Podcast Pioneer Profile: Amina Daniels

As the owner of a podcast production studio (Motor City Woman), I interact daily with women considering how to launch, or grow, a podcast. We’re all figuring out the best equipment to use, how to land sponsors, and where to find an audience. However, podcasting didn’t just start yesterday. There were those pioneers who saw the value of podcasting. This month’s profile features Amina Daniels who was part of the medium before it became what it is today.

Before branded podcasts, before the constant race to be the “Netflix of Podcasts,” there were the early adopters of podcasting. They didn’t have the platforms we have today. However, they knew they had an audience and something to say.

Discovered by the late Reginald “Reggie” Osse’, founding partner of the Loud Speakers Network and influential host of the Combat Jack podcast, Amina Daniels was recognized as being an “It girl” on the New York City party scene. Originally from Detroit, she utilized a new social media platform called Twitter as her personal bullhorn. People were drawn to what she refers to as her “spiciness.” It wasn’t long before she was interviewing high-profile guests such as award-winning filmmaker and writer Dream Hampton. Unfortunately, her time at the Loud Speakers Network was abruptly cut sort. She was fired for what Daniels describes as “bruising male egos.” And, if you ever get the opportunity to meet her or decide to follow her on social media, you can understand how this could happen.

Amina Daniels

This prompted Daniels to seek out a co-host and create her own show. Amina says, “I never thought podcasting would be here; but, I knew it was the future.” Her podcast, Reality Check, premiered in August 2012 with co-host Jas Waters, then known as jasfly. In a heavily male-dominated industry, the podcast stood out to listeners. As female hosts, they shattered the preconception that women in media were to be seen and not heard. They were direct, funny, and at times a bit raunchy. I highly recommend listening to old episodes as they share everything from weekend shenanigans to fantasy threesomes. They were pioneers in creating the template for women in podcasting. We could be both feminine and strong. We could be unapologetic about our confidence and ambition. It was a new day.

After a short while, the duo split and Daniels returned home to pursue her dream of creating a healthier Detroit. She opened Live Cycle Delight, a boutique fitness studio. But her dream of podcasting has not faltered. “I’m looking to return to podcasting to continue my messaging, empowering people to unlock their better potential by the use of train, sweat, and restore — our studio fitness philosophy,” she says. As a client I can see how her unique personality, combined with her focus on community, could result in a podcast that does more than simply entertain. It could galvanize people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Since she has witnessed firsthand the rise of podcasts, she has a ton of knowledge for aspiring podcasters. Here are a few key pieces of advice she shared with me:

Prepare like it’s a job. Be patient. Really work on the product. Stay consistent to messaging. It takes a long time to build something special that’s going to last.

So, it’s that simple. You can have the cutest cover art and marketing strategy. But, long-term success can only be found the old-fashioned way: through hard work and dedication. A great podcast doesn’t need to rely solely on name recognition, hardware, or a gimmick. If you want to have a successful podcast, define what “successful” means to you, and know your audience.

Although the top 100-ranked podcasts are still heavily stacked with male hosts, women are joining in record numbers, sparking more women listeners. There are tons of resources for women to network, learn from, and connect with their fellow podcasters. Take advantage of these opportunities. It is only through participation that we will begin to see more podcasts led by women. Don’t see a podcast that you like? Go forth and create it!

Wanna hear Amina in the early years of podcasting? Check out Reality Check on the Loud Speakers Network on SoundCloud.

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.