Jan 19, 2023 - World

Latino podcasters fill storytelling void

Illustration of a microphone stand and base with the top mouthpiece replaced with a lightbulb

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Latino podcasters are making major inroads with audiences.

Why it matters: Latinos are telling their own stories — and bringing in big audiences — in the world of podcasting, an industry that's expected to generate $4 billion a year in advertising by 2024.

  • Latinos spent twice the amount of time listening to podcasts in 2020 as they did in 2019, according to the most recent data from Nielsen.
  • Podcasts are also filling the major gap in storytelling that Hollywood has left open as it's struggled to put Latinos on screen and behind the camera — despite the fact they're avid consumers.

What's happening: The second season of "La Brega," a popular bilingual podcast about Puerto Rico's people and history, is premiering Jan. 26.

  • The first season made several year-end best-of lists when it premiered in 2021.

Details: Alana Casanova-Burgess, the co-creator and host of "La Brega," says the new season provided an opportunity to have an even broader scope, celebrating more aspects of Puerto Rico and Latinos through its music.

  • The new episodes will tell more of those stories through eight specific songs across decades, including — naturally — one from Bad Bunny, as well as classics like Elvis Crespo's "Suavemente."

Meanwhile, NPR's "Code Switch," the popular show about race and identity, just added Lori Lizarraga, the first-generation daughter of Ecuadorian and Mexican immigrants, as co-host.

  • Lizarraga made her debut on Jan. 11 on an episode about how she and her mom partly modified their names to versions easier to pronounce for English speakers.
  • She tells Axios Latino she hopes to continue to tell the kind of stories that resonate with listeners and make them feel less alone.

The big picture: Podcasts led by or focused on Latinos have been making huge inroads in the past two years.

  • "Suave," the Futuro Studios and PRX series about a man who was incarcerated as a teen, won a Pulitzer prize for audio reporting in May.
  • Other bilingual shows, like NPR's"The Last Cup," about Lionel Messi, were also successful.
  • "Idolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sánchez," about a narcocorrido singer whose story was told in both languages, has topped charts since coming out a year ago.

What they're saying: "I think more places are putting in that effort because it does make sense for everyone who is in this [mass media] space to be figuring out ways to talk about and have conversations and produce content that speaks to a Latino audience," Lizarraga said.

  • "You should be ministering to this very diverse melting pot of the Latino community. We’re out here and we consume good content if it's there for us."

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