Welcome to Mediaweek’s new weekly podcast column, created in partnership with PodcastOne Australia. Here we will look at the ins and outs of the burgeoning sector and hear from some of the key players driving the medium forward.
Aussies in Hollywood
Longtime Hollywood-based entertainment reporter Jenny Cooney has been one of the success stories on the PodcastOne platform since she launched her podcast series Aussies In Hollywood. The first series featured an impressive list of talent with her Abbie Cornish interview one of my favourites. Others in the series included Nicole Kidman, Ben Mendelsohn, Rachel Griffiths and Katherine Langford.
The trademark of the podcast series is the relationship Cooney has with her guests, often recording the podcasts in their homes. They open up to her about their life, career and what it is about Aussies that make them so loved in Hollywood. From Mel Gibson chatting about his breakdown, to Rachel Griffiths speaking about her near-death experience and Toni Collette admitting she was disappointed that she got The Sixth Sense role, it is clear that people feel comfortable enough to open up to Cooney about very personal matters.
She has been hard at work on a second season and three podcasts are being released this week:
• Phil Noyce – Best known for his films Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Bone Collector and Patriot Games, director Phil Noyce is also known as a godfather figure who has always looked out for fellow Aussies trying to make it in Hollywood. Noyce shares his insider view about the early days of the Australian film industry with Cooney, including the $97 million lesson he learned along the way
• Toni Collette – The Aussie actor is synonymous with two movie lines “You’re terrible Muriel!” from Muriel’s Wedding and “I see dead people,” from The Sixth Sense, which is funny seeing she didn’t deliver either of those lines. Recorded in the hotel room where they first met during the press tour for Muriel’s Wedding, Collette chats to Cooney about her unique career and why she wasn’t always convinced that the roles she became known for would even be a hit in the first place.
• Lee Smith – The film editor has worked on some of the biggest movies in Hollywood, from Suicide Squad to The Dark Knight and Interstellar. He became a trusted member of both Peter Weir and Chris Nolan’s film teams and won an Oscar along the way. Smith took a break from editing the new X-Men film to catch up with Cooney and to chat about being a multi-disciplined editor and how his Aussie work ethic got him to where he is today.
Teacher’s Pet popular
The Australian reported this week its investigative podcast series The Teacher’s Pet was downloaded a million times in six days last week, bringing total downloads to more than four million.
The series, by national chief correspondent Hedley Thomas and producer Slade Gibson, is delving into the 1982 disappearance and suspected murder of Sydney mother Lyn Dawson.
International downloads are surging, led by interest in the US followed by Britain, New Zealand and Canada.
New from Sami Lukis: Romantically Challenged on PodcastOne
Television host, radio personality and author Sami Lukis is unapologetically unfiltered and brutally honest about her struggles with modern dating and the mistakes she’s made in her quest to find love, in her new podcast Romantically Challenged now available on PodcastOne.
“This podcast is a refreshingly honest and very real discussion about sex, dating and relationships,” Lukis said.
“The fact is, dating doesn’t get any easier as you get older. I actually feel like I’m more romantically challenged now, in my 40s, than I have been at any other stage in my life. I want this to be the ultimate ‘support group’ for anyone trying to navigate the modern dating scene.”
In her first podcast, Lukis will chat to other men and women who are also struggling in the dating world as mums, dads, divorcees, widowers, lifelong singletons. They’ll share funny real-life dating stories and open up about the challenges they’ve faced along the way. No topic will be taboo… from battles with body image, the sense of shame after divorce, overcoming dating self-sabotage, online dating dos and don’ts and our changing attitudes towards sex.
Lukis has recorded episodes with:
• Kerri Sackville (author) – The good, the bad and the ridiculous about dating in your 40s.
• Nadia Bokody (editor of SheSaid) – Female Sex Positivity.
• Cassie – The challenges of online dating apps, body image, embracing sex, dating and singledom in your 40s.
• Pete – The emotional and financial fallout after a marriage breakdown.
• Samantha X (Australia’s highest paid escort) – What men really want isn’t what you might think.
• Katia Loisel (body language and dating expert) – A dating “expert” who found herself divorced at the age of 39 admits that even she couldn’t believe how difficult it was to navigate the modern singles scene.
OzPod moving to Melbourne
This year will be headlined by international award-winning podcast producers and storytellers Julia Lowrie Henderson (USA) and Veronica Simmonds (Canada), who will share their secrets for creating successful and distinctive series with social impact.
