EXCLUSIVE: Wilmer Valderrama has expanded his role with My Cultura Podcast Network from iHeartMedia by becoming a shareholder. In addition, Valderrama will help to curate the network’s slate of Latinx-focused podcasts and has committed to 5 new shows that will be executive produced by and/or star him.
According to the company, monthly podcast downloads across My Cultura have more than doubled since the beginning of the year, with 9 in 10 of the network’s total downloads coming from listeners aged 18-49.
“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,” Valderrama tells Deadline in an exclusive statement. “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.”
Valderrama’s relationship with My Cultura began in the Summer of 2021 with the launch of his podcast, Essential Voices with Wilmer Valderrama. The weekly interview series, executive produced by Valderrama and Leo Klemm via his production banner WV Entertainment and Clamor, features conversations with people in the front line of food service, transportation, child-care, and other systems where workers’ voices are often overlooked.
“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.”
“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.”
Other popular podcasts from My Cultura include Connections with Eva Longoria, Princess of South Beach starring Rachel Zegler and Sheryl Rubio, Wrestling with Freddie from Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sisters of the Underground executive produced by Eva Longoria and Dania Ramirez, Chiquis and Chill, and Lone Lobos with Xolo Maridueña and Jacob Bertrand. Listeners can hear all My Cultura shows on iHeartRadio and anywhere podcasts are found.
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