I was elated to receive my first invitation to speak at a national conference this year. The icing on the cake was that the conference was Podcast Movement 2019, the largest gathering of podcasters in the country. Tangia Estrada (Host, That’s What She Did Podcast and The Skin You’re In Podcast) had put together a dynamic panel of women podcasters to discuss how we can work together to continue the growth of women of color podcasters.
On top of this being my first time speaking at a national level, it was also my first time attending Podcast Movement. I have been producing podcasts for years but, had yet to attend for various reasons. However, I was excited to attend and add to a much-needed conversation about women and podcasting. The session was titled, “Disrupting Spaces: How Women of Color Are Using Podcasting To Be Seen, Be Heard, and Reclaim Space” moderated by Tangia Estrada.
Although Tangia started podcasting last year, she has been a podcast listener for a long time. She, like most podcasters, launched their own podcast to fill a gap. “I wanted to know more about amazing women that didn’t already have a major platform and I wanted that podcast to center the voices and stories of women of color”, says Tangia.
While walking around Podcast Movement, I did notice that lack of people from underrepresented populations. However, this is reflective of the podcast industry overall so no surprise there. Tangia agrees stating, “While podcasting is growing rapidly and that growth includes people of color and other marginalized groups, podcasting as a whole is still very much a white male cisgender space”. Our session, on the other hand, was filled with women of color which shows the need for sessions specifically geared towards diversity. When asked why she pitched the session, Tangia states, “I pitched the discussion because Podcast Movement is the largest podcasting conference in the world and has credibility and power and those are the places we need to be having these conversations, to raise awareness and figure out what action might look like”.
The session was uplifting and empowering with tons of laughter in between hard truths and challenges. I was happy to share how Motor City Woman has increased podcasting awareness through workshops across metro Detroit. I was even more happy to hear how the other panelists are being intentional with their platform. “I hope the session got everyone thinking more critically about what the space can look like if we take a thoughtful and intentional approach to the growth of this medium while we are in these earlier stages of rapid growth”, says Tangia.
And though the session was phenomenal, I believe that a conversation of that magnitude deserves to be on the main stage. Why? Because the people who would probably benefit from it the most weren’t in the room. If we talk about diversity only amongst diverse attendees then, we are minimizing its’ importance. Tangia agrees stating, “This conversation matters to us because we know it’s an issue and we care enough about the industry enough to want it to see it’s potential, that said, we, women of color can’t be in a room talking to ourselves”. She continues, “I also, very strongly believe that this is a conversation that should be on the main stage at Podcast Movement and other conferences, I think we are in an opportune moment as podcasters to help shape the future of the medium”.
I walked away thankful for the opportunities I have to showcase women of color podcasters such as this column. I also walked away knowing that there is more work to be done. Tangia hit the nail on the head, “…if anyone walked away trying to figure out how to push podcasting towards meaningful diversity and inclusivity, then my goal for the session was accomplished”.
I must say job well done and yes, the goal was accomplished. See you on the main stage next year (hopefully)!
Robin Kinnie is an experienced podcast producer, entrepreneur and #womanowned advocate. Driven by community, she takes pride in creating access to underrepresented groups within the podcast industry. As the President of Motor City Woman and Audio Engineers of Detroit, her goal is to amplify the voices of women. Robin also serves as the head of Soundgirls.org, Detroit Chapter. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @RobinKinnie.