Over 68 million Americans, or one in four people, listen to podcasts monthly.
To highlight the growth of this medium, data analytics company Nielsen reports that there are over 630,000 podcast and Apple confirmed there were over 550,000 podcasts.
The New Next will explore people of color who are behind these audio productions as hosts, producers, researchers and writers.
During a recent press tour for her latest CBS sitcom, “Fam,” legendary actress Sheryl Lee Ralph casually mentioned the launch of her new podcast, “Diva Defined.”
Intrigued, I immediately checked my podcast provider for details and discovered an upcoming series of intimate conversations Ralph was having with some of her famous and influential friends, including Chandra Wilson (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Loni Love (“The Real”), Bresha Webb (“Marlon”, “Ride Along 2”), Shaun Robinson (“Access Hollywood”), Sherri Shepherd (“The View”, “Trial and Error”), Dawn-Lyen Gardner (“Queen Sugar”) and more.
“The podcast started out with a general audience, but then it honed down to women telling stories that you didn’t know anything about when it came to these celebrities,” said Ralph, an original cast member of Broadway’s “Dreamgirls.” Ralph is also the wife of Vincent Hughes, Philadelphia native and longtime Pennsylvania state senator.
“It takes place in my living room, and when Loni Love sat down in that chair and started talking she shared stories and sides about her that people never even knew. Sheri Shepard told stories that made her cry. When we got the backstory behind the woman who was Felecia and that iconic line ‘Bye Felecia,’ and where she was in her life and what has happened to her makes you want to say, ‘Hello Felicia.’ Dawn Gardner from ‘Queen Sugar’. The conversations were just amazing. Most times you look at celebrities and think you know but you have no ideaYou learn something more about these women and go, ‘Wow, I had no idea.’”
The podcast is a production of Tribune Audio Network and KTLA.
“At KTLA in Los Angeles, the station just launched a new podcast using ART19’s distribution platform, ‘DIVA Defined with Sheryl Lee Ralph’ featuring the legendary stage and screen actress as she hosts empowering, inspirational conversations with women. As we continue to develop Tribune Audio Network, we’ll continue to extend invitations to emerging and known talent with diverse ideas, ” said Jason Ball, Tribune vice president of content development and KTLA news director.
“Podcasting gives us intimate and entertaining new ways for our anchors and reporters across the country to bring their journalistic expertise and passion for their communities to mobile audiences and listeners,” said Bart Feder, Tribune senior vice president of NewsAbout Tribune Media.