How Dear Media's Paige Port Is Paving the Way for Female Podcasters

WrapWomen LA Blog: “Audiences are now — more than ever — seeking ways to be connected digitally with genuine conversations and relatable content,” Port says

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dear Media)

Podcasts are like high-waisted pants: They’ve been around for 20-plus years but have only recently come back into popular demand. Once you figure out the right fit for you, you’ll never want to go back to the low-waisted world of FM radio and cable television. Designed for the girl-on-the-go, podcasts — and high-waisted pants — have opened up a whole new world of opportunities — just ask WrapWomen Next-Gen Ambassador and Dear Media (DM) executive Paige Port.

As the senior director of talent network strategy for the female-focused podcast network, Port oversees everything from identifying and signing talent, to live events, touring and merchandising. “In two years, we have grown the network to just over 40 shows hosted by top-tier talent across comedy, parenting, health and wellness, business and beauty,” Port told TheWrap.

During a recent interview, Port opened up about her career journey, current projects and what advice she has for young women looking to break into the industry.

Describe your role at Dear Media.
I oversee all talent conversations and business development for the network. I work across production, sales and marketing to make sure that we are working with our hosts to add value and build content and brands that have longevity in audio and beyond.

How did you get into the business side of podcasting?
To be totally honest, it was just being in the right role at the right time. I had recently switched roles within the company from the product side of our business and was now supporting the CEO of DBA, Raina Penchansky, in Business and Brand Development. She and Michael, the CEO of DM, had just founded the company and were getting ready to announce DM in Variety. As a new business venture for DBA, DM became my sole focus outside of DBA.

How do you decide which podcasts to work with/ represent?
I always am looking for unique and diverse voices. It’s really important to look at engagement when vetting talent. One of the cool things about our DM employees is that a lot of them were listeners of the shows on the network before joining the company, so they are the perfect resource for me — if they are into a talent that I share with them I know that it’s a talent we want to sign.

How do you connect with the audiences of all these podcasts?
Content and community are two of the most important parts of our business. Most of our hosts have spent the better part of the last decade building one-to-one relationships with their audience on their blogs and/or social channels. Through their podcasts, and the wide reach of the DM network, we have built a community with a reach of over 25 million people. We connect with the audiences directly through call-ins, voicemails,plus touring live shows (which we are looking forward to resuming when it is safe to do so as it’s so special to meet fans face-to-face.) DM talent have such close, personal connections with their communities – both their podcast listeners and beyond to other platforms. During this time, we’ve seen that audiences are now — more than ever — seeking ways to be connected digitally with genuine conversations and relatable content. As the world navigates this together, we’ve found that it is comforting for listeners to still have their favorite podcast to turn on. Our hosts understand the importance of that.

What are some of the brand partnerships that you’ve worked on?
As a network we have worked with everyone from American Express and LinkedIn to Sephora, Fabletics and Ouai. One of my favorite partnerships has been the Dear Media Picnic and Podcast in the Park series at The Grove the last two summers. Over the course of four weeks, four shows from the network take to the stage in the center of the shopping center to host a live podcast. Last year, we worked with Neutrogrena, Ketel One Botanicals and Smashbox as partners. Hopefully we will be able to resume this next summer.

What are some of your favorite podcasts right now?
I am obviously biased to all the shows on the DM network, but my favorite podcasts off the network are “Recode Decode,” “The Daily” and anything with Adam Grant.

What advice do you have for someone who is looking to start their own podcast?
Our CEO, Michael Bosstick, always says that a podcast should either entertain, educate or inspire its listeners. If you are doing just one of those things, great, and any more even better! I think for anyone who is looking to start their own podcast you always want to make sure that you are adding value to your audience.

What advice do you have for someone who is looking to get into your industry?
Keep up with industry news — subscribe to newsletters (a few of the ones I subscribe to are Podcast Business Journal, HotPod and Podnews). And, listen to podcasts! Listen to shows in all different categories, with different formats, advertisers, lengths and audiences. There is no one size fits all in podcasting so it’s interesting to see how everyone brings their own spin to this medium.

What is your favorite part about your job?
I love that every day our team is working to bring more opportunity and more dollars to women in audio. It’s pretty cool when you sign a new talent, see downloads skyrocket, brand partners fighting for ad inventory, and audiences who sell out live shows in minutes!

What are your top (5) tips for success?
1. Stay true to yourself, your voice and what you believe in.
2. Take notes (I write everything down!)
3. Give yourself time to be creative and think outside your inbox.
4. Learn to delegate.
5. Work hard, play hard.

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