Podcast Week: Mark Pesce, Nazeem Hussain, Sony Music series launch

• Promotions at PodcastOne, H&A Power Moves, Audible award winners

Mark Pesce warms to climate change topics

PodcastOne host Mark Pesce started off 2020 with a series of 11 episodes under the Betabank brand. Since then he has also revisited an old brand he had called The Next One Billion Cars. More recently he has been focusing on his The Next Billion Seconds brand which looks at the rate of change humans are facing today. Specifically in his past few episodes he has looked at the impact of climate change.

“The first three episodes of the current Users Guide to the Future are climate focused,” Pesce told Mediaweek. “However the next are dealing with quite different things – air travel and the future of work. The theory here is to look at all the risks that we knew about because we got bushwhacked by a risk we weren’t thinking about. The climate risks are quite front of mind, but would be more so if there hadn’t been a pandemic this year. We are at a point where climate science is not a political matter but an economic one.”

While Covid gives Pesce the opportunity to revise his earlier work, he told Mediaweek: “It is still too early to update everything. Our episode on the future of air travel will explain how different it will be. We already know that around half of the world’s 300 international airlines are not going to make it out. It’s likely that many of the other airlines will be re-nationalised. Qantas might be the Australian flag carrier again.”

The airline episode will also answer how can people fly safely again in the period that might last as long as 24 months until the world gets a Covid vaccine. “It won’t happen overnight. In the new episodes I am having a much tighter focus on the future instead of the next billion seconds which is 30 years. In every episode people will be able to walk away with something they can do right now to prepare.

Pesce said the episode that dropped this week about avoiding catastrophic bushfires and making homes safer in bushfires is close to his favourite of everything he has done. “It is both very helpful in showing how to get rid of megafires and also has information about how to inspect your home. This is the biggest challenge Australia faces in terms of catastrophic dangers.”

Pesce has plans to revisit the future of cars, but he said he needs to wait until we get to the other side of Covid. “I would love to do a show on the different kinds of transport emerging, but it is too early. Maybe it will be another year yet. I am also interested in exploring how we need to stay well. One of the things that got exposed in the pandemic was that people who didn’t take care of themselves got a much rougher ride than someone who had. That will bring a focus on wellness, particularly for people in middle age, they didn’t have before.”

Listen to The Next Billion Seconds here.

Sony Music Australia & New Zealand launches podcast series

Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand has launched its flagship podcast series Time To Talk hosted by music industry journalist Sean Sennett. The series features in-depth interviews with musicians, artists, authors, leaders, thinkers, actors, filmmakers and sports people.

Time to Talk is available now on Spotify, Apple and other podcast platforms, with the first episode featuring Daryl Braithwaite.

Weekly episodes slated for release over the coming weeks include Amy Shark, Josh Pyke, Pete Murray, Ruel, Troy Cassar-Daly, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Colin Hay, John Schumann of Redgum, Ross Wilson, legendary cricketers Dennis Lillee and Steve Waugh, rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston and acclaimed author Trent Dalton.

As Sony Music’s first official homegrown foray into podcasting, it takes the listener on the equivalent of a ‘conversational deep dive’.

“Working with Sony Music on Time to Talk is a thrill for me,” said Sean Sennett. “Denis Handlin and the team at Sony Music Australia are committed to bringing the best talent that is possible to the series, creating a special forum for conversation.”

“I have always had tremendous respect for Sean Sennett and I am so pleased that he has decided to join our company for Time to Talk,” said Handlin, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand. “His unique ability to sit down with talent and make them feel incredibly comfortable to share their story is a gift.”

In New Zealand, Sony Music artist Paige has released her own podcast series featuring interviews with special guests.

Iconic New Zealand artist Brooke Fraser is close to finishing recording a podcast to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of her revered Flags album. A behind the scenes look features interviews with Brooke and the people behind the album.

Listen to Time to Talk here.

New roles for Cavanagh and Goggin at SCA/PodcastOne

Jennifer Goggin

SCA has made two senior digital audio appointments, as part of its growth strategy focusing on audio on demand and podcasting.

Sam Cavanagh becomes SCA head of entertainment and news content – digital audio, and Jennifer Goggin becomes SCA head of features and special interest content – digital audio.

Cavanagh will develop and grow the on-demand content slate for SCA and PodcastOne Australia across culture, comedy, and news. This year he has driven the successful launch of daily news podcast The Briefing and new daily comedy podcast, Matt & Alex – All Day Breakfast.

