Podcast Week: Kicking goals with The Sport, The Imperfects, + more

Podcast Week: Em Rusciano

• Radio Today Podcast Awards, SBS, Google and Squiz Kids, Maddy MacRae, Australian Birth Stories, Apple Podcasts, Osher Günsberg, The Pineapple Project

Compiled by Tess Connery and Grace Gollasch

Tackling the biggest sports stories on LiSTNR’s The Sport

LiSTNR and Schwartz Media have officially launched their first co-produced podcast, The Sport. Going behind the biggest stories of the week will be sports presenter Sam Squiers and The Saturday Paper’s associate editor Martin McKenzie-Murray.

Podcast Week’s Tess Connery spoke to Squiers and McKenzie-Murray about kicking goals with the new podcast.

The Sport isn’t the first sports podcast on the market, but the pair say that there is one major aspect that makes it stand out amongst the crowd.

McKenzie-Murray: We don’t want to do the match summary. It’s not just in sport, but in all news – there’s quite a frenzied cycle, and it becomes never-ending. There is some analysis, but not that much in this unforgiving cycle. So what we want to do is delve a little more deeply into personalities of sport or issues of sport – we want to provide context.”

Squiers: It’s not just what happened in sport, it’s why it matters to you, and why you should care. We don’t stop at what happened on the field, we ask why is that particular thing really important? What is the history and the context of that? Why does it matter to me and to my family?”

Listnr the sport

With a news cycle that turns over so rapidly, the team at The Sport have no shortage of stories to tackle every week. The pair say that the decision as to what they’ll cover comes down to both appeal and passion.

Squiers: We try to pick a subject that has universal appeal to a lot of people, but also a conversation that a lot of people are talking about, so we can provide something different in that discussion or that debate.”

McKenzie-Murray: “Our personal tastes won’t dictate all of it, but it’s important that we are really interested in the story. I’ve always felt as a journo that writing feature pieces, I’m asking the reader to stay with me for up to 10,000 words. If I’m not interested in it, I can’t expect the reader – or in this case, the listener – to be interested. It’s not entirely dictated by our tastes and our interests, but we have to have some fascination, love, interest, and curiosity about the subject.”

When it comes to what exactly it it that takes their interest, the answer varies between the two. 

Squiers: Definitely the women’s sports and a female perspective on sport. It’s something that I’m very passionate about – I’m passionate about equality in sports and changing that sporting landscape. 

“I watch someone like Kelli Underwood and think ‘yes, you’re saying what I’m thinking, and no one else is saying it!’, so I want to be a different point of view. I think that’s probably one of my strengths – I do look at issues and stories in sports very differently. I’ve always been fascinated by women’s sports and been a strong advocate for women.”

McKenzie-Murray: I’m a fan, and so as such, I have my preferred sports and my preferred team – but I’m also a pretty curious journo. Some of my better interviews are with people who aren’t necessarily tied to my personal preferences.

“In the past year, my favourite interview is probably with David Smerdon, who’s one of Australia’s few chess grandmasters. I’m someone that hasn’t played chess beyond about the age of nine – I’m terrible! He’s exceptionally smart, as you might expect, and he’s played arguably the greatest chess player of all time, Magnus Carlsen. He could give me this beautifully intimate and articulate recreation of that moment and what it was like to play against this historic genius. 

“I enjoy footy, basketball, cricket, and soccer, but the sporting world is much larger than my interests. Some of the most interesting interviews I’ve done aren’t dictated by my preferences, but rather by the person I’m speaking to.”

Ultimately, the pair hope that The Sport will help people bring confidence to water cooler conversations about the latest in sporting news

McKenzie-Murray: If people can go ’I didn’t think I had any interest in this, but I’m really fascinated by X subject,’ that would be very enjoyable for me.”

Squiers: If we provide something that people hadn’t already thought of, or we challenge them on how they think about sport in general, or if we provide extra insight and viewpoints on a sports issue, then I think we would definitely get the job done.”

[Listen to The Sport here]

Hugh van Cuylenburg on The Imperfect method for podcast success 

Off the back of the July Podcast Ranker results, The Imperfects podcast with Josh & Hugh van Cuylenburg and Ryan Shelton has made it into the top 10 for the first time.

The Imperfects discusses all things mental health, shining a light on the struggles and imperfections of some of Australia’s top media personalities, sports stars, and entrepreneurs.

Debuting in the top 100 in March last year, the podcast, which aims to share “how perfectly imperfect we all are,” has experienced a gradual climb up the charts.

Podcast Week’s Grace Gollasch spoke to Hugh van Cuylenburg about the results and what’s in store for the podcast’s future.

