Podcast Week: Katie Williams’ new podcast & Charlie Pickering’s time travels

The Beanies

• Plus Ms Represented, Nova announces two new pods, iHeartPodcast Network’s numbers, and Browny’s Podcast

Following her turn as a reality TV star on Big Brother, Katie Williams has returned to podcasting and is about to launch her new short-form podcast Live Better with Katie Williams.

The episodes will be 3 minutes in length and aim to give listeners quick and easy health hacks to start changing their habits.

Mediaweek‘s Trent Thomas caught up with Williams to discuss her new show as well as her time on Big Brother.

Live Better is a 50 part mini-series where we get the best golden nuggets from the podcast as a summary, which will be really cool.

“We are about a third of the way into that and it will be coming out soon.”

The new show will fill the gap of her regular podcast Better for it with Katie Williams, while her body recovers from a busy few months and a gut problem.

“I am just having a break while I get my gut back on track then I will return to the challenges. I did 24 challenges back to back and then I did Big Brother.

“My body was like ‘okay shit, I think I need a rest’, so I spoke to Southern Cross Austereo and they said okay let’s do a little spin-off.”

Katie Williams

Williams said her experience on Big Brother allowed her to learn more about herself, and how much more she can push her body.

“I was just completely out of control in the house and was really thrown into the deep end. And I came out with a different perspective of how much more I could push my body which means I can go into some pretty bigger challenges.

“I was in the house for just under a month with no phone, you don’t know the time, you don’t know the day, and you’re not sleeping well.

“But the podcast made me all the better for it by doing all these different challenges like quitting coffee, quitting sugar, doing the sleep health challenge, the meditation challenge and the Wim Hof breath work which really helped prepare me for Big Brother because I had already done this challenges and pushed my body.

“The podcast and the Better For It challenges ultimately helped me because Big Brother was the ultimate Better For It challenge.”

With Williams about to launch her new podcast, Mediaweek asked if she was planning to do any more TV work after her experience on Big Brother, and she said she was open to the right opportunity.

“I would do a show if it was a challenging show, a fitness show, or I would do the Celebrity Apprentice, something that really pushes my mind and body.

“A tasteful show that benefits my self-development.”

During the Mediaweek chat, Williams revealed that she almost appeared on another Seven program instead of Big Brother, which was SAS Australia.

“It was just before Big Brother and I think they ended up using Erin McNaught instead of me.”

Charlie Pickering time travels with Audible

TV presenter and comedian Charlie Pickering has avoided his own podcast series. Until now that is, with the release of The Time Traveller’s Guide to Not Dying on the Audible platform.

“I have been very podcast curious for a long time,” Pickering told Mediaweek’s James Manning.

“I come from a comedy background with an almost infinite number of comedians recording on a microphone with varying levels of audio quality. It also might be because I have a bit of a radio background at triple j and I liked to make sketches with a great producer called Craig Schuftan. He now lives in Berlin and does crazy art projects. He was almost the George Martin of sketch comedy in studios.

I always had a feeling I wanted to do podcasting, but I didn’t want it to have low production quality. And I didn’t want it to be just a bunch of comedians in a room talking. Audible has made that possible. I have had this idea for a little while. It is a very high concept idea and you have to do it right. If you don’t it will sound the wrong type of ridiculous.”

Katie Williams

The podcast uses history for all its setups, with Pickering and his colleagues delivering the punchlines. Listeners get to travel to great moments of history – e.g, the Renaissance, the French Revolution – and meet history’s biggest names as well as history’s forgotten folk.

Pickering said he had a small, but great writing team. “The head writer was James Colley, who is also the head writer for The Weekly. We have written a lot together and we have worked together on the TV show for seven seasons.

“We also had a history researcher and another two writers – Rob Hunter and Cait Johnson. Rob is a writer for The Weekly and Cait is a writer for Hard Quiz. You can’t pull off a proper scripted audio show without a number of people in the room. You need people challenging your ideas. Something like this podcast could have become woefully self-indulgent very quickly without some other writers to tell me I am getting carried away.

The episodes were written during lockdown in Melbourne last year. “We had finished The Weekly and we were stuck in our houses. This podcast helped keep us sane.”

There are a number of voices on the podcast alongside Pickering including Claire Hooper and Frank Woodley.

Pickering explained the premise: “The series is almost like Getaway for a time machine. It takes place in the year 2040. This is the audio travel guide that comes with a new Timeslide 9000 time machine. I stay in the present, but the characters played by Claire and Frank travel back in history.”

There were plenty of fun debates during the production about all sorts of things, including what realistic time travel sounds like.

Pickering is a fan of both podcasts and audiobooks on Audible. “I am currently working my way through Stephen Fry reading the complete Sherlock Holmes.” A project that you need 72 hours to complete.

“I was an early adopter of podcasts and I am still always listing to podcasts as much as I can.”

His favourites include Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. “I also enjoyed the BBC’s 13 Minutes to the Moon. It tells the story of the moon landing from the control room at NASA as it happens.” He also consumes US politics podcasts. “But now we are post-Trump and I am less worried about the world ending, I have switched to US football podcasts.”

Pickering also listens to all Wil Anderson’s podcast output. “I used to be a dedicated cyclist and I’d listen to Wil as I rode up mountains.”

