Welcome to Be Your Change – The Podcast. I’m Juliette Roy, a French woman by birth and citizen of the world at heart. I am coming to you from Los Angeles to introduce you to some of the amazing women I’ve met on my journey who are taking action towards a more equitable and sustainable world. One episode at a time.
So far, I’ve talked to women about reducing plastic use, eco-friendly fashion, youth activism, social justice… you got it some amazing women leading the way. But this next interview hits really close to home. Because we will be talking about the podcasting industry, which of course we, at Be Your Change, are passionate about. And more specifically, about women in the podcast industry. Which, of course, we are.
Commercial – Be your change is taking its mission in a more literal sense. We are excited to share with you that we are putting together the first-ever ( I know right ( women podcasting retreat with journalist and storyteller Ruxandra Guidi we are going to learn how to put actions into words. Let us help you tell your story. Are you ready? You can find out more at beyourchange.co/retreats
And guess what? Podcasting is a fast-growing industry, expected to generate over ONE-BILLION-DOLLARS in ads revenue within the next two years in the U.S. But it’s a sector where women, again, tend to be overshadowed by men. The good news is, maybe not for long, thanks to the work done by companies like Simple Cast, a podcasting platform led by Jeanine Wright. She has invited us in their podcasting studio.
Juliette Roy: So Jeanine, can you tell us more about yourself?
Jeanine Wright Sure. My name is Jeanine Wright and professionally I am the chief operating officer and chief legal officer at Simple cast. Simplecast is a podcasting technologies company. We um, are kind of the home for somebody who wants to release their audio out into the world. So once you make an audio file, you come to Simple cast and we help you with one click distribution to everywhere you want to be. and then we have a number of growth tools to help you find and connect with your audience. we have, really industry-leading analytics to tell you, how your listeners are engaging with your content and we think that that really empowers the creator in two ways. One, it helps you make better content and better connect with your audience. And two, it helps you when you want to start, if you want to start monetizing
Juliette Roy narration
Simplecast got their IAB certification which is kind of a big deal in the podcasting industry. It certifies advertisers that the size of the podcaster audience is real and not inflated…
Juliette Roy: You know, there are lots of podcasting platforms out there, like the field is very crowded and I think it’s very overwhelming for people who are starting their own podcast.
The different podcast technology platforms
Jeanine Wright: Yeah, I think basically there are three buckets of the podcasting technology companies that are like us. Um, there’s the folks that are just specializing in the very, very large shows. Um, and many of them are essentially taking over the show’s infrastructure so that they can, represent them in ad sales and, and best monetize those podcasts. so it’s kind of a, uh, you finish your audio file, you hand it over to them and they go out and sell it much in the same way that like television programs used to be made. and then there’s the other end of the spectrum that’s like the platforms that are really made for people who are just kind of playing around with audio and most of those platforms you’re seeing or are offering, you know, free hosting and maybe they have some like fun little creator tools that you can play around with but not really a good long term solution for somebody who is interested in, in being serious about their podcasting and who wants to make sure that they continue to have all of the rights to, to their podcasts. So SimpleCast fills that gap in the middle. we’re available for independent creators, so anybody who wants to come in and start their podcast and is serious about their podcasts would come to Simplecast. We have very low introductory prices and then we have a tiered, as you grow, you can continue to grow with the platform. And then all the way on the other end, we have tons of the major shows that you know and love who are continuing to want to podcast on their own. So, for example, Dax Shepard is on the platform, you know, Nike, Tech crunch, Harvard, MIT, um, One password, Kickstarter, Medium. And, and we’re really excited about a quickly growing segment of podcasts, which is the branded podcasts. So a lot of companies are trying to find out how they can authentically connect with their audiences through audio. So we have the Target podcast, the Facebook podcasts, Twitter, Virgin. So Harper’s bazar, you know, the Barneys podcasts are really fantastic podcasts. So fun things that brands are doing with audio to provide value to their fans and customers.
Juliette Roy: How long ago have you guys been around?
