We're proud to share Rita Bautista's podcasting journey, a powerful testament to the importance and value of diversity and inclusion in the industry, extending far beyond Hispanic Heritage Month. From connecting with fellow Latina podcasters to building a thriving community, Rita's vision showcases the transformative impact of amplifying underrepresented voices.
In the ever-expanding world of podcasting, Rita Bautista stands out as a leader, a visionary, and a champion for underrepresented voices. As the CEO of Latina Podcasters, Rita is on a mission to create a more diverse and inclusive podcasting landscape. Our team connected with Rita and Latina Podcasters in 2022, and Simplecast sponsored their 2022 Posadas Live event in Houston.
So, let's delve into Rita's journey, the growth of her network, her vision for diversity in podcasting, and how she empowers indie podcast creators to succeed.
A Podcasting Pioneer
Rita Bautista's journey into podcasting began in 2019 when she launched her own podcast. Like many podcasters, she soon realized the need for more diversity within the industry. Rita knew there had to be more voices like hers and embarked on a mission to find them. She set out to connect with fellow Latina podcasters in the United States and quickly discovered the need for a platform to amplify their voices.
The Birth and Growth of Latina Podcasters
As Rita's quest to connect with other Latina podcasters evolved, so did her vision. What started as a group grew into something much larger. She attended Podcast Movement in 2020, hosting the first-ever meetup of Latinas at the conference. She recognized the potential to create a network dedicated to Latina voices there. The pandemic served as a catalyst, highlighting the need for diverse content and for podcasters to monetize their work.
Today, Latina Podcasters is a thriving community home to 36 podcasts with over 500,000 monthly downloads. Rita's ambitious plans include expanding into Latin America, with a goal of reaching 2 million monthly downloads. The network comprises two branches: Latino Pods, amplifying the voices of male storytellers, and Latina Podcasters, featuring 25 podcasts hosted and produced by Latinas.
Impact Beyond the Numbers
What sets Rita's network apart isn't just the impressive download numbers but the real-life impact it has on podcasters. As Rita met her podcasters in person during a 2023 tour, she was touched by the stories of how their opportunities through the network had enabled them to purchase homes in major cities. The impact extended beyond content creation; it was about building economic stability and opportunities for the community.
Diversity as a Premium and Empowering Indie Podcast Creators
One of Rita's core beliefs is that black and brown content should be treated as premium content. She states:
“That old CPM model does not apply to a community that hasn't necessarily had the research to back the impact on a larger scale. So when people come to us, as far as an advertisement is concerned, our model is completely different (for that particular reason). And I'm not afraid to say no. I think a lot more people will have to in this space in media who are representing diverse voices. We need to have a bigger conversation about how that gets reassessed because the impact of what we have by word of mouth in our communities, which is a natural community culture-based way of marketing, is not being accounted for.”
Rita also believes that indie podcast creators hold a unique advantage: a loyal, engaged audience. Even with smaller download numbers, the conversion rates and audience interaction are often higher. She encourages indie creators to embrace their niche and use their existing audience to drive economic opportunities. Whether through brand partnerships, product sales, or event promotion, indie podcasters have the potential to succeed without conforming to traditional metrics.
Looking Ahead: Future Endeavors and Collaborations
Rita has exciting plans for Latina Podcasters. She's organizing events such as Latinas Lead, focusing on amplifying the voices of Latinas in business. In 2024, the network will host the first-ever Latina podcast convention in Mexico City, bringing together podcasters and enthusiasts from across the globe.
Rita's journey from podcast creator to CEO of Latina Podcasters is a testament to her unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion in podcasting, amplifying underrepresented voices and creating tangible opportunities for economic growth. As podcasting continues to evolve, Rita remains at the forefront, advancing a more inclusive and representative industry for all.