NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--iHeartMedia, the No. 1 podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, together with My Cultura, the company’s podcast network dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and stories, announced today that actor, producer, entrepreneur and activist Wilmer Valderrama (NCIS, Encanto, That 70’s Show) has expanded his role with My Cultura to become a shareholder. In addition, Valderrama will help to curate the network's slate of Latinx-focused podcasts and has committed to five new shows that will be executive produced by and/or star him. The news comes as the network celebrates an impressive first year, with monthly podcast downloads across My Cultura shows more than doubling since the beginning of this year. The network’s dedication to inclusive content has garnered a large audience of both Gen Z and Millennials with 9 in 10 of the network’s total downloads coming from listeners aged 18-49. The network has also circulated funds back into Latinx communities with donations to various organizations totaling over $400k in this first year.
“Representation shapes not just how others see us, but also how we see ourselves. It is imperative that every facet of our media includes narratives that uplift Latino and Hispanic voices. At WV Entertainment it is our mission to not just choose purposeful projects that accurately represent the stories of the Latinx community, but to also make sure these stories are accessible to everyone. We are so grateful to our partners at iHeartMedia for seeing the value in this and prioritizing the need to highlight the joy, the power, and the heart of our community in ways that are still all too rare,” said Valderrama.
“We are excited to have Wilmer on board in an even larger, expanded capacity as a shareholder in iHeart’s My Cultura Podcast Network,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia’s Digital Audio Group. “His energy, experience and creativity will set this network up for even further success in year two and beyond.”
Valderrama began his relationship with My Cultura in Summer 2021 when he launched his podcast “Essential Voices with Wilmer Valderrama.” Executive produced by Valderrama and Leo Klemm via his production banner WV Entertainment and Clamor, the weekly series features intimate conversations and interviews with people on the frontlines of food service, transportation, child-care and other systems where workers’ voices are often overlooked.
“We’re incredibly proud of the rapid growth our network has seen in its first year,” said Gisselle Bances, SVP, Head of Production and Development for iHeartMedia’s My Cultura. “We are the first majority Latinx-owned podcast network, and we are grateful to our partners and our diverse roster of hosts, including Wilmer, who continue to further My Cultura’s mission to tell our own stories. It’s stories by us for everyone to enjoy.”
The My Cultura Podcast Network was announced in May 2021 in partnership with Enrique Santos, iHeartMedia’s top-rated on-air personality and President and Chief Creative Officer of iHeartLatino. It is home to hit podcasts including “Connections with Eva Longoria,” “Princess of South Beach'' starring Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) and Sheryl Rubio (Casa de las Flores), “Wrestling with Freddie” with Freddie Prinze, Jr., “Sisters of the Underground” executive produced by Eva Longoria and Dania Ramirez, “Chiquis and Chill,” “Lone Lobos with Xolo Maridueña and Jacob Bertrand,” “Escuela Secreta,” “Enrique Santos Podcast” and many more. Listeners can hear all My Cultura shows on iHeartRadio and anywhere podcasts are found.
iHeartMedia, Inc. [Nasdaq: IHRT] is the leading audio media company in America, reaching over 90% of Americans every month. iHeart’s broadcast radio assets alone have more consumer reach in the U.S. than any other media outlet; twice the reach of the next largest broadcast radio company; and over four times the ad-enabled reach of the largest digital only audio service. iHeart is the largest podcast publisher according to Podtrac, with more downloads than the next four podcast publishers combined, and has the number one social footprint among audio players, with seven times more followers than the next audio media brand, and the only fully integrated audio ad tech solution across broadcast, streaming and podcasts. The company continues to leverage its strong audience connection and unparalleled consumer reach to build new platforms, products and services. Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.
About Wilmer Valderrama:
Actor, producer, entrepreneur and activist Wilmer Valderrama is beloved for his role as exchange student ‘Fez’ on the Emmy-nominated series That 70s Show. He currently stars in the #1 TV drama NCIS on CBS, and recently announced he is developing a live-action “Zorro” series at Disney Branded Television in which he will star and executive produce. On the big screen, he most recently lent his voice to the hit Academy Award-winning Disney animated film Encanto. Outside of acting and producing via his WV Entertainment banner, Valderrama is a passionate activist who lends his voice to organizations including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), Voto Latino, the USO as their Global Ambassador, and HARNESS, which he co-founded with America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams. He also recently partnered with John Pollack to launch Allied Management Group, which focuses on partnering with, collaborating, and representing new and existing Latino voices across traditional and digital media.