What Makes Simplecast Different
Jeanine Wright: Simplecast has been around for about four years. In the very beginning, the early days, uh, simplecast was created by a single developer in an, in an apartment. eventually, he decided that, that he wanted to move on from the project. And that’s when my founder and CEO, Brad Smith, uh, this was a few years ago, decided that podcasting was going to be a thing. Like he could see it coming. and he liked the name Simple cast and he liked, the premise behind the platform of being very accessible to new creators to kind of taking out all of that stuff behind the scenes that like geeky stuff that, that kind of reserved podcasting for, the tech folks. And that this was the transition to making podcasting accessible to anybody who wanted to be a creator and that you didn’t need to know code and you didn’t even tell understand RSS or the infrastructure, anything that we would do all of that for you.
And so you could just go to one place and it is super easy for you to take your audio file and get it out into the world and know what you needed to know about it. So Brad bought the company about two and a half years ago and since then has just continued to iterate and improve upon the product. So we’re really excited about this proprietary technology that we’ve invented around analytics so that we can track listeners, what, how they’re engaging with our web players. What speed they’re listening at and where they’re stopping and starting. Are they skipping your intro? Are they skipping your ads? We can tell if somebody is listening in a Tesla or if somebody listening in an airplane, we can tell we can make great, um, assumptions about whether somebody is listening at work or that they’re listening at home or they’re listening on their commute. […]
Juliette Roy: I’m just having so many conversation people, women, many women like coming to me, I want to start my podcast. So this is where I am with my podcast and we are talking how it’s just, it’s still a very scattered to go through the process.
Women and podcasting
Juliette Roy narration: I asked Jeanine what was the main discovery she made by collecting all this data”.
Jeanine Wright: Yeah, yeah, definitely. A topic that I’m really interested in is, um, you know, this is, is really kind of a brand new medium and we have this beautiful opportunity with this brand new medium not to have the same thing happen that has happened in every other medium where the voice of that medium is dominated by basically white men. Right? And so here we have this, this blank slate for us to make sure that we have the voices that we hear in podcasting, reflective of the listeners who are listening to podcasts.
Juliette Roy: Another large podcasting platform, Libsyn with a woman CEO, announced a couple of weeks ago that 50% of the shows created in Q2 are women hosted, it is an exciting news but if you look at the top 200 Apple Podcast Charts in the US, women only represent still 10% based on the latest stats I was able to find.
Jeanine Wright: And, and I think you need to be proactive in encouraging diverse voices. I’m really trying to find ways to connect with people who are, um, not just voices of people who are podcasters of color or women, but also the people who are leading the way to teach others, um, to find their voice. And some of the things that we’re finding are that, um, that women in podcasts of color, um, tend to shop differently than, um, than men do. So for example, it seems like the buying cycle for women in selecting a company like ours is longer.
How women ask or don’t ask for support in their podcast
And some of the kind of preliminary assumptions are that, you know, either woman are more thoughtful in their approach. Like women are more likely to record a number of episodes before they decide to launch where, you know, maybe men are more likely to just record something and throw it up there and see what happens. Um, or women are more likely to spend more time thinking about whether they quote-unquote «really have something to say». There tends to be more anxiousness around whether. Um, they’re going to be able to connect with an audience or find an audience. There tends to be more anxiousness about self-promotion. Like how do I tell everybody to listen to this without sounding like I’m bragging about myself? Right? So I think there’s some interesting work that needs to be done around, what does the approach look like even to podcasting?
And then once women, in particular, are podcasting, much of this is anecdotal for now and we’re working on the analytics to back it up,um but what we see typically is that for example, when women are doing, um, a call for support, like, uh, they tend to put the call for support at the end of the podcast instead of at the beginning or at the middle. and the end of the podcast is when you’re least likely to have listeners, right? So people tend to fade off through the end of the podcast. Um, when women do make an ask for support, instead of being an ask, like. this is something that’s really valuable to you and you’re listening to this and enjoying this, and it costs money to make this.
