Right on Detroit's border with affluent Grosse Pointe, inside of the Detroit Artist Test Lab, is a black man with a recording studio.
But hold up, he is different.
It is a podcast studio. Jonathan Galloway, affectionately known as JG, is the CEO of Audiowave Network, an all black and operated podcast network out of the city of Detroit. Podcasting has grown exponentially over the past years from about 10,000 in 2008 to about 500,000 broadcasted in 100,000 languages in the US in 2018. So there is no need to wait — black people are taking their share of the medium.
A podcast is free and easy to start. You just need a few things: an interesting focus, audience, talent and, if you want that sound quality in the city of Detroit, you need JG.
JG started recording with his own podcast, Negus with a Podcast, in July of 2015. The show consists of him and four of his closest friends as they spill "intelligent ignorance" from a black male perspective on a weekly basis. The podcast has seen success, pulling sponsorships and will have its first live show this month in Detroit in conjunction with the Detroit Podcast Festival. While the show was growing, he explored taking the show national with the very successful Loud Speaker's Network in New York City. (LSN is home to Angela Yee's Lip Service and The Read), but ultimately decided to fill a large void in Detroit instead and share his success with other podcasters and storytellers in Detroit.
That is how Audiowave Network opened in November 2016, featuring NWP and two new shows, Sips, Flix, and Chix, and FRMSCRTCH. The name, Audiowave, comes from the concept of an natural, unstoppable and uncontrollable force of a wave, which is how JG describes his network. They moved the studio out of his friend's basement, and into a soundproofed studio on Detroit's east side, where JG is from, and the network has been growing ever since, and is home to over 10 podcasts, including Fav Baby Mama and Sole Food Sunday.
As podcasting continues to grow as a medium, Audiowave continues to look for new ways to create unique content and stand out. JG admits that is a struggle, but he capitalizes on the meaningful relationships he establishes with his talent. "Demanding authenticity in content, and transparency in their lives," is the secret. Authenticity and transparency, like drinking his wife's breastmilk and analyzing the flavor on an episode, illustrates his dedication to the concept.
Additionally, the AWN is a community. While some networks and recording studios charge you by the hour to use their equipment. JG executive produces and facilitates the growth of your content. Podcasters pay a fee which goes to the upkeep of the network. On the other hand, JG needs to make sure they meet his standards of creativity, consistency and family in order to record in his studio. To him, it is about more than the money.
AWN podcasts are more than black people shooting the dozens with their friends, they are autobiographies through podcasting. As podcasting continues to grow, so does the possibilities for black voices to be pushed out. But the collective might of the Audiowave Network has the ability to amplify the voices of people of color, making Audiowave and JG more than just another recording studio full of black folks.