Over the past decade and a half, podcasting has ballooned from an experimental, radio-adjacent internet format to a full-fledged entertainment industry with millions of daily and weekly listeners. From the worlds of comedy to hard news, it seems everyone, including garage-based neophytes and some of the world's top talent, has a podcast these days. But Humberto "El Gato" Rodríguez, one of Latinx radio's most adored personalities, says he and business partner Christian Arenas noticed a glaring void in the podcasting space about two years ago.
"We saw that in the Anglo market — not only in North America, but in English — there are a lot of options for podcasting or for listening to podcasts. But in Spanish, even though you have a lot of Latinos doing podcasts, it's difficult to track the podcasts made by Latinos," Rodríguez says. "We wanted to find and create a community of different podcasters with different content and genres so we could target the Hispanic market well... Christian brought up the idea, and we got going, and we decided to create Revolución Network."
The Wynwood-based Latinx podcasting app is now available for free download via the Apple and Google Play app stores.
Arenas and Rodríguez have been podcasting individually for the past decade, with Rodríguez's background in radio and media going back 30 years. Arenas figured the next natural step was to launch a podcasting platform to host their content alongside that of thousands of other Latinx creatives within the podcasting space.
Revolución hosts about 23 podcasters who produce original content. The criteria for the platform's podcasters include creating informative and entertaining content aimed at the Latinx community, but there aren't many limitations beyond that. The platform hopes to court talent from across the multitudes of Latinx ethnicities, nationalities, and identities. Rodríguez says non-Spanish-speaking Latinx creators and English-speaking podcasts are also welcome as long as their programming targets Revolución's stated audience. The app's main objective, he says, is to streamline the process for more Latinx creatives to get their content discovered.
Rodríguez says Revolución is also working to avoid the pitfalls of today's established podcasting platforms. He says the current model makes it difficult for listeners to find content tailored to their interests. The pool of content is extensive, he says, ranging from independent creators uploading their podcasts to streaming platforms, to prominent radio stations and TV networks posting regurgitated content in podcast form. Rodríguez believes podcast consumers are looking for original weekly content.
Another one of the platform's challenges, he says, is to equalize the quality of its podcasts given their global range of origins. "There are a lot of people podcasting nowadays," Rodríguez says. "A lot of people podcast from home, and that's fine. We at Revolución come from a background that is radio, and we know the technicality and how it would sound better. We like for sound to be one of the priorities. It's not always the same. Some people record in Spain, others in Argentina, and others at home studios."
Now that the platform has launched, Rodríguez and company are working on those issues and developing a business model for creatives to monetize their content through sponsorships and advertising. The company will also soon move from its Wynwood studio to a location that has yet to be announced.
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