Podcast Week: In The Middle, Every Parent Has A Story To Tell, Podcast Ranker

Podcast Week: born funny

The Inspired Unemployed, LiSTNR unveils AdTech Hub, Acast’s integrated marketing campaigns, Barack and Michelle Obama enter the podcast world.

Compiled by Jasper Baumann and Tess Connery

Meeting In The Middle and conquering cancel culture along the way

In 2019, ‘cancel culture’ was the Australian Macquarie Dictionary’s word of the year, and the phrase also made the shortlist for word of the decade in 2021.

In an increasingly divided world, it seems to be getting harder and harder to listen to others’ views with an open mind. 

Tackling this phenomenon head-on are SCA’s Fifi, Fev & Nick anchor Josiah Shala, and producer Renee Buckingham, who come together on In The Middle.

The pair met working together and became good friends. During the pandemic, Shala says they used to go for walks to switch off, and “have really deep conversations with each other about life and the world.” 

in the middle

Shala: “It was post-COVID, when everyone was really butting heads on everything – we both realised that on these walks, we were so different yet not judging each other. 

“A couple of weeks later, we were having a similar conversation on the phone. One of us said that would be an incredible podcast, and then we said, ‘alright, let’s do that’. We just made it happen.”

The podcast covers everything from getting the COVID-19 vaccine to when, exactly, it’s okay to start putting your Christmas decorations up. Choosing a topic to tackle week to week, Buckingham said it’s a combination of what’s going on in their lives as well as what’s happening in the wider world. 

Buckingham: “We ask each other, what are you really passionate about right now? 

“Josiah is getting married this year, and the way he views marriage is very different to how I would view it. It’s really what’s happening in our personal lives and then what’s topical online.”

The good thing about opinions is that they can be changed when presented with more information – Shala compares two episodes the pair recorded about the pandemic a year apart, saying “it was so different, even after just 12 months.”

Josiah & Renee

Josiah Shala and Renee Buckingham

With almost a year of the podcast under their belt, the pair have a list of lessons that they’ve picked up along the way. 

Shala: “Probably the biggest thing that I’ve learned is my mind opening up to other people’s lifestyles, because you do surround yourself with like-minded people. That’s naturally what humans do. I don’t have to be best friends with Renee’s friendship circle, but I can be open to not judging them and realising they’re cool as well.”

Buckingham: “Reflecting on the two episodes that we’ve done on COVID vaccines, I was pretty cutthroat and pretty cancel culture about anti-vaxxers for quite some time. There are constructive decisions that go on behind the scenes that we as a society are so quick to judge.

“Also through Josiah’s grandma, who’s a big listener of the show, I’ve realised I swear a lot!”

Ultimately, if listeners walk away from In The Middle with a new perspective on how others live, the pair say they have done their job. 

Shala: “People forget that at the core of it, we are all people. The podcast is saying ‘Josiah is allowed to not have the vaccine, he’s allowed to support Trump, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad person’. It just means we’re different, and allowed to feel differently.”

Buckingham: “My goal for people would be to either feel seen, or see other people, and get curious. I think people are so stuck in their habits and their ways, people say to me ‘how do you sit in a room with him? I can’t believe he said that’. It’s not comfortable, it’s not easy, but also we actually need to value diversity within reason within society for us to function.”

[Listen to In The Middle here]

Bounty Parents delivers first podcast with Julie Snook and Carla Bignasca

Hosted by media personalities and real-life mums Julie Snook and Carla Bignasca, Every Parent Has A Story To Tell is a five-part series that shares unique experiences from parents of all walks of life, through poignant interviews and stories with well-known and everyday Aussie parents, to explore how different communities approach parenting. 

The podcast covers themes ranging from separated parenting and toddler immunity to same-sex parenting and fussy eaters, with special guests including world champion athlete, doctor and mother of six Jana Pittman; same-sex parents of Gogglebox Australia fame Kevin and Bob; accredited practising dietitian Marianne Tomlin; and other mums and dads who have gone through unique and diverse parenting journeys. 

Are Media head of beauty and parenting, Alicia Melville, said: “Bounty Parents has been providing trusted information and support to parents and parents-to-be for decades, with our engaged community turning to us through each stage of their journey. While family dynamics have evolved, the need for trusted, relevant information has not changed.”

[Listen to Every Parent Has A Story To Tell here]

Podcast Ranker: Cheers to the Happy Hour debut

February’s Podcast Ranker data has rolled in, with ARN’s Casefile True Crime returning to its previous home of top spot.

According to Triton DigitalCasefile was downloaded 2,212,055 times across the month, and recorded 878,248 monthly listeners.

Spinoff podcast Casefile Presents: The Easey Street Murders debuted at #104.

podcast ranker Happy Hour with Lucy and Nikki

January’s number one podcast Shameless dipped a place to come in second, and Mamamia Out Loud rounded out the top three.

