Familiar favorite podcasts’ ads might start to sound a little different, as more audio shows take on the latest form of digital reproductive rights activism.
The new PodVoices.help campaign is making its way through the podcast universe and encouraging the vast community of podcast professionals around the country to offer up their on-air advertising spots with messages about the overturning of Roe v. Wade and abortion support resources.
Arielle Nissenblatt is an NYC-based podcast professional, founder of EarBuds (a podcast collective and newsletter), and a community manager at SquadCast.fm (a Cloud-based recording studio for audio and video). She also started, through the wisdom of fellow industry professionals and the collective hive mind of Twitter, the PodVoices initiative.
“When I read the news that Roe had been overturned, I was at VidCon in Anaheim and definitely felt weird about going on about my day as usual,” Nissenblatt wrote in a message to Mashable. “I pondered to myself about how we (the podcast industry) could respond. How could we use our platform to reach people who might need more information, who might need to hear a unified message, and who are probably feeling defeated?”
Nissenblatt, of course, took to social media. “From there, I worked with at least 25 people on refining language that could be used by podcasters all over the world to voice our opposition to the decision,” she said. The coalition of podcast professionals then created and shared a guide to host-read podcast ads discussing the Roe v. Wade decision, intended to accommodate a variety of shows, compiled in the form of a 9-page Google Doc.
How to help abortion funds and reproductive justice networks
The document covers general guidelines for podcasters (including ways to incorporate these ads into episodes and how to use gender-neutral language), scripts for 30-, 60-, and 90-second pre-roll and post-roll ads for both U.S. and international audiences, and copy-and-paste abortion and reproductive health resources to include in show notes.
Those podcast ad scripts and guidelines were also added to an official PodVoices website for listeners and podcast hosts alike, which is linked at the end of the advertising spots. The goal is to offer straight-forward call-to-action statements that can be easily integrated into any new, or previously-aired, shows, the campaign explains.
For example, many shows have already elected to include this 30-second pre-roll ad script to the beginning of their episodes:
Hi, listeners. Before we/I get to the episode, we/I want to take a moment to address the June 24th Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe versus Wade. This decision stripped away the legal right to have a safe and legal abortion.
Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health and independence of all Americans. This decision could also lead to the loss of other rights.
To learn more about what you can do to help, go to podvoices dot help. We/I encourage you to speak up, take care, and spread the word.
In addition to podcast-specific assistance, the site itself also guides visitors to a helpful list of abortion advocacy links, for both domestic and international podcast listeners looking to get involved in the post-Roe fight.
As the campaign grows, it will hopefully encourage the podcast industry as a whole to take a stand for reproductive rights. The PodVoices.help initiative isn’t just capitalizing on the expansive connections facilitated through digital, social media campaigns, it’s utilizing the scale of podcasting in general. With more than 120 million U.S. podcast listeners last year, and more than 2 million podcasts accessed globally, the scope of the initiative is potentially astounding.
“We have more than 300 podcasters who’ve committed,” Nissenblatt explained. Those include some big shows in the industry, like My Favorite Murder, The Daily Zeitgeist, and TikTok favorite FinancialFeminist. But the more shows, the more listeners, and the more large-scale impact, the better. “My hope is that we reach folks who need to hear this message.”