City Cast

Our Podcast Guests

How diverse are City Cast Chicago’s guests?

When we launched City Cast in 2021, we committed to tracking–and publishing–demographic information about our podcast guests. Diversity is a core City Cast value, and we aim to invite guests on our podcasts who are diverse in age, race and ethnicity, gender, economic background, and geography.

So are we living up to our values? How diverse is our guest pool, really?

City Cast Chicago started surveying guests in spring 2021 with an anonymous but rather cumbersome survey. It had an extremely low response rate. So in late 2021 we switched to collecting information directly from guests, and asking them fewer questions–just gender identity, racial/ethnic identity, and neighborhood. We’re gathering less information from each podcast guest, but have a higher response rate.

Here are the results, and below them a few notes on where we can improve.

We have a year of City Cast Chicago guest survey data, including 205 guests who collectively made 248 podcast appearances from July 19, 2021 to July 18, 2022. About 60 percent of the 205 responded to the survey.

  • About 46 percent of our Chicago guests identified as white, about 35 percent as Black, about 10 percent as Hispanic/Latinx, and about 5 percent as Asian or Asian American.
    • According to the Census, 33 percent of Chicago city residents are non-Hispanic whites, 29 percent are Blacks, 29 percent are Hispanic, and 7 percent are Asian.
    • Among Chicago metro area residents, 53 percent are white, 17 percent are Black, 22 percent are Hispanic, and 6 percent are Asian. (Look at the chart below to get a better visual sense of how our guests compare to the city/metro population.)
  • About 56 percent of our guests identified as female. About 39 percent identified as male. About 5 percent identified as non-binary.
  • We asked guests about their neighborhoods, and 91 people answered. They represented 49 different neighborhoods and towns.


City Cast is doing a pretty good job representing the racial and ethnic diversity, gender diversity, and geographic diversity of Chicago. We’re featuring a broad variety of guests, and–with one significant exception–that variety closely matches the actual diversity of the city and the metro area.

The exception is our under-representation of Hispanic/Latinx guests. There are understandable reasons for this shortfall: Many Hispanics and Latinx people are immigrants, and immigrant communities are traditionally hard for journalists to access. Some are probably non-English speakers. Podcast penetration is likely lower among Hispanic/Latinx residents of Chicago than among other groups, which makes them less likely to know City Cast Chicago and be part of the community we’re building. But it’s clear that we need to push to get more excellent Hispanic/Latinx guests on City Cast Chicago.