An Open Letter to the Audio Industry: Time to Turn Words into Action
Dear Audio Industry Leaders,
As an Indie podcaster, community leader and festival organiser, I am writing to address an issue that has become increasingly apparent and unacceptable: the persistent lack of support for marginalised creators in the audio industry. It is time for the audio industry to confront the glaring disparities and take meaningful action to address the systemic barriers holding back so many talented individuals.
In acknowledging the initial steps taken by the audio industry, we recognise the pledges and programmes to promote diversity and inclusion. However, the journey towards actual change requires more than token one-off gestures—it requires substantial action and investment.
We, the community leaders, have tirelessly rallied, mentored, and ushered in emerging, underrepresented voices, proving that our role extends beyond ticking a box. The diverse and niche audiences we cultivate aren’t just crucial for optics; they are instrumental in driving the industry’s overall growth and widening the scope for increased ad revenue.
Many other organisers and creators from underrepresented backgrounds are facing shared struggles. Despite the audio industry’s public commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are repeatedly told that there’s no funding available to support initiatives run by those communities which directly help underrepresented creators get a foothold in this industry. How does a sector seeing continued growth in advertising revenue openly and honestly say there’s no funding for events or activities explicitly targeting underrepresented groups, be they Black, disabled, women or LGBTQIA+? How is only $100,000 pledged to support African podcasters from one of the biggest audio companies in the world but millions spent on acquiring one creator? We’ve counted at least three organisations publically pledge £/$100M to create equity. This inconsistency between words and actions is discouraging at best, harmful as a standard, and perpetuates a culture of exclusion and tokenism at worst. It’s gatekeeping in its finest form.
The audio industry benefits and profits from the diverse talents we nurture, often without acknowledging the groups they rely upon to reach this untapped potential. It’s time to transform these pledges into action—into meaningful partnerships and investments in the ecosystem that genuinely support the diverse talents driving our industry forward. Let’s value these voices for what they indeed are—not just diverse but essential contributors to the richness and growth of our shared audio landscape.
By failing to invest in these communities, the industry denies them the chance to thrive. It perpetuates a monolithic culture that stifles creativity and innovation and creates yet another generation in the creative industry where it’s more important who you know than your ideas or work ethic.
With this open letter, I am calling for an honest and critical examination of the industry’s funding practices. It is not enough to merely voice support for diversity; the sector must take tangible steps to ensure that resources are equally distributed and opportunities are accessible to all.
Here are the key actions we demand:
- Transparency: Disclose funding allocation data disaggregated by race, gender, and other marginalised identities. This information will allow us to understand the extent of the disparities and track progress in addressing them.
- Accountability: Establish clear goals and timelines for increased funding and support for marginalised creators. Make these goals public, and report progress, challenges, and successes regularly.
- Investment: Allocate a significant percentage of funding for initiatives led by BIPOC, women, gender diverse, and other marginalised creators. This commitment should extend beyond one-time grants and include ongoing production support, promotion, commissions, and favourable advertising terms that sustain the creator’s activity.
- Partnership: Collaborate with grassroots organisers, podcasters, and creators from underrepresented backgrounds to develop and implement strategies that address their needs and promote success.
- Education: Provide training and resources for industry professionals to understand better systemic racism, misogyny, and other forms of discrimination and to actively work towards dismantling these barriers.
This is not a plea for sympathy or demand for charity. We ask you to level up the audio industry as we know it and make a genuine, long-lasting commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The time for lip service and token gestures has passed. Now is the time for the audio industry to take a stand, invest in marginalised creators, and prove your words are backed by meaningful action.
Imriel Morgan (Lead Author) – Founder and CEO, Content is Queen
Laura Blake (Editor)- Owner – UK Audio Network
Renay Richardson- Founder of Broccoli Productions
Sarah Myles- Podcast Producer, Founder of Rise & Shine
Jessica Kupferman- CEO, She Podcasts
Helen Zaltzman- Podcaster
Jaja Muhammad- Podcast Producer
Ella Watts – Podcast Producer and Director, Doctor Who: Redacted and Six to Start
Jason Phipps- Head of Development, Chalk and Blade
Ruth Barnes- Co-Founder Chalk & Blade
Melissa Mbugua- Co-Director Africa Podcast Festival
Thomas Curry- Head of Podcasts, Vespucci
Hana Walker-Brown- Creative Director, Broccoli Productions
Axel Kacoutié- Audio Artist
Elsie Escobar- Co-Founder, She Podcasts
Francesca Turauskis, Digital Editor at Pod Bible, Founder of Tremula Network
Tash Walker – Co-Founder Aunt Nell
Shivani Dave – Co-Founder Aunt Nell
Adam Zmith – Co-Founder Aunt Nell
Laura Grimshaw- Freelance Audio Producer
Suze Cooper – Audio Producer
Naomi Mellor, Co-Founder Everybody Media and the International Women’s Podcast Awards
Christina Moore- Founder, Don’t Skip
Arlie Adlington – Freelance audio producer, sound designer and mix engineer
Lisa Hack- Audio producer & educator Co-founder and organiser Multitrack
Bea Duncan- Senior producer, Broccoli Productions
Steph Colbourn- Founder editaudio
If you support this message, we encourage you to spread the word using #SayLessDoMore. You can find a folder with our image and suggested social post ideas here.