Kellie Riordan, manager of ABC Audio Studios, the podcast creation hub behind series such as Conversations, The Pineapple Project and Ladies, We Need to Talk said OzPod 2018 demonstrates the ABC’s commitment to creating opportunities and collaboration within the Australian media industry:
“Australia punches above its weight internationally in the podcast space and it’s great to come together to celebrate that and learn from each other. Podcasting is not a side hustle any more, it’s in the main game and having real impact, from exposing injustices to sparking social and legislative change.”
OzPod 2018 will be hosted by the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas, presenter of RN Drive and co-host of The Party Room podcast. The one-day conference will also feature presentations, panels, mentoring sessions and live performances from leading local podcasters, including:
• Allan Clarke, ABC Unravel – Blood on the Tracks
• Hedley Thomas, The Australian – Teacher’s Pet
• Honor Eastly – Being Honest With My Ex and Starving Artist
• Nick Cummins, The Royals – Tough Conversations with Henry Rollins
• Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler – Little Dum Dum Club
• Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe, ABC Radio/Double J – Bang On
• James Parkinson, Wavelength Creative – By Association
• James Cridland – “radio futurologist” and editor of Podnews.net
• Wendy Syfret – Vice Australia
• Joanne Woo, GE Australia, New Zealand & PNG – Decoding Genius
• Joel Werner, ABC Audio Studios – Sum of All Parts
• Kyla Slaven, ABC Producer – Short & Curly
• Miyuki Jokiranta, ABC RN – Earshot
• Yumi Stynes – Ladies, We Need To Talk
Additional speakers will be announced in the lead-up to the conference.
Australian magazine publishers have been using podcasts to engage with their audiences. Major publishers like Bauer and Pacific have been releasing podcasts, some of them weekly, from their major titles.
In February, Pacific’s New Idea launched New Idea Investigates, a true-crime podcast that reopens the cold cases of some of the country’s most famous crimes. Hosted by veteran journalist Mary-Ann Harris, the podcast includes interviews with victims’ families, police and witnesses.
Also earlier this year, Bauer launched Ripper Real Life, a podcast featuring the wacky real-life stories that appear in Take 5 magazine. Ripper Real Life is hosted by the magazine’s editor Paul Merrill and narrated by deputy editor Kate Kirsten. Weaving says: “The team has great natural chemistry. They have worked together for a long time and it’s just really entertaining from the first listen.”
New podcast network for LGBT+ community
Lipp Media, a new podcast network, has launched in Australia. Lipp Media is a collaborative partnership for on-demand, digital audio by women and members of the LGBT+ community. Lipp Media facilitates commercial brand integration to ensure the development of popular, well-produced and profitable podcasts.
Lipp Media has launched with three original shows, The Gays Are Revolting, a dedicated weekly news source for contemporary gays, Cher and Retweet, a comedic journey down the rabbit hole that is Cher’s Twitter feed, and Word of The Gay, a weekly dissection of common words in the queer vernacular. The network also represents two existing shows, Popchops and It’s Time To Go: A Big Brother Australia podcast.
The driving force behind Lipp Media is Dan Gregg, who came from a career in TV production and casting, including producing music videos for some of Australia’s biggest pop stars (Delta Goodrem and Guy Sebastian) as well as stints in community radio before launching Lipp Media. He hosts the podcast Popchops, which has secured sponsorship from Select Touring, Smiling Dick and Gayle.
Whooshkaa shows Aussie brands HowStuffWorks
The US HowStuffWorks podcast network has teamed up with Whooshkaa for Australia and New Zealand.
The news comes after the network’s flagship show Stuff You Should Know is the first podcast to surpass 500 million cumulative downloads, according to Apple Podcasts.
The global network is claiming 2 million monthly downloads in Australia and New Zealand as part of the monthly global audience of 50 million downloads.
The alliance was agreed to by HowStuffWorks president and CEO Conal Byrne and Whooshkaa founder and CEO Rob Loewenthal.
“HowStuffWorks presents more than 100 hours of new content each month, new releases every month and an evergreen back catalogue of almost 10,000 episodes,” Byrne said. “Our shows present deep-dive information in an entertaining format that has struck a chord with Australian audiences. All are shot through with our core values of the pursuit of knowledge and authenticity.”
Whooshkaa’s Rob Loewenthal said the HowStuffWorks network opened globally successful shows such as Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class and The Daily Zeitgeist to Australian markets.
“These shows are actively sought out and listened to by engaged audiences in Australia and New Zealand, driving two million downloads a month,” Loewenthal said. “Those numbers are rising every day and Whooshkaa is proud to partner with this iconic, leading network in the ramp-up phase of a fast-growing industry.”
Whooshkaa is currently in the market with an opportunity for one brand to sponsor the Stuff You Should Know podcast and its upcoming Australian and New Zealand tour.