Jeanine Wright: So if you could, you know, please contribute instead. women tend to frame their asks as, um, if you like me or if you like this show, please give me, um, please donate on Patreon. Right. Or whatever it is. which tends to be, it’s just a different kind of ask. Right.
Commercial: Hey !Since we are talking about encouraging listeners… If you like what you’re hearing, and want to help us bring you more stories of women shaping a better world, well, it’s easy! At Be Your Change, we accept everything from cheque, Amazon cards, gold, diamonds and bitcoins.. or it might be easier to become a monthly supporter through Patreon. Visit www.beyourchange.co/patreon to learn more. And now, back to our program
Juliette Roy: I asked Jeanine how did she come to the discovery that women and men have different ways of putting their voice out there ?”
Jeanine Wright: I think the first thing that sparked it for me was the ask and the placement of the ask for support. And, um, even a lot of really, um, confident women who had been podcasting for a long time. I just started noticing that, uh, that there, they either didn’t make an ask or they put the ask at the end of the podcast. And so then that just sparked that thing in me where I was like, is this, is this really a thing or is this just something anecdotal that I’m noticing and or, or are these just outliers?
And I’m spending a lot of my time in a lot of these online forums and noticing, um, how the questions are different or the approach is different., I’ve seen women and people of color are posting in, the more the broader,, podcasts or community Facebook groups, seeing them hedge in the way that they ask beginner questions like that, there they seem more anxious about figuring out the process. and so then I just started taking note of all these little things and then started making a list of the things that I found curious. I wanted to look into to see whether these things that I was noticing were actually reflected in the data and if we could tell that. […]
Juliette Roy: Well, I’m very glad to hear like you there and doing that because if that’s my experience to podcasting it’s just like a big family when that woman needs support, but when they do is just very exciting.
Jeanine Wright: Yeah, I think so too. Missing
Juliette Roy: so, and then to continue on this topic of women. Um, so from all my professional years in the music industry and later in the podcasting industry have to admit that I’ve almost never met Ceo or a COO or a founder of tech music or radio platform. I think I can count them on, I was thinking two hands, but probably my one hand. How do you explain this?
How Jeanine Wright Impacted The Work Culture Of a Male-Dominated Tech Company
Jeanine Wright: I don’t know how we ended up here. I definitely feel like the overwhelming majority of the time I’m the only woman in the room. I think in tech in particular, tech tends to be more male. You know, my first company, after working at a law firm, I was doing entertainment and media law at a law firm for a number of years. And then I was lucky enough to get the job as a general counsel at a Tech Company in Culver city called Media Temple. A really fantastic company. And the leadership, they’re very, supportive of, of wanting to find more diversity in tech. very difficult for them because, they were hardcore internet infrastructure, so not just regular tech, but Internet infrastructure tech. So I think when I joined the company, we had 120 employees and we had 17 women.
And it was interesting to have gone from a law firm where, you know, maybe it was flip-flopped in the management dynamics where the overwhelming majority of the partners were men. but there were plenty of women around. and, and certainly, you know, the overwhelming majority of the support staff were women. but then to go into a company where you could definitely feel that it was a more male company, you know, it had a more masculine type. And I’m pretty sure that I was the first employee to be pregnant at media temple. Yeah. And especially an executive to be pregnant. and we were in the process of selling a media temple to go daddy at the time, which had been nine, 10-month process.
and I ended up having my second son, um, towards the end of the sales transaction with Godaddy. and it was hard because we were in the really the thick of it in negotiating that deal. And I had been the lead negotiator on the deal. I was doing all the legal docs, we were working with outside counsel, but I was the one who had really been leading that part of the process. And so, you know, I had a baby and I was back on phone calls, you know, four or five days later. and then the next week I just realized that there was no way that it was going to work for me to stay at home. with my son, Evan. And so, you know, I did what I needed to do and I found a woman in my neighborhood and I hired her to come into the office with me and I set up my office like a nursery.
