Wilmer Valderrama expands role in iHeartMedia's My Cultura Podcast Network to become shareholder on the heels of the network's one-year anniversary
My Cultura will also continue to expand its impressive slate of successful podcasts that elevate Latinx voices and stories to include five new shows executive produced by Valderrama
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.