“The iTunes Top 100 chart is dominated by shows featuring white hosts even as research shows the share of the podcast audience comprised of non-white listeners is growing fast,” wrote Steve Friess in the Columbia Journalism Review’s “Why Are Podcasts #SoWhite?”
While diversity and inclusion are hot topics in media, podcasting has lacked representation of the Latinx community, outside of NPR’s “Radio Ambulante" or “Latino USA.”
“[Seven years ago], if you were going to speak about podcasting and Latinos being a big market play, I think everyone would have looked at you and just rolled your eyes as if you were a little crazy,” said “Latino USA’s” Maria Hinojosa.
Podcasterio Network is different than the typical NPR podcast or radio show. Instead of award-winning journalists or high-acclaimed experts bantering about a certain topic, these Latinx hosts are everyday people sharing their stories and giving back to their communities.
“We felt there wasn't enough honesty happening. ‘Hood Digest’ started off as an introduction to conversations people were having behind closed doors and afraid to have in public,” says Elmer Roldan, host of “Hood Digest.” A podcast describing itself as a “blend of humor and critical analysis to make sense of stuff happening in the world.”
This is just one example of the Podcasterio Network’s online-audio shows and the power that they hold in simply sharing their narratives and experiences on the air. They broadcast conversations with the intention to empower the Latinx, a gender-neutral identifier, community and educate white Americans to learn from non-white American experiences.
“I feel like there is a much greater connection to the things going on in my community and my people,” said festival attendee, Vicente Godfrey. “They’re a good source of information on what people think about certain topics and issues.”
Listeners, like Godfrey, show that conversations about current events and intellectual topics are nothing new to the Latinx community ,as said by Latino Rebels founder and “In The Thick” podcast host, Julio Ricardo Varela.
“This is who we are. These conversations that are now called intersectional, I was having them in the Bronx in high school,” said Varela. “These are not invented, this is my life.”
The conversations might not be new, but many of these podcasts are just hitting their one-year anniversary. “Locatora Radio” is a radio-phonic novela hosted by the self-proclaimed “mamis of myth and bullsh**t.” Mala Munoz and Diosa Femme are two women of color who are determined to re-write the crazy Latina stereotype.
“We can actually embrace stereotypes and say the things that you say are negative about us actually highlight our creativity and genius," said Munoz.
Their podcast, which averages over 2,000 listens per episode on Soundcloud, is for women and female-identifying individuals. These two have seen massive success in their first year and are now speaking on panels at different colleges and universities.
Breaking stereotypes and broadcasting conversations were main topics of the entire event. But, it’s the community aspect of each podcast that stands out.
“[Podcasting] is about wanting to have a community and its about the fact that if no one has been telling our stories, then what are we listening for,” asks Jessica Molina of “Wait, Hold Up.”
Other hosts see an attainable solution to this question, if more Latinos choose to share their stories through online radio.
“While our message can connect with some, we need other voices to connect with other people so that everybody sees themselves represented and their stories there,” said Pam Covarubbias of the “Cafe Con Pam” podcast.
These do -it -yourself Latinx podcast hosts see themselves as the new faces of online radio.
“The amount of growth we’ve seen in such short period of time really shows us that it’s doing something,” said “De Colores Radio’s” Rafael Tamayo. His co-host Eva Arreguin says podcasts can foster change. “Our particular group of people have always found a way to share our stories. Podcast is the next thing that's revolutionary.”
RADIO VERSUS PODCAST
When J Cruz was 13-years-old, he sat his parents down and told them that he wanted to be on the radio. Fast forward to present day and Cruz is now a morning show host on Los Angeles hip-hop station, Power 106. A station widely known for broadcasting the latest in hip-hop and rap since 1986.
“I knew that Power  was the place that I needed to be,” said Cruz.
He is the first-ever Latino to host his own show on the hip-hop station. The radio DJ hosts his morning show, #TheCruzShow, alongside, DJ Lechero, Jeff the Sports Dude and Krystal Bee. Their one of the few morning show casts that consists of English-speaking Latinos.
Meet Some of The Hosts
Cerebronas Podcast Hosts: Yvette and Cynthia.
Latinos Who Lunch Hosts: FavyFav and Babelito.
De Colores Collective Hosts: Rafael Tamayo and Eva Arreguin
Tamarindo Podcaast Hosts: Brenda Gonzalez and Melinna Bobadilla
Wait, Hold Up! Podcast Hosts: Jessica Molina and Yarel Ramos
Nos Vemos En El Swapmeet Podcast Host: Luis Octavio
Cafe Con Pam Podcast Host: Pam Covarrubias
Viva La Round Girls Hosts: Megan, Mandy and Keke
Radio Menea Hosts: Miriam Zoila Pérez and Verónica Bayetti Flores.
Las Cafecitas Hosts: Isis Madrid and Maria Murriel
Let There Be Luz Host: Luz Warrior
Locatora Radio Hosts: Mala Munoz and Diosa Femme