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Podcast Equality — The Rise of the Female Voice

Published on October 2, 2019, at 8:25 p.m.
by Louise Margeson.

In a world full of smartphones, streaming services and apps that can deliver food to your door with the touch of a button, society has become transfixed with the notion of instant gratification. We constantly want to be informed, entertained or inspired without lifting a finger — podcasts satisfy all three. Whether you are driving home from work or running menial errands, podcasts have the ability to connect with audiences through an easily digestible format in a way that feels intimate.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

The podcast industry has historically been dominated by men, and in 2017, women only hosted or co-hosted a third of the top 100 podcasts on Apple’s podcast chart. However, a current trend suggests that there is an increasing number of female podcast hosts, resulting in more female podcast listeners. Dear Media is at the forefront of this trend. The podcast network, by Digital Brand Architects, focuses on the female audience and the female voices that drive it. The company is home to over 24 shows, and 93% of them are presented by females.

“Through Dear Media, we’re creating a space for female entrepreneurs, well-known lifestyle experts, and best-selling authors to amplify their stories and work with brands to be a part of it,” said DBA co-founder, Raina Penchansky, in a recent interview with Forbes.

Elizabeth Kott, co-host of “That’s So Retrograde” on the Dear Media network, is a part of that space. The show candidly explores the health and wellness space, featuring guests like Sophia Bush, Deepika Chopra and Whitney Port.

Courtesy of That’s So Retrograde

Although the podcast space is currently seeing a shift in audience, Kott said her relationship with her listeners has not so much changed as it has grown.

“Our audience has expanded, but we’ve held close to our heart that relationship and the fact that we’re never going to lead anybody astray when it comes to our stamp of approval on something,” Kott explained. “We’re still honest, and we’re still claiming to be the beginner in exploring things and just giving a candid, educational and hopefully super entertaining experience with that.”

In the past few years, since advertisers have realized that podcasts are a valid medium, brands have shifted toward utilizing this genuine, authentic connection that podcast hosts have with their audiences in order to drive revenue. In 2017, U.S. podcast ad revenue totaled $314 million, a 86% increase from the previous year. It’s estimated that it will grow to nearly $660 million by 2020.

Female podcast listeners, and the overall rise in diversity by creators, play a big role in this industry shift.

Courtesy of Nothing Confidential

Christin Henke, founder of the brand and podcast “Nothing Confidential,” noted, “Women are extremely conscious and invested in the products and brands that they care about. Then, when you get the voice of someone on top of that who is willing to come in and speak about it, we see a positive influence in things like ethical consumerism.”

The genuine, authentic connections that are created through podcasts’ easily digestible format are not the only reason why the industry thrives today. New content is constantly being created, and there is something for everyone.

“It’s a vast pool, and you can find specific ideas and concepts,” Kott said. “So whatever floats your boat, you can probably find it in the podcast atmosphere. We can also consume it while we’re living our lives. It’s not like sitting down and watching a YouTube video.”

The momentum of the podcast industry does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. The digital age allows listeners to consume a variety of content through a convenient medium, and the increasing number of female voices allows diversity to thrive within the industry.

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