba UniversityBertcast, and many more.

Why it works: Right before highlighting the brand sponsor (Manscaped) and starting the ad-read, the podcast hosts note ‘Today’s sponsor is a little bit of a departure from our usual area of expertise, and man oh man, I was blown away by their product!’ This not only immediately grabs the listeners’ interest and attention, but proves that the hosts gave it a try and are giving their honest opinion. Throughout the ad-read, the hosts stick to the talking points but add in their personality, which truly drives this sponsorship home.

Check out all the in-depth Anatomy of an Ad from ThoughtLeaders!

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