Podcast Week: Robert Riggs and Bill Johnston, Lisa Wilkinson, SBS

Linda Marigliano

• Plus Pro Podcast Production, Australian Podcast Awards, Piccolo Podcasts, Diana Chan

Compiled by Trent Thomas and Tess Connery

LiSTNR adds to crime stable with Robert Riggs and his True Crime Reporter podcast

Robert Riggs and his award-winning True Crime Reporter podcast series is now on LiSTNR. The series draws inspiration from Riggs’ career of reporting real life crime stories for over three decades.

This is the first time Australians will have easy access to all of Riggs’ catalogue of work which will be published weekly. The series will include True Crime Extra, a features-based approach to his true crime storytelling, True Crime Confidential, an interview-based series of episodes, and Texas Rangers Files that delve into cases from one of the most legendary law enforcement agencies in the world.

Riggs, who has won the George Foster Peabody Award for investigative reporting, and his co-host, former Federal Prosecutor Bill Johnston, discuss real crimes from Riggs’ reporter’s notebooks and Johnston’s case files.

Podcast Week’s Trent Thomas spoke with Riggs and Johnson about their shows and their reaction to being distributed in Australia through LiSTNR.

Robert Riggs

Riggs said that he was initially encouraged to do these podcasts by a number of law enforcement officers.

RR: “Most of the true crime podcasts they didn’t think were real. So, I opened up my reporter’s notebooks and they opened up their case files.”

When it comes to how the podcasts showed up on LiSTNR, Riggs said it all started from an approach from a party in the states.

RR: “I was approached by a cutting-edge venture capitalist in digital media out of LA who had heard the podcast and was working with SCA. That’s how all this started, he said they’re really looking for strong true crime content. They loved it and we were tickled to death. The US market is real crowded in true crime, I think that our biggest audiences may end up in Australia, the UK, Canada and other places. We are excited for people in Australia to hear our stories.”

BJ: “There is some connection, I don’t know what it is – perhaps it’s just intangible – between the huge space of West Texas and the huge space of Australia. That and the mentality of Texans being pretty sure they’re better than anyone but not wanting to always say that and the Australians who are known to be tough and cool and all that. Something about that resonates.”

The thing that separates the True Crime Reporter brand from other true crime podcasts is the amount of real-life experience that the hosts have when it comes to crime.

BJ: “So much of true crime, as they call it now, is this sort of overwatched observer’s take on something, but by someone who has never done it and never been in the ugly part of it. Both Robert and I were in the ugly part of it, the sharp edge blade of it, when these things were happening. It’s wonderful in a way to tell the stories as horrific as they are. It’s frankly somewhat cathartic to be able to talk about it, and maybe people learn from it.”

Starting Strong

The first season of True Crime Reporter features Kenneth Allen McDuff, one of the worst serial killers in US history, and the pair said they chose it because he may be the worst serial killer that you have never heard of.

RR: “Bill was the central figure that started the manhunt for Kenneth McDuff, and nobody would do it, but he did it. Then I exposed that the parole board chairman was selling paroles, Bill came in behind me and formed a Grand Jury and prosecuted the parole board chairman.”

The episodes centred on McDuff are now currently in production with Big Media TV in New York City for a television streaming series that will be distributed worldwide.

True Crime Reporter Texas Ranger Files

One of the shows in the suite of True Crime Reporter podcasts joining LiSTNR is The True Crime