Charlamagne Tha God has been doing his own podcast for a few years now and awhile ago he wondered why there were no podcast networks.
When that started happening, he had another question.
“I thought ‘Why can’t we do that with a Black podcast network,’” the popular radio host recalled to CNN in a recent interview.
So, Charlamagne Tha God came up with one.
He has partnered with iHeartMedia to launch The Black Effect Podcast Network, with the goal of “bringing together the most influential voices in black culture for stimulating conversations around social justice, pop culture, sports, mental health, news, comedy and more.”
The replay podcast of his popular and nationally syndicated New York City radio show, “The Breakfast Club,” will serve as the network’s flagship podcast.
The slate of 18 announced will include podcasts featuring comedian and actress Jess Hilarious, social justice activist Tamika Mallory, and attorney Eboni K. Williams.
Charlamagne Tha God has become one of the go-to interviewers for those looking to get their message out to Black America.
Known as the most outspoken co-host on “The Breakfast Club,” he’s posed tough questions to everyone from Kanye West to Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
He has curated the network’s lineup of podcasts and many will be hosted by women.
Charlamagne Tha God said he’s “always been surrounded by nothing but Black women, personally and professionally” and set out to amplify their voices.
“It’s just about being intentional, like actually being intentional with the voices that we choose to put on various platforms and just being intentional about empowering the voices that need to be heard,” he said. “Shut up, get out of the way and let Black women lead and that I truly believe they’ll take us to the promised land.”
His goal is that the podcast network be like what BET was to cable television in the 1990s with “hopeful, raw, unapologetic, diverse Black content and a place you can come to be educated, enlightened, and entertained.”
No one understands that vision more than Bob Pittman, chairman and chief executive officer of iHeartMedia.
Pittman is a media veteran whose resume includes helping to launch MTV where he served as CEO.
Both he and Charlamagne Tha God said the podcast network was in the works well before the racial reckoning currently happening, though they say launching it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“What, we’ve all been hit in the face with in the past few months I think had had a very important and profound impact,” Pittman said. “I think everyone who cares about society and cares about our neighbors and our fellow humans was looking for what can I do to contribute? And although this was certainly on the path for us, we all feel really good about it as a company.”
Pittman said the planned content for the network in many ways transcends race and notes that many of their hip hop stations have an audience which is 20 to 25 percent White.
That demographic needs the Black Effect Network as well, he believes.
“You can provide a bridge to understanding,” Pittman said. “Some place that people who want to understand what’s going on and want to participate in the Black culture, that they’ve got a good source for it and a really robust source for that kind of information, that kind of interaction.”
Providing an alternative to the cultural blind spots that some people may have is imperative, Charlamagne Tha God said.
“[The network] will help people see and realize that Black people aren’t monolithic,” he added. “We have so many different interests.”