Sam Cavanagh

Sam Cavanagh

Goggin has been content director at PodcastOne Australia for the past 2.5 years and in her new role she will focus on specialist audio on demand features, true and real crime, health and wellbeing, business and tech, branded content and emerging on demand and podcasting categories. Prior to joining SCA in 2018, Goggin was a radio, podcast and audio series producer at BBC. At PodcastOne Australia, Goggin has been responsible for commissioning and developing original podcast content as well as the development of the podcast production team. She has been executive producer on more than 30 original Australian podcast series to date.

Both appointments are effective immediately, and will report to Dave Cameron, SCA chief content officer, and Grant Tothill, head of PodcastOne Australia.

Hamish and Andy: The Power Moves book

The Hamish and Andy podcast continues to flourish ranking #2 on August Podcast Ranker. With no new Nine show (yet) for the duo, the PodcastOne series is the only way to experience them together these days.

The Hamish and Andy loyalty card has finally been released which has been a long-term project that was delayed with many Melbourne retailers being forced into lockdown this year.

Another project the hosts are working on is a Power Moves book. Podcast executive producer Sarah Grynberg told Mediaweek the Power Moves segment is one of the most popular regular parts of the podcast. “Listeners have been writing in for the past couple of years with their favourite power moves they have experienced in life. It is so unbelievably popular and we get so many emails that bring us so much joy we have decided to publish a coffee table book soon.”

Listen to the Hamish and Andy podcast here.

Nazeem Hussain’s Survivor’s Guide with Shane Jacobson

Earlier this year iHeartPodcast Network Australia announced it had partnered with Australian comedian Nazeem Hussain for his Survivor’s Guide with Nazeem series.

Since then he has built a library of over 40 episodes. Shane Jacobson was a recent guest and the episode covered Shane’s experience being trolled online after his involvement in the government’s Covid-19 ads. It is a fascinating discussion around the impact on him and how he called one of the trolls to talk to him person to person. Trolling is an issue that troubles many people, moving many to quit some or all of their social media accounts.

Other recent episodes of Survivor’s Guide have included Ryan Shelton’s Guide to Passata and Melissa Leong’s Guide to Fridge Organisation.

Listen to Nazeem with Shane Jacobson here.

Who shares $20,000 funding for new podcasts?

Four new audio projects have been selected as winners of the Australian Writers’ Guild and Audible’s On Air Podcast Writing Competition, presented with support from Screen Australia.

Four Australian writers – Candice Bowers, Emme Hoy, India Dupre and Michele Lee – will have their chance to develop new stories.

The four winners share $20,000 of development funding.

The judges said each of the winning projects could not be more different. In How Do I Let You Die, award-winning playwright Michele Lee reflects with humour on her relationship with family, death and ghosts, while in Stripped: The Margaret Dupre Story, India Dupre tells the extraordinary true tale of a mother’s quest to be reunited with her children.

In the fiction category, Emme Hoy‘s Left Behind takes audiences on a thrilling spiral into a darkly comedic and apocalyptic world, following a secretary tasked with solving her own murder while running hell’s propaganda division. Meanwhile, Candice Bowers‘ hilarious Bottlo2560 is the audio answer to the classic fall from grace narrative, in which a sommelier has to pick up the pieces of her life while working in her home-town bottle shop.

Ben Naparstek, Audible’s head of content for Audible Australia and New Zealand said: “It was a pleasure to collaborate with the Australian Writers’ Guild and Screen Australia for the On Air Podcast Writing Competition. The enthusiastic and considered response from talented Australian writers demonstrates just how many local creatives are now turning to the audio medium.”

Australian Podcast Awards announces 2020 partners

The Australian Podcast Awards (APAs) has announced its list of 2020 partners, showcasing the growing support for premium Australian audio-on-demand content both locally and globally.

Supporting podcasts big and small, eight Gold Partners have joined this year’s event, including Acast, iHeart Podcast Network Australia, Nova Entertainment, Omny Studio from Triton Digital, PodcastOne Australia and Spotify; podcast production house Piccolo Podcasts; podcast marketing platform Podfollow and podcast industry news publication Podnews.

Matt Deegan, director at the Australian Podcast Awards, said: “While it’s been a tough year for the creative industry, podcasting content and listen numbers continue to skyrocket. The overwhelming support shown by our Award partners is testament to the strength of the industry and its faith in Aussie-made content. We cannot wait for this year’s awards – an opportunity to celebrate some of the best and brightest local podcasting content and talent there is.”

The Australian Podcast Awards launched in 2016 as a way to showcase the amazing podcast talent and content Australia has to offer. Now in its fifth year, the awards continues to recognise the local industry’s most listened to, innovative and emerging podcast content with over 20 award categories.

Submissions for the Australian Podcast Awards are now open. Nominees will be selected by a judging panel of industry experts before the category winners are announced at a virtual event in November.

2020 entries close September 25. Enter here.

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