Acast is taking another step to increase its reach into the growing Latin American podcast market. The company has teamed up with the U.S.-based not-for-profit Radio Ambulante Estudios to launch a Spanish-language news show targeting the region. El Hilo will cover Latin American news with Radio Ambulante producing the content and Acast responsible for hosting, distribution and ad sponsorship sales.
The Daniel Alarcón-hosted Radio Ambulante podcast began in 2011, partnering with NPR in 2016 for distribution and becoming the first Spanish-language podcast for the public radio network. The podcast has released 150 episodes to date, which have received more than 18 million downloads from listeners worldwide. That success has allowed it to move beyond a single podcast with the launch of El Hilo.
“Our launch coincided with a global pandemic, a time when listeners crave insightful and rigorous reporting, especially in their own language,” said Silvia Viñas, co-host and executive producer of El Hilo, who has produced and edited Radio Ambulante stories for more than seven years. “For us, this is an opportunity to use the audio storytelling techniques we have learned and mastered at Radio Ambulante to inform and engage listeners during this unprecedented and often confusing time.”
El Hilo is hosted by Viñas and Eliezer Budasoff, who is current editor for special projects at Spain’s El País newspaper and former editorial director at The New York Times en Español. Published Fridays, El Hilo features interviews with journalists and regional sources to present the week’s news stories from a Latin American perspective. The name El Hilo, which translates in English to “the thread,” is a nod to a thread from news to the discussion that crosses online and on social media.
“Radio Ambulante’s audience has been asking for a show like El Hilo,” said Alarcón, who serves as editorial director for the new podcast. “We know it’s challenging to launch a project like this one at a time like this, but we do it because we are convinced of our mission.”
The podcast market in Latin America is growing rapidly. In February, Acast launched operations in Mexico City, with the mission to become the region’s go-to podcast company. “Podcasting thrives through the work of local creators,” said Diego Bolaños, Acast Content Director for Mexico. “As audio grows in markets around the world, we’re committed to supporting creators who are sharing stories from and for different communities.”