In 2020 we said goodbye to traditional social gatherings, pants, and poor sanitation habits. Express delivery adopted a new sense of urgency and Netflix and chill became less of a suggestion and more of a lifestyle. In addition to endless viewing possibilities, listening options have never been more immersive.
Podcasts are officially mainstream. As of January 2021, PodcastHosting.org reported a global total of, “1,750,000 podcasts and over 43 million episodes.” And a recent study by Nielsen Scarborough also found that “at a 20% rate of growth, the audience for podcasting could double by 2023.”
One driving force in media has opted to take full advantage of this surge while catering specifically to the African-American consumer. For over 25 years Miles Ahead Entertainment and Broadcasting (MAEB) has built an expansive multi-media platform, “designed to offer astute advertisers an innovative marketplace to align their brands with authentic voices and a common commitment to speak to and serve the African American community.” MAEB’s dedication to the empowerment of content curated for Black consumers spurred the creation of The Mocha Podcasts Network (MPN).
Entrepreneur, media veteran, and founder Sheila Eldridge recently spoke with Black Enterprise about the launch of the MPN stating, “Based on my experience and success over the last 10 years in national radio syndication, the expansion into the podcast market solidifies our 360 landscape. The Mocha Podcasts Network (MPN) is a destination to showcase people of color with an emphasis on Black and brown women featuring conversations from a Black perspective.”
The initial line up will include shows hosted by a diverse roster of talents such as comedians Sherri Shepard and Kym Whitley (Two Funny Mamas); The Real’s Loni Love (The Café Mocha Podcast); talk show legend Rolonda Watts (Rolonda on Demand) and singers En Vogue (The Funky Divas); in addition to a variety of lifestyle content.
When asked about the importance of corporate focus on the Black community as well as the ability to obtain corporate dollars Eldridge advised, “Black people are huge consumers of podcasts. In a recent Nielsen report, they indicate that podcasts have more traction among Black listeners than the general population. If we are only 13% of the U.S. population but are dominating in podcast consumption, that means there are a lot of ‘Black folks’ listening to podcasts and that’s a great place to have a destination for advertisers to target them. That’s why a platform like MPN is so important and relevant to our community. We know that historically Black businesses often don’t receive the advertising resources and campaigns that other companies do. Hopefully, during this time of racial reckoning with corporations in America, we’ll see brands not just posting about Black Lives Matter but spending dollars with companies and platforms that speak to and engage directly with Black consumers.” (MPN Founder, Eldridge Shelia. “Media Entrepreneur Sheila Eldridge Is Amplifying The Voices of Women of Color Through The Mocha Podcasts Network.” Black Enterprise, Black Enterprise, 28 Dec. 2020)
As the podcasting industry continues to expand MPN and like networks will undoubtedly make all the difference for Black businesses and content creators seeking to bridge the gap between broadcast syndication, marketing, and the expansion of talent.