Reaching Diverse Audiences in Audio

Research shows that podcast listenership is increasingly diverse. Last year, Insider Intelligence reported that podcast listener diversity nearly matches the diversity of the US population. But while audiences are diverse, some communities are underserved.

According to a report by Edison Research and Sounds Profitable, half of all podcast hosts in the US are white. Furthermore, a 2020 study from Spotify Sound Up found that Black, Asian and Minority Ethic women or non-binary people host less than 5% of the UK’s top 100 podcasts. Pretty bleak. 

As we continuously witness the lack of diversity in audio and how minority audiences are often overlooked, we want to highlight the importance of reaching and engaging with diverse listeners. So, in this article, we’re sharing our thoughts on reaching diverse audiences through podcasting. 

Reaching and engaging a diverse audience through audio

Commit to inclusivity 

First and foremost, to reach diverse audiences, you must genuinely commit to inclusivity. Without doing so, you could unknowingly be excluding listeners. From ensuring your content is accessible to using inclusive language and imagery, you can make plenty of minor adjustments that have a significant impact. 

Understand your target audience

It’s essential that you clearly define and understand the audience you want to target. It’s useless to claim you want to reach ‘diverse’ listeners as a box-ticking exercise. So, think about who you want to reach and why. It’s essential to be specific to take the necessary steps to speak directly to that audience. 

Commission diverse voices 

There is a continuous gap in the market for podcasts to target more diverse audiences, which calls for more audio representation. 

When events like International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and LGBTQ+ History Month roll around each year, we see brands and publications capitalise on the opportunity to portray themselves as inclusive & diverse. But how many of those are putting their money where their mouth is? 

Amplifying diverse voices for one month of the year isn’t enough. To genuinely appeal to diverse listeners, the industry must support diverse creators all year round. 

Make long-term investments

 This leads us to our next point, long-term investments are essential. In an interview with PodPod, Shelina Janmohamed, host of The Shelina Show & advertising executive for Ogilivy, explained, “I think, unfortunately, one of the traps of diversity is that once you’ve commissioned it, a brand thinks that they’ve been there and done that,” said Janmohamed. “But actually, it can’t be a one-off investment. It has to be something that they invest into building over time so that voice becomes embedded in the community but can also become more widely listened to.”

Exploiting creators to capitalise on a celebration or trending movement is not diversity & inclusion. 

Engage with diverse creators & organisations championing diversity

As the results of the UKAN State of the Audio Industry Survey 2023 and our Open Letter to the Audio Industry show, there is still a long way to go in terms of DE&I, but we can all commit to learning, doing better and turning promises into meaningful action. 

So whether you’re an audio creator, commissioner, producer, distributor or brand trying to reach new audiences through podcasting, this point applies to everyone. Take the time to build meaningful connections with diverse creators and engage with organisations that champion underrepresented voices and open the door for collaborations that align to make the audio space more inclusive.

Content is Queen is committed to diversity, equity & inclusion in audio and will continue to fight for this through our work and as the new co-stewards of Phase Two of the Equality In Audio Pact with UKAN. Help us amplify these efforts by signing the pact if you’re a decision-maker or following and sharing our messages on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Partnership: Collaborate with grassroots organisers, podcasters, and creators from underrepresented backgrounds to develop and implement strategies that address their needs and promote success.
  5. 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.