One of my favorite parts of attending events is connecting with new people. Striking up a conversation can lead to partnerships and friendships that let you see the world in a new way. Several years ago, at FinCon in New Orleans, I was lucky enough to meet Felix Montelara. We had podcasting in common, as well as the core values of family, faith, and a passion for business. He even lives just outside my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama.
Felix, a leader in the podcasting community, runs a podcast network called AudioDice, and has spoken at Podcast Movement. One of his major achievements has been starting the annual Latin Podcast Awards, an event that celebrates multilingual creators from all over the world. In anticipation of the 3rd annual Awards, and to kick off our newsletter, we’re setting the spotlight on Felix’s journey to podcast success.
Felix Montelara grew up in Jersey City, NJ. On his walks to elementary school, he could see the Statue of Liberty across the bay on one side and the construction of the Twin Towers across the river in Manhattan. When he was 10 years old, he moved with his family to Puerto Rico, where he learned to speak Spanish. As a young person, he developed an appreciation for the ideas of liberty, freedom, and future opportunities for everyone, regardless of ethnicity or background. He was confident in his desire to create new possibilities for Spanish-speaking communities.
Later in life, Felix pursued a career with the Office of Inspector General for NASA. (He may or may not have a fascinating story about moon rocks, but you can ask him about that at Podcast Movement.) He also lived in Washington, D.C. for several years, participating in the D.C. Hispanic Festival throughout the early 1990s. His efforts to promote the events through the local AM radio station would draw crowds of 60,000 people! Speaking about these beginnings, he says, “I realized that there was a lot of needs within the Latinx community. And there's a guy like me, bilingual, who can understand this, who can translate and who can help in the community. And I figured, wow, this is something. I'm interested in helping. Since I've been a young man, I've always been involved in doing activities that will benefit the Spanish speakers in the United States. Because that is our future.”
Felix is now retired and dedicated to spending time with his family, but is always developing his passion project. He became a podcaster 5 years ago, recording Potencial Millonario, (Potential Millionaire) his Spanish-language financial show. Potencial Millonario developed an audience in the United States as well as Central America, South America, and Spain. The project was growing, but a problem was revealed with the existing podcast award options. Only podcasts recorded in English were being considered for recognition in North America and the UK. Felix realized that he had an opportunity to change this and support podcasters by creating something new.
“I wanted to make an awards competition that people from every corner of the world could find, enter, and win,” Felix explains. He began studying other ceremonies, taking notes and piecing together ideas on the best way to implement his new concept. The other podcast award ceremonies were traditionally held at events like the former New Media Expo and later at Podcast Movement. He realized that due to the geographical spread of the majority of nominees, the organization for an in-person event would probably not work. So, ever the problem solver, Felix made the decision to host the new awards online. The Latin Podcast Awards had officially begun.
The Latin Podcast Awards are going strong in this third year and will soon host the 2019 ceremony. The event’s popularity is snowballing primarily due to word of mouth and enthusiastic participants. The Spanish-language podcasts that have been nominated are not just from Latin America, but throughout the world. One show is from Dubai, and another where one co-host lives in Switzerland and the other in Mexico. A panel of international judges, who are themselves podcast content producers, have been assembled to select winners.
Having gained support from some of the largest podcast companies in the industry, The Latin Podcast Awards continues to gain more endorsements each year from major media companies such as Univision. Podcast Movement is a proud sponsor of the Arts and Education categories, which recognizes podcasters from the United States, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. “Podcast Movement is honored to be able to support the Latin Podcast Awards,” says Dan Franks, President. “Podcasting is a medium that can span all borders, and we're so excited to be able to play a small part in the international expansion of the industry.”
I encourage you to tell your friends to check out the Latin Podcast Awards if they haven’t already. More information can be found here, but here are some quick facts: Nominations are open until Thursday, July 11, and the online ceremony will occur during Hispanic Heritage Month. The official date and time will be announced at Podcast Movement in August! You can connect with Felix via email at [email protected], and be on the lookout for more LPA news.