With the recent rise in popularity, van Cuylenburg says he can’t pinpoint a sole reason for the increase but has welcomed the positive feedback with open arms.

“We just like sharing stories that we think will help people. We never know how much it’s helping or who it’s helping, but it’s nice to get that feedback that people are tuning in.

“There’s so much doom and gloom going on around the world right now. I wonder if people are tuning in because they’ll get a good laugh out of the podcast, but also take away some practical strategies to help them cope, get up, feel happier, and improve their mental health in a challenging time,” he said.

Van Cuylenburg is the founding director of The Resilience Project – an initiative that delivers emotionally engaging programs to schools, sports clubs and businesses, providing practical, evidence-based mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness.

“The Resilience Project has a very big following, but it’s nice for them [the community] to have a place they can check in with weekly. Prior to the podcast, they read the books, or they’d seen me speak somewhere, and then they would wait for the next year for me to go and speak again.

“So I think it’s given the Resilience Project community a weekly check in, which is really nice.”

The seeds of the show originated from a vulnerable conversation between van Cuylenburg and co-host Ryan Shelton.

“When I heard Ryan wasn’t okay, it automatically made me feel more like it was okay for me to struggle as well. And then I had the idea that other well-known people could share their imperfections, their insecurities and their struggles.”

Hugh van Cuylenburg

Despite the recent climb in ranks, van Cuylenburg said the team aren’t big into goal setting regarding metrics.

“We just want to continue to help people,” he said. “We’re going to create content that will help people cope better in these challenging times, but also help them feel happier.”

“We don’t have any goals for the podcast as far as downloads or rankings; it’s about continuing to help people in a time when they need help.”

When looking to the future of the podcast, van Cuylenburg said the team will be moving from working one day a week to full-time next year, with an overseas trip in the works as well.

“We just love creating the show so much that it’s at a point now where we can all do that.

We are so unbelievably grateful to the guests who come on our podcast and are willing to open up and be really vulnerable because, without them, there is no podcast.”

[Listen to The Imperfects here]

Osher Günsberg hints at “clucking good” podcast with Masked Singer contestant

The Masked Singer host, Osher Günsberg, has hinted at a possible podcast collaboration with Masked Singer contestant, Rooster.

In a reply to a tweet that said: “Osher and a rooster the duo we never knew we needed,” Günsberg replied: “We’ve already started a podcast.

“It’s clucking good.”

the sport

Günsberg has a bi-weekly podcast, Better Than Yesterday, that brings listeners a conversation that “hopes to help you make today a little better than yesterday.”

Guests on the podcast include Oscar winners, Olympic Gold Medal winners, highly successful entrepreneurs and high-powered politicians. Could the next guest be the Rooster?

There is speculation that the Rooster is Australian actor and musician, Hugh Sheridan based on clues and voice. Abbie Chatfield is the only panellist to pick the Rooster as Sheridan, pointing to the number of references to ‘family’ in the clue package because of their many years playing Ben Rafter on the Aussie TV family drama, Packed to the Rafters.

Radio Today Podcast Awards 2022 announce winners

Radio Today Podcast Awards 2022 have announced the winners of the second annual awards.

The awards include 15 categories such as podcast host or presenter of the year, radio show podcast of the year and podcast company of the year. This also included the winner of The RØDE Prize.

Below are the categories, with the winner in bold:

Podcast Host or Presenter of the Year:
Victoria Devine – She’s on the money
Andrew Bucklow – I’ve got news for you
Matthew Bevan – China, if you’re listening
Maria Lewis – The Phantom Never Dies
Mark Howard – The Howie Games

Branded Podcast of the Year:
Rule Benders – Acast
Closing The Net – Australian Federal Police
Beauty IQ Uncensored – Adore Beauty
Brain Fuel

Audio Producer of the Year:
Tiffany Dimmack
Andrea Thiis-Evensen
Darcy Thomson
Phil Horn

Podcast Executive Leader of the Year:
Corey Layton – iHeart Podcast Network Australia

Claire Harvey – The Australian
Guy Scott-Wilson – Acast

[Head here for the full list]

SBS announces second podcast pitch callout to diverse Australian voices

In the second podcast pitch callout for SBS, the broadcaster has called for Australian podcasters to submit ideas exhibiting originality and diversity in storytelling as part of its campaign to build on its podcast offering. The broadcaster’s podcast offering centres on providing news, information and entertainment in more than 60 languages.

With the broadcaster on the hunt for more original ideas, David Hua, director of audio and language content at SBS, said “As SBS’s audio offering continues to grow, we are increasingly focused on using podcasts as an engaging way to tell diverse stories and share new ideas.”