Try Audible for free here.

Annabel Crabb on her companion podcast to Ms Represented

Telling the story of Australian politics from the perspective of the women who led the way, Annabel Crabb’s Ms Represented comes to the ABC one hundred years after Australia elected Edith Cowan – the very first female Parliamentarian.

Mediaweek’s Tess Connery spoke to Crabb about the six-part podcast companion to Ms Represented that she hosts with Steph Tisdell.

“I find that some of these stories, particularly from the older women, are so shocking to younger women,” says Crabb.

“Some of it is so recent – when I was born there weren’t even women’s toilets in the Senate – it’s quite recent history and some of it is quite shocking. I found that talking to younger women about it was really interesting.”

Ms Represented

Crabb says that the podcast came to be because there was simply too much content to fit into the original TV show.

“We had all these stories that women had told us and we didn’t have enough room to fit them all in the show, which is four half hours.

“So I rang Steph Tisdell who is a young comedian whose work I really admire. She’s a very thoughtful, curious, and a very smart person. I asked her if she’d consider doing a podcast with me where I basically just download and play her all this stuff and monitor her reaction as a much younger woman, and she was kind enough to say yes!”

For Crabb, the goal of the podcast is the same as the goal for the TV series: recording women’s experiences in the halls of Australia’s parliament, no matter who they are.

“Basically, I’m just trying to continue what appealed to me most about this project, it’s an oral history project. Women sharing stories – some of them funny, some of them shocking – from their lives around politics and with each other across generations and across the political divide.”

[Listen to Ms Represented here]

Crabb also co-hosts podcast Chat 10 Looks 3 with Leigh Sales

Editor Scott Henderson launches Live Life in Sneakers

Scott Henderson has announced a partnership with Nova Entertainment for his first podcast series as a brand extension of Sneakers titled Live Life in Sneakers.

The weekly podcast, released every Tuesday, will be hosted by Henderson, editor of Men’s Health Australia and editor of Sneakers.

Through the sharing of inspirational stories, the podcast explores what it’s like to live your life in metaphorical sneakers. Every discussion is designed to pass on the tools for bettering yourself, and the world around you.

“We are proud to be partnering with Scott on his latest venture in podcasting,” said Kane Reiken, Nova Entertainment digital commercial director. “Not only is he a top bloke, but a leading voice in men’s health, fitness & wellbeing. Every episode of Live Life in Sneakers delivers a real commitment to help listeners unlock the tools required for true self-improvement, all guided by personal stories from some of Australia’s biggest identities,” 

The first episode features Ant Middleton, and future guests include the Stenmark twins, Human Nature and Nova’s Joel Creasey.

[Listen to Live Life in Sneakers here]

iHeartPodcast Network Australia June data from 1m devices

New hear podcast Network Australia podcast listener data from over 1m Australian devices in June – from podcast technology provider Megaphone – shows consistent growth across its most popular categories year-on-year.

The Entertainment & Lifestyle category remains the most popular on the iHeartPodcast Network while Catchup Radio is the second most popular category – up 69% year-on-year.

Consistent year-on-year growth was also seen across popular podcast categories including True Crime (up 366%), Comedy (up 44%), Sport (up 178%), Business (up 43%) and (up 196%).

Year-on-year, national total downloads on the iHeartPodcast Network for June are up 58%.

Josh Szeps joins Nova Entertainment for The Rush

ABC Radio Sydney broadcaster Josh Szeps will make himself a human guinea pig in the new original podcast from Nova Entertainment, The Rush.

Over eight weekly episodes, the podcast looks at how our brains get a biochemical rush from things such as sugar, fame, fear, stimulants, and sex. Szeps will experience them all in an attempt to understand what is happening.

Szeps said, “This has been the most insane show I’ve ever hosted. I’ve been force-fed fatty foods, fallen off a 119-metre tower, and been tied up in Japanese bondage rope. And that was just at the after-party. The Rush is a show you’ll love, or hate… or more likely, love-hate. Nova is crazy for commissioning it. I’m hugely grateful, and sore.”

[Listen to The Rush here]

News Corp launches new AFL podcast with Jonathon Brown

News Corp Australia has launched Browny’s Podcast, a weekly podcast with AFL legend and Fox Footy and Nova host Jonathan Brown

In every episode, Brown, alongside Campbell Brown, and broadcaster Dean ‘Deano’ Thomas, will discuss the goings-on in footy that week. More than a big chat about footy, they also share insights and anecdotes about their lives and reveal career highs and lows.

Brown said: “This podcast is about a group of mates having some fun while providing some footy insights, hopefully the listeners enjoy the content as much as we enjoy putting it together.”

[Listen to Browny’s Podcast here]

Christian O’Connell to record a live How I Work Podcast

Amantha Imber, host of the How I Work Podcast will be doing a live taping with Gold FM Melbourne’s breakfast host, Christian O’Connell, as part of the Melbourne Podcast Festival on Saturday 31 July at Jam Factory, South Yarra. 

In the interview, she will be exploring things such as breakfast radio, overcoming mental health challenges, finding ideas and inspiration and interviewing some of the world’s biggest celebrities.

[Listen to How I Work Podcast here]

Buy tickets to the Melbourne Podcast Festival here.

Katie Williams

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