Only a few months ago did the staffers at iHeart’s podcast arm announce that they were seeking unionization and a collective bargaining agreement. As of yesterday, Feb. 24th, the iHeart Podcast Union was officially recognized. This represents a huge step for the whole world of podcasting as well as the shows under the iHeart Podcast Union banner including How Did We Get Weird? with Vanessa and Jonah Bayer, Life Will Be the Death of Me with Chelsea Handler, Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang, a number of Jamie Loftus audio projects/shows, and Will Ferrell‘s own imprint, Big Money Players. Perhaps, other big podcast networks will follow suit as podcasts have increasingly become the way to circumvent gatekeepers in order to build an audience/make a living/tour in comedy and elsewhere in entertainment.
Also on the comedy unionization front, the production teams behind adult animated hits Rick & Morty and Solar Opposites are both filing for collective bargaining agreements with The Animation Guild (via Deadline). Both Justin Roiland co-created shows have multiple seasons under their belt, at Netflix and Hulu respectively, and thusly require a dedicated team to crank out the episode orders that keep coming in. That includes production managers, production supervisors, design assistants, casting assistants, storyboard coordinators and office production coordinators and assistants. Unfortunately, the studios behind either show have not formally recognized either group as part of The Animation Guild yet.
We hope that the feeling that a wave of unionizing in and around comedy is, after these two steps forward, are more than just a feeling.