In fourth place was The Kyle & Jackie O Show podcast, up two places as the duo announced the date for their expansion into the Melbourne market. 

Nine new podcasts debuted in February. The highest debut came from Happy Hour with Lucy & Nikki at #16, in the first ranker since the pair made the jump over from Spotify to LiSTNR.

Other debuts include Wondery’s MrBallen Podcast: Strange, Dark & Mysterious Stories at #73 and SiriusXM’s The Megyn Kelly Show at #149. 

[Read more]

The Inspired Unemployed begins billboard battle in Spotify marketing first

For the first time, Spotify has handed over the marketing reins to its podcast talent, with the stars of The Inspired Unemployed Podcast launching a billboard battle, Mediaweek can reveal.

The duo behind the podcast, Matt ‘Falcon’ Ford and Jack Steele, will take turns to take over a billboard to make fun of each other, playing off of in-jokes with listeners. The first billboard, unveiled this week, gives Steele the opportunity to take aim at Ford’s height. Ford will get his turn in two weeks as the billboards swap out. 

The whole process, from the ‘making of’ the billboards, to their unveiling and the story behind each, will be documented on social channels and the podcast itself. 

Spotify’s head of podcasts, Ben Watts, told Mediaweek: “The Inspired Unemployed Podcast is one of our most successful and we are invested in growing its audience to continue building on that success.

“At the core of that success is the mateship and playful ribbing the boys give each other. Those who are already tuned into the podcast regularly will be familiar with the ongoing joke taken at the expense of Matt’s height – something he hates.

“The idea was to use the billboard stunt to showcase their unique chemistry to find out what the podcast is all about to people who aren’t familiar.”

[Read more]

LiSTNR unveils AdTech Hub, adtech suite for agencies and brands

LiSTNR has launched an advertising technology suite of innovations and services called LiSTNR’s AdTech Hub

The AdTech Hub will offer commercial opportunities in digital audio for agencies and brands. The new suite leverages LiSTNR’s owned and operated model with its known user base of 1.8 million-plus listeners. 


LiSTNR’s AdTech Hub’s ‘big three bets’ include increased personalisation and targeting, extensive dynamic creative optimisation, and an Australian-based CDP and first-party data clean room solutions and services. 

SCA’s chief commercial officer, Seb Rennie, said: “LiSTNR’s new and advanced AdTech Hub brings together the massive reach and audience of digital audio across LiSTNR’s owned and partner brands, without geographic boundaries. LiSTNR’s AdTech Hub will enable the measurement of every campaign’s ROI across an unrivalled audio ecosystem.

“This will ensure our advertiser’s budgets go further, and engage more people, more effectively. It is a game-changer for the audio industry, business owners, marketers and media agencies.”

[Read more]

Acast’s integrated marketing campaigns for podcast advertisers

Acast is leading new approaches to integrated marketing campaigns for podcast advertisers around the globe. 

A recent study by Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights found half of weekly podcast consumers follow their favourite podcasters on social media. According to the same study, this number increases to 68% when looking specifically at podcast listeners between the ages of 18 and 34. 

Simultaneously, as podcasters and fans have explored their love for the medium across various channels, advertisers have seen the value of multichannel campaigns. In 2023, Acast saw a 46% increase in advertisers booking multichannel campaigns from the year before. 

To meet the demand, Acast reported their expansions of strategic recommendations and campaign execution for podcast advertisers across video, social media live events and more for scale and impact.

“Over the years, Acast has continued to refine its multichannel offerings because of increased demand for advertisers looking to spread their message across a variety of platforms,” said SVP of the creator network at Acast, Veronika Taylor.

“Most recently at Acast we’ve also seen more and more podcasters show interest in working with brands to monetise not only their podcasts, but also other media where they connect with their dedicated audiences.”

Advertisers using Acast’s self-serve ad platform will be able to see podcasters available for creating video campaigns as well as audio.

Barack and Michelle Obama enter the podcast world, exploring the history of America’s reconstruction era

The History Channel is developing a new podcast with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground, Pushkin Industries and Audible. 

The currently untitled eight-part podcast will explore the history and legacy of America’s Reconstruction Era.

From 1863 to 1873, America had the opportunity to reimagine American society from the roots of its economy to the nature of citizenship itself. The podcast highlights the missed opportunities and complicated legacy of that period while also looking ahead at the lessons that can be gleaned for the future. 

“In highlighting stories and presenting the facts of our shared past, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable, we aim to inspire listeners to ask questions, bring new perspectives, and spark ideas of change that will move our nation forward together,” said Paul Buccieri, president and chairman of A+E Networks. 

The podcast will be released in 2024. 

Podcast Week: in the middle

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