I mean, I had a swing and a crib and, and so I just brought Evan to work with me and I wore him on my chest most of the day and I breastfed and the office and he took naps and I took naps. We took naps together in the office. You know, we just, we did what we needed to do in order to make it work so that I could, um, carry media temple through the rest of the Godaddy transaction. And, and it was kind of that I maybe it was almost like the rip the bandaid that the organization needed because as soon as I came there with this baby, I mean, they just decided to make that hard shift. You know, they got him media temple onesies and you know, it became almost like this, a really loving child-friendly, a women-friendly culture. […]
Juliette Roy: That’s pretty amazing, it’s the first time I’m hearing this type of story.
So we just talked to, you know, that the lack of women as the CEO in a technical space and that I am under the impression that this slightly more, or maybe add the head of a media network.
Jeanine Wright: It, so we’re definitely seeing the rise of women podcast networks, which is fantastic. The one thing that I think that, um, anecdotally, um, that women struggle with this when they’re getting ready to monetize, um, and they start talking to advertisers. I think that what we’re hearing is that a lot of times the feedback is, well, is your show general audience or is your show catered towards women? Or is yours, because you’re a Latina woman, is your show catered towards Latino women? And so then they look at their marketing or advertising budget for targeting Latina women instead of targeting people in general. and so they’re feeling like, you know, the pot from which they’re pulling is much smaller because they’re being like artificially categorized into these niche spaces. and I think, I think that’s an interesting,, issue that we need to figure out how to solve two from the advertiser’s perspective.
And you know, I think the default is that, um, that, oh, if it’s a woman host or if it’s women related issues, then it’s a women’s audience. And I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. So, uh, I think we need to find a better way through, through data and through conversations with the advertising industry, um, about when you really are targeting a niche audience and when maybe you’re making false assumptions about what an audience looks like because you think that, that women only listened to women or that Latina women only listen to Latina women. You know, those kinds of assumptions that I think people come to the table with sometimes.
[…] I think we’re starting to see more women, women’s voices, especially in media companies and, and especially with the women networks that people are starting to create. So I’m excited to see that.
The Increase Of Women-Led Podcasting Companies
Juliette narration: The boom of the podcasting industry is definitely bringing a lot more women to the audio field, perhaps because they have figured out that having a podcast, is a way of marketing yourself, but what still strikes me is many women-led podcast companies are on the production side of podcasting, women are great producers, companies like Pineapple media are, and also seeing more women-led companies in advertising with Ossa network and Lipstick and Vynil as well as women network, e.g Wonder media.
So point here is we need more women-led companies in audio software, device hardware, and listening platforms. Almost no women have created one. I can think of many reasons why. but as everyone knows VC funding towards for women represents roughly 2% of VCs money. Building a tech platform requires capital and we need to increase investment in women to get the next Spotify started by a woman. I can not wait to see a woman developing the next Spotify or alike platform. In real life, it means investment, this is a good segway in the next bit of conversation with Jeanine. Luckily, the women podcasting community is becoming highly organized thanks to the hard work of many groups such as the well-known She Podcast, an incredible success story that started with a Facebook group and two podcast passionate girls Elsie Escobar and Jessica Kupferman and now to a conference in October in Atlanta, which of course we are going! So girls, we are ready to take the podcast industry by storm.
We are seeing a new podcast networks starting by women e.g Wonder Media entering the market, but also advertising companies incl Ossa or Lypstick and vynils and Glow. The community is getting organized and many groups have emerged with the now well-known She Podcast, an incredible success story that started with a Facebook group and two podcast passionate girls Elsie Escobar and Jessica Kupferman and now to a conference in October in Atlanta, which of course we are going! So girls, we are ready to take the podcast industry by storm.
The unique barriers to entry to entrepreneurship for women
Jeanine Wright: I guess that kind of an interesting transition into some of the investing that I’ve been doing. Um, so after the media to say Media Temple sale, I was lucky enough to make a little bit of money in that transaction and you know, sat down and looked at my portfolio and work, how can we diversify, um, and having our very safe investments in our 401k et cetera. and so I have, a few years ago I started just becoming really involved in, in particular, the LA Startup scene. I started becoming involved in, um, in women’s start-up organizations. Um, and then just in general, just started having some conversations with people about how this was something that I was interested in and that I was interested in investing in young companies and finding good opportunities to work with entrepreneurs that we’re working on something exciting. […]
[…] The overwhelming of entrepreneurs out there are men. and some of that I have some theories about you know, women statistically are more likely to have more student loan debt.
