We're exploring the representation of Latinx people in podcasting with two Latinx podcast insiders Juleyka Lantigua-Williams and Pam Covarrubias, who partnered with us on the discover list, Latinx Spotlight.
Pam is the host and creator of Cafe con Pam, a weekly podcast where Pam and a fearless Latinx person or Person of Color chat over coffee about breaking barriers and making the world a better place.
We talked to Juleyka and Pam about their experience in podcasting, and the industry as a whole.
Pocket Casts: How has Latinx representation in podcasting changed over the last 5 years?
Pam: It has definitely improved. We have seen lots of Latinx independent podcasters show up more and more in the last 5 years. We are seeing a variety of topics also being covered, from business, mental health, parenting, and all the way to spirituality, which is something we definitely didn’t see before.
Juleyka: We’ve always been part of podcasting as producers and editors, and hosts. Tanzina Vega, who now hosts The Takeaway on WNYC, had a podcast over ten years ago before anyone knew what a podcast was. The difference is that now we have shows that are about and for Latinos, unabashedly. And I think that’s an important difference because being in front of the mic has a different impact on the industry and the audience than being behind the boards.
How does a bilingual podcast affect the audience experience?
Pam: I think it improves the experience. Being able to listen to a podcast where the host feels comfortable enough to mix both languages and still get the point across is refreshing. As a listener it is also comforting because the experience allows the listener and host to bridge their relationship by bringing that familiarity of growing up in a 100% bilingual Latinx household. We no longer feel “othered.”
Juleyka: This is very dependent on the affinity level a listener feels toward a particular language and group. As a native Spanish speaker, I enjoy listening to podcasts in Spanish and English equally, but the types of podcasts I listen to in each language differs slightly. In English, I enjoy interviews, profiles, and news. In Spanish, I seek out long-form narrative because that type of elevated prose is such a joy to listen to. Latinos come from a long history of oral narration--including an industrial revolution in caribbean countries like Cuba and Dominican Republic where factories hires ‘lectores’ (readers) to read from classic novels to keep workers focused and entertained.
What has your experience been as a Latinx person in podcasting?
Pam: Fun and rewarding. Fun in the sense that I have met so many incredible individuals doing amazing things out in the world, which is so inspiring to me. Rewarding because I get to interact with the listeners whose lives have been touched because they finally heard someone’s story that resonated with theirs. They finally feel seen. I do want to add the incredible sense of responsibility I feel now to continue to share our stories, from us to us.
Juleyka: Extraordinary. In the two years since I launched Lantigua Williams & Co., I have received so much support and encouragement. People who are more experienced than me have offered advice, connections, and opportunities that I will forever be grateful for. Listeners have embraced our shows and made them part of their education (70 Million) and weekly motivation rituals (Latina to Latina).
Are people misunderstanding anything about Latinx representation in podcasting or lack of?
Pam: Everything. Unfortunately, Latinx representation in the media is still extremely limited. We don’t consume the same, we don’t eat the same, and even our Spanish isn’t the same. There are so many intersectionalities in Latinx culture that we cannot encompass one or two podcasts about us. I think the misunderstanding is expecting all Latinx people to be the same, this is for Latinx and non-Latinx folks. This is why we need a lot more Latinx podcasts.
Juleyka: Podcasting can start by treating Latinos like the economic powerhouse that they are: 50% of U.S. population growth from 2010 to 2015 came from Latinos. The U.S. Census says the U.S. Latino population will more than double within the next two generations. In 2015, Latinos had $1.3 trillion in buying power, an amount larger than the GDP of Australia or Spain. Their buying power will reach $1.7 trillion by 2020.
What podcasts are you listening to right now? What are your all-time favorite podcasts?