Former ESPN host Jemele Hill is starting her own podcast network with Spotify, which will produce shows created by and for Black women.
Spotify is already home to her “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” podcast, which will be part of the new network. Hill also hosts a weekly radio show with Cari Champion, writes for The Atlantic and is in talks with former ESPN president John Skipper and media personality Dan Le Batard to join their new sports content company.
Podcasting has been on the rise for years — monthly listeners in the U.S. crossed 100 million in 2020 — and is primed for significant growth with Black listeners, according to Hill.
“When Black people hear stories they can relate to and hear from artists and entertainers and athletes they have cherished, they are going to respond,” Hill told Bloomberg.
Companies have been betting big on podcasts lately.
- Amazon acquired Wondery for a reported $300 million in December.
- Spotify acquired podcast ad tech company Megaphone for $235 million in November, adding to its earlier acquisitions of The Ringer, Gimlet, Parcast and Anchor.
- Sirius XM acquired Stitcher, a full-service podcast platform, for $325 million in October.
Still, podcast platforms have a lot of room for growth when it comes to monetization. Ad revenue for traditional U.S. radio totaled $12 billion in 2020; ad revenue for podcasts was significantly lower at $1.1 billion.