They’re more likely to have, um, more family obligations, both, um, the generation below them. They’re more likely to have children, but they’re also more likely to have, um, obligations to the generation above them. Um, they’re, uh, they’re less likely to make money as much money in the job that they’re at. They’re less likely to have an inheritance. They’re less likely to have as much in their 401k. Um, you know, so all of these things go into that risk factor calculation that I think you have to make when you’re an entrepreneur as to whether you’re going to like put everything on the line to make this work. And I think that the bottom line is that for most women it is a lot riskier for them to take that leap into starting a business. Um, and I think that there is a big disconnect between, um, the risk that women are taking when they start a company and what the expectation is from the investor community in particular. […]
Juliette Roy: That’s very interesting you said that. I mean, first of all, be careful what you wish for because you’re going to have lots of people coming, lots of women coming in knock at your door and probably going to be the first one. […] but also looking, we think really about the lack of network because I feel when you have the right people, when you can ask the right questions to the right people, you go three times faster. […] So I think also like getting more women at the table as investors, as a VCs to start their own VCs. It’s just about getting a more broader mix in, in all these decisions. I think we’ll have a very big impact and hopefully get more women up.
Juliette Roy Narration: We ended up talking a lot more with Jeanine. About the tremendous importance of having a support network, like an encouraging family, or a husband that is as much a rock as a partner. About giving back to the community. About being lucky, sometimes, but above all, about working hard to achieve your goals. And Jeanine didn’t want to end the conversation without offering some advice:
Jeanine Wright: I think some people get overwhelmed by the prospect of needing to do something big and grandiose. Like, I need to make a difference and I need to feel like I make this difference. And I would just say like, um, slow and steady wins the race, you know, like just find your things, something that resonates with you, find some of these small and do it on a regular basis and make it part of your life. And it’s hard at first. And then you get used to the cadence and then you’ll find that you’re driving so much more energy and joy from it than the effort that it takes to put into it.
Juliette narration: I thought Jeanine advice was spotted on. How can we have an impact on the world? I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the concept of impact. I am struggling with the concept of growth at any cost. I just came to the conclusion that really the only impact we should have would be to leave the planet in a better state than we found it. It should be our primary goal because we can fix anything else, but we can not survive without another planet, at least not now.
We hope you enjoy this episode, and we would love to hear from YOU. Tell us which women are inspiring you and why? And Which podcasts you are listening to that are covering some of these topics. We would love to bring more of your voices in this podcast. You can send me an email at juliette[at]beyourchange.co, or a message on Instagram at beyourchangepodcast . We love audio if you want to send us an audio review of the show via email, just use your recording app on your voice, we will feature it on this podcast!
In our next episode, we’ll take you on a musical journey. We’ll speak with Lubiana, a singer-songwriter who traveled back from Belgium to Cameroon to find her roots in the African griot culture.
If you are interested in developing your podcast, join us for the first retreat for women podcasters or aspiring podcasters in Arizona. It is going to be quite a unique experience!
You can find us on Instagram at Beyourchangepodcast. At Be Your Change, we use good audio gears, we travel, we have a producer and a sound engineer and sometimes an editor… we love recording studio and would like to rent one for each episode, It is time-consuming. So just send us your token of support! We will greatly appreciate it!
We accept everything from cheque, Amazon cards, gold, diamonds, money order, credit card, bitcoins, or investment but it might be easier to become a monthly supporter through Patreon. To learn more go to www.beyourchange.co/patreon
Our Executive Producer and host for the show is Juliette Roy
Our Producer: Barbara Gorrand
Our Voice Over: Mia Roy and Noam Gad Weiser.
You can find us on Instagram at Beyourchangepodcast
A big thanks to Y LA Bamba for the use of their Music by Y La Bamba