The callout is open to podcasters at any level of experience, and podcasts in different languages or that are multilingual are encouraged to be submitted. Those that are shortlisted will work with the SBS Audio & Language podcast team, to focus on developing the idea to a potential commission.

Submissions are now open and will close on Monday 12 September 2022. All ideas must be submitted via the online form on the SBS website.

Google and Squiz Kids partner on Newshounds media literacy program

Daily news podcast for 8-12yos, Squiz Kids has announced a partnership with the Google News Initiative in 2022-23 to launch the literacy program Newshounds into primary schools across Australia and New Zealand.

A plug-and-play structure, Newshounds by Squiz Kids is a media literacy resource that delivers eight x 10-minute podcasts with complementing in-classroom activities. “We created Newshounds to make kids critical consumers of media – to teach them to stop, think and check before believing everything they come across on the internet,” said Bryce Corbett, Squiz Kids director.

squiz kids

Foundational to Newshounds are engaging board-game style activities that provide children with skills to identify misinformation. The partnership will provide classrooms across Australia and New Zealand with access to Newshounds for free.

Already piloted in Australia, Newshounds has garnered positive feedback, with teachers reporting an increase in confidence in teaching media literacy skills in the classroom.

[Listen to Squiz Kids here]

TikTok star, Maddy MacRae, launches new podcast, Sometimes Funny Always Awkward

TikTok creator, Maddy MacRae has launched the Sometimes Funny Always Awkward podcast following an exclusive partnership between DM Podcasts and Born Bred Talent. 

The 29-year-old, based in Sydney’s inner west is famous for her raw and honest sense of humour and frank depictions of navigating the dating pool in the 21st century as a millennial.

The new podcast released every Wednesday is a light-hearted conversation between two friends on the challenges in the world of “sex, romance, friendship and all that falls between” in a digital age.

the sport

MacRae said on the launch of her podcast, “There’s a real expectation to act a certain way by the age of 25, and I’m just here to disprove that.

“Some of my friends are engaged or married, and some are single and I feel like the podcast which I host together with my engaged friend, Grace, offers an insight into both worlds.”

MacRae, who gained over 750,000 in the last six months, attributes her success to her “relatable content” playing the “balancing act of being a millennial on a Gen Z platform like TikTok.” Additionally, 25-34-year-olds make up the second-largest demographic on TikTok, accounting for 282 million users or 32% of total users on the platform.

[Listen to Sometimes Funny Always Awkward here]

Australian Birth Stories reaches new high

The Australian Birth Stories podcast by Sophie Walker has reached 9 million downloads, jumping from 4.7 million this time last year.

Australian Birth Stories shares the unique pregnancy and birth experiences of Australian women. To date, ABS has had over 9 million downloads, boasts an online community of 140,000 mothers, mothers-to-be and midwives, and has shared the birth stories of over 300 women, including Turia Pitt, Zoe Foster-Blake, Ash London, Steph Claire Smith and Emma Isaacs.

the sport

This past year, the podcast advertising revenue and related product revenue jumped 177% in 12 months crossing the $1 million mark in 2022.

Walker has also launched a series of educational courses for parents to help them prepare and recover from the pregnancy process and recently signed on to write a book on these topics with Murdoch Books.

[Listen to Australian Birth Stories here]

Apple Podcasts launches two new top charts for paid podcasts

Apple Podcasts has introduced charts for the top 100 most-subscribed shows and channels available on the platform.

The two new charts — Top Subscriber Shows and Top Subscriber Channels — will be available to users in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

Based on a mix of subscription numbers and listener engagement, Morbid – the true crime podcast hosted by Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh Kelley — is the top subscription show in the U.S and Canada, while Wondery+ is the top subscription channel.

the sport

In Australia, Casefile True Crime with “Casey” is the top Australian paid show on the charts. The Deep with Zoe Marshall is second in the rankings, followed by Morbid, Australian True Crime with Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb and 7am with Ruby Jones from Schwartz Media.

Hamish & Andy Unlimited is the top channel in Australia.

Apple first launched its paid subscription offering in June 2021. Creators could set prices as low as 49 cents per month, with Apple receiving a 30 percent cut of the revenue during the first year and 15 percent in subsequent years.

The Pineapple Project returns for a seventh season

ABC’s The Pineapple Project podcast has returned for its seventh season.

The new series called, Even More Frugal, is presented by Nazeem Hussain and discusses tips and tricks for reducing spending with experts and special guests.

The latest season will look at spending less, spending better, and understanding why we buy things in the first place. The eigh-part series will give ways to save money on fashion, pets, travel, cars, phones, food and at the gym.

Episodes are released weekly and cover topics such as having a baby, dating, home energy, meal prepping, and buying and selling second-hand items online.

[Listen to The Pineapple Project here]

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