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Next Podcast Network For iHeart Targets LGBTQ Listeners.

After creating podcast verticals for African Americans and Hispanic listeners with Black Effect and My Cultura, respectively, iHeartMedia is launching a new podcast network geared for the LGBTQ community. What is branded the Outspoken Podcast Network will feature a combination of existing podcasts and new shows.

The Outspoken Podcast Network will be executive-produced by LGBTQ activist and media strategist Raquel Willis, alongside Jay Brunson, iHeartMedia’s Creative Development and Marketing Director. As part of Willis’ work with Outspoken, she will be developing two original podcasts for the network. One will shine a light on the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth living in battleground states. The second will feature an extended take on her investigative work as executive editor at “Out” magazine that will expand the narrative on the epidemic of violence against Black trans women. Additionally, dancer and YouTuber JoJo Siwa will join Outspoken as a collaborator on a full slate of upcoming network programming as well as executive producer and host her own podcast.

“With Outspoken, iHeartMedia and a team of brilliant creators are building a space for LGBTQ+ talent and listeners everywhere to celebrate who they are,” said Will Pearson, President of iHeartPodcasts. “It’s exciting to see podcasting becoming a medium where voices of all kinds go to be heard, and the Outspoken network will elevate the impactful culture of the LGBTQ+ community,” he said in the announcement. Pearson and Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group, first dropped the news they were planning an LGBTQ network during the IAB Podcast Upfront last May.

Shows on the Outspoken Podcast Network will cover a wide range of topics, genres, stories and perspectives, according to iHeart. It says shows on the network will include Rosie O’Donnell’s upcoming show Onward, which is set to debut later this month. Former ‘NSync member Lance Bass will host Frosted Tips while Loni Love and Alec Mapa will host Squirrel Friends: The Official Drag Race Podcast.

Programming will also include Like A Virgin with Fran Tirado and Rose Dommu; Pridecast with Jonathan Bennett; NextUp initiative winning podcasts Beauty Translated with Carmen Laurent and BFF: Black, Fat, Femme with Jonathan Higgins and Jordan Daniels; and There Are No Girls on The Internet with Bridget Todd. Celebrity Book Club with Steven & Lily, from comedians Steven Phillips-Horst and Lily Marotta, and Woke AF Daily with Danielle Moodiewill also join Outspoken and be distributed by iHeartPodcasts.

“We’re also honored to have some of the biggest personalities in podcasting joining us as advocates by using their massive platforms with millions of listeners to amplify these creators and help bring a greater diversity of voices into the podcast space,” Pearson said.

Outspoken will also pick up some support from shows outside the network, including Big Money Players creators Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers of the Las Culturistas podcast; and George Civeris and Sam Taggart of StraightioLab as well as Laverne Cox of Shondaland Audio’s The Laverne Cox Show.

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