iHeartPodcasts and Kaleidoscope Partner with John Legend to Debut Riveting New Series “Afghan Star”

Hosted by John Legend, the all-new audio documentary debuts May 15 and tells the story of the show that captured a nation’s voice and launched a musical revolution in Afghanistan

Groundbreaking Original Artwork, Created by Eight Graphic Fiction Artists in Partnership with Publisher & Entertainment Studio AWA, Accompanies Each Episode, with Proceeds from Sales of the Artwork Benefiting The Noor Initiative  

Listen to the trailer HERE

NEW YORK – May 8, 2024 – iHeartPodcasts, the No. 1 podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, together with Kaleidoscope, the network behind No. 1 hits “Skyline Drive,” “The Last Soviet” and “On Musk With Walter Isaacson,” announced today “Afghan Star” -- a new original audio documentary hosted by EGOT-winning artist and activist, John Legend, about Afghanistan’s cultural revolution told through the lens of the country’s first musical talent show. Premiering May 15, the 8-part audio documentary will depict how Afghan Star inspired an Afghanistan that could be: women singing without hijabs, the country’s first rapper, people of warring ethnic groups hugging and cheering for each other on stage. It will highlight the story of how a ragtag team scrambled to make the show every week, and the dangers they faced, while trying to push their nation forward. Fans can listen to the trailer now, HERE.

“I was immediately drawn to this story, with its many heroes and heroines, moments of tragedy, triumph and suspense. “Afghan Star” is a true celebration of the power of music and showcases how, even in exile, courageous teams are working around the clock to save our music and bring a little joy back to our communities,” said John Legend.

John Legend is an EGOT-winning, critically acclaimed, multi platinum artist and producer, as well as a co-founder of Get Lifted Film Co. Legend has released nine celebrated albums over the course of his career and is currently a coach on NBC’s The Voice, the musical competition series format shared by Afghan Star. As an activist, Legend has used his voice and work to effect social impact across communities that need it most. While this isn’t a political show, the series feels especially timely. It contextualizes what is happening today, by providing a story of resistance and hope, and presenting a more optimistic view of Afghanistan and the region. Moreover, with Legend’s voice, the show highlights the enduring power of music and its ability to uplift communities across the globe.

“We are thrilled to have John Legend on board for this extraordinary series,” said Will Pearson, President of iHeartPodcasts. “His voice, along with his commitment to social impact and uplifting communities through music has helped bring this show together. We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Kaleidoscope and excited to match extraordinary artists like John Legend with meaningful storytelling.”

"Working with John Legend on this show is a gift. As a coach on The Voice and a champion of voices less heard, he’s the perfect person to guide listeners through this fascinating story about how music can move mountains” said Oz Woloshyn, Kaleidoscope co-founder. "’Afghan Star’ is a perfect example of the kind of series Kaleidoscope creates. We aim to tell stories that make sense of the world around us, and bring our listeners on voyages of discovery. We’re excited to continue to partner with iHeartPodcasts to get the word out to the largest audience possible,” said Mangesh Hattikudur, Kaleidoscope co-founder.

Kaleidoscope has also partnered with New York-based graphic fiction publisher and entertainment studio AWA (Artists, Writers, & Artisans) to create unique pieces of graphic art for each of the podcast episodes, including an unforgettable image from superstar artist Rahzzah that represents the spirit of hope embodied by the show. Prints of each artwork will be available for purchase, with proceeds supporting The Noor Initiative, a non-profit working to ensure every Afghan girl has access to education and opportunity.

“We are thrilled to be partners on this incredible story, and to have collaborated to bring it to life visually with some of the best graphic artists in the world, many from diverse backgrounds, and all of whom had a profound emotional response to Afghan Star,” said Matthew Anderson, AWA co-chair and President. “The impact of this story is reflected through the compelling visual art that pushes the boundaries of how art can elevate an audio project and we hope many fans will collect one or more of the art pieces as a way of celebrating the show and supporting The Noor Initiative.”

“Afghan Star” is distributed by iHeartPodcasts and will be available on the iHeartRadio app and everywhere podcasts are heard.

About iHeartMedia, Inc.

iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month. It consists of three business groups.

With its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. Its leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms, including more than 860 live broadcast stations in over 160 markets nationwide; its National Sales organization; and the company’s live and virtual events business. It also includes Premiere Networks, the industry’s largest Networks business, with its Total Traffic and Weather Network (TTWN); and BIN: Black Information Network, the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service for the Black community. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics, targeting and attribution for its marketing partners with its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products using data from its massive consumer base.

The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the company’s fast-growing podcasting business -- iHeartMedia is the number one podcast publisher in downloads, unique listeners, revenue and earnings -- as well as its industry-leading iHeartRadio digital service, available across more than 500 platforms and 2,000 devices; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; its digital advertising technology companies; and its audio industry-leading social media footprint.

The company’s Audio & Media Services reportable segment includes Katz Media Group, the nation’s largest media representation company, and RCS, the world's leading provider of broadcast and webcast software.

Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.