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Empowering Black Podcast Creatives: Afros & Audio Podcast Festival

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Francisca Sequeira August 25, 2022

In a recent academic article titled, “Power To The Podcasts: Publics, Opinions, And The Economy Of Black Podcasts,” the author, Tegan R. Bratcher, notes that podcasts have been increasingly prevalent in the media landscape since the early 2000s. Additionally, many media outlets are calling podcasts the “next big thing” in entertainment.

The article explores Black podcasts, in particular, the manner in which they relate to public opinion, culture and rhetoric, social media, the history of Black media and strategic communications in general. Bratcher asserts that there are gaps in the examination of podcasts from a critical and diverse lens regarding these intersections.

The article examines multiple perspectives and theoretical frameworks in order to uncover the economy of podcasts and particularly how Black podcasters are utilizing the revolutionary platform in a contemporary media landscape. Bratcher notes that scholarship has analyzed some of the larger and more successful podcasts, but that everyday podcasts are not nearly as well studied and documented. It is more and more common for Americans to be looking towards these types of podcasts for, “extracurricular fulfillment, self promotion/branding/marketing, community building, and potentially profit-inducing reasons”.

In order to conduct research for the article, Bratcher interviewed twenty active podcasters as well as analyzed four separate and distinct Black podcasts with the intention of revealing broader themes about podcasts and the influence that they have on communities, spaces, and practices. The focus of the article on Black podcasters provides clarity as to how a historically disadvantaged group in the US has continued to evolve in the practice of communication through the use of evolving digital technologies.

How Afros & Audio is Empowering Black Podcast Creatives

The Afros & Audio Podcast Festival started in 2019 as the first two-day conference for and by Black podcast creatives and audio professionals and is one of the fastest growing podcast events. Afros & Audio™ is committed to community and collaboration, and has year-round resources for aspiring, new, and experienced podcasters. The annual conference, which is now in its fourth year, is a mix of workshops and social events that highlights Black speakers, leverages experiential information sharing, and increases the network of support for Black independent podcasters.

This year is the fourth annual Afros & Audio Podcast Festival, and the first time since 2019 that the event is back in-person. On October 22nd and 23rd, the conference will be held at the Warwick Rittenhouse Square Hotel in Downtown Philadelphia, PA and on the Whova Conferencing Platform. The conference brings together a global community of independent Black podcast creators, audio and industry professionals to network and knowledge share. Attendees of this year’s event will celebrate the tremendous progress of the Black podcasting community and will discover methods to advance their professional and entrepreneurial goals within the industry.

Afros & Audio’s mission is to improve the overall success for the independent Black podcasting community. To provide a networking experience unlike any other podcast event and to establish an accessible and inclusive community that actively fosters and stimulates collaboration are the primary aims of the conference. This means that attendees, speakers, volunteers, moderators, and the leadership team of Afros & Audio feel valued, celebrated, and supported. By bringing together independent Black podcast creators and audio professionals to learn and teach skills, Afros & Audio is shifting the status quo approach to the industry and demanding an equal playing field in the global podcast market.

This year, the festival is planning a unique mix of educational workshops, social events, and relevant brand opportunities for starting and maintaining a podcast or podcast related business.

Final Thoughts

The fourth annual Afros & Audio Podcast Festival is empowering the Black podcasting community through an effective and authentic blend of culturally relevant information and entertainment, which allows Black podcast creators to both learn and network. Additionally, the event highlights ways of raising funds and securing resources required to support independent Black podcast creators and audio professionals. Their sponsorship partners are Libsyn, Disctopia, Heil, PodPros, and More Sauce.

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