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Giving Women a Voice

Podcasts, which are becoming increasingly important as a journalistic medium,  have generally been male-dominated. But the medium is getting more diverse, thanks in part to a new podcasting studio dedicated to giving women a voice.

Raina Penchansky, founder and CEO of Digital Brand Architects, (DBA), a digital talent management and social media marketing firm, spoke to me about her company’s latest endeavor, the recently launched  Dear Media (DM). Located in West Hollywood, this new podcasting studio focuses on leading female voices and narratives that can now be heard on Apple iTunes and Spotify. .

They reach a “hIghly engaged listener,” through this medium Penchansky explained.  “It’s a targeted millenial audience, and in a lot of ways,” which makes it “very much the right medium” for this demographic that has been “cord-cutting and consuming content differently” than the previous generation. 

The business model for  Dear Media follows the pattern set by DBA back in 2010. It  helps individuals conceptualize, develop, and produce customized communication through new media. The difference is that it puts the emphasis on female hosts and voices, placing women and their stories at the forefront of conversation.

“We always stay true to the core of why we started,” .Penchansky said. Giving women access to a digital platform through which they could express themselves was a defining value for DBA.

“This economy didn’t exist a decade ago and we’re really proud that we’re creating opportunities for women.”

Believing that audio is the “next iteration” for the digital platform, DBA decided to “extend into the product and Dear Media.” While the marketing angle began with promotion for direct-to-consumer,  now it “really runs the gamut of all types of brands.”

Podcasts are getting particular attention because there is a view that “audio is the new journalism.” While Penchansky says she doesn’t buy that 100 percent, she does find that there is an “intimacy to audio and podcasting” that promotes a feeling of being closer to the host than what one experiences on YouTube and Instagram.

She also says that it plays an important role in allowing a diversity of types to reach an audience. While some content does need a visual medium, there are people who have something to communicate without standing in front of  a camera, and podcasts gives them the opportunity to connect with their audiences through the “intimacy of voice.” 

The reason she considered it necessary to create a platform specifically for “nurturing the female voices” is because they had been underrepresented in the audio space. “There are  lot of male voices, a lot of men talking about politics,” she said.  “Joe Rogen owns two or three of the top 10 himself.”

Topics are a lot more open for Dear Media, which Penchansky  says is “really about the genre of women,  rather than topic specific.” It’s all about “female podcasters and female audiences.” Of course, some of them are associated with particular topics of interest.  Some popular personalities featured are Jackie Schimmel under the title The Bitch Bible and Helen Johannesen’s Wine Face 

All the podcasts are available for download, but aware of the impact live events have on audiences, they also offer some live tapings and live tours to provide that “experiential part that people crave.” For example, this past summer, they held live tapings at an outdoor shopping center in Los Angeles that drew hundreds of people. 

Penchansky attributes the draw to to the audience’s personal connection with the voices, making them feel that they really know these women. While some may have considered female podcasts to be too niche to have mass appeal, Penchansky reports that it is “growing really, really quickly.“

Much of that growth is organic, generated by “grassroots efforts and word of mouth marketing.” There’s also an aspect of support from within the community of podcasters, as many get featured on other people’s podcasts and come to people’s attention that way.

It works well because “people really want to support their favorite voices,” she said.



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