Last week iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman recommitted to making diversity “a real priority” with a pledge that half of the company’s new podcasts will come from female and diverse creators. That goal took another step forward with the announcement that the popular mental health podcast Therapy for Black Girls will join the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast, which has amassed more than 12 million downloads and has listeners in 196 countries, is among the most popular among Black women.
Hosted by licensed psychologist Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, iHeart says the weekly podcast explores topics that help Black women prioritize their mental health, tap into invaluable resources and break down the many stigmas related to mental health. Bradford is often joined by expert guests to talk about topics such as dealing with grief, managing anxiety, and making friends as an adult. The podcast also shows its lighter side with discussions about TV shows and film.
“I am excited about the growth that will come from our partnership with the iHeartPodcast Network,” said Bradford. “I want it to reach as many Black women as possible. My goal for Therapy for Black Girls has always been to use it as a platform to have important conversations not only about mental illness, but also about mental wellness. It is critical to me that mental health content be shared in a way that is relevant and accessible to the community it is intended to serve. I think this is why the podcast has been so successful; our community really sees themselves in the content.”
Bradford started the Therapy for Black Girls platform in 2014. The platform now includes the weekly podcast, a directory of over 2,400 therapists in the U.S. and Canada, and an active community of over 600,000 women across social media platforms.
In March iHeartMedia announced a companywide effort to expand its diversity efforts, including the pledge to bring more podcasts from women and people of color into its fold. There are also several radio initiatives, most notably the launch of the Black Information Network on dozens of radio stations around the country. On a conference call with analysts last week, Pittman said that iHeart now requires consideration of diversity candidates for all the company’s major hiring and promotion decisions. “Serving our communities is more than a platitude. It's at the heart of our product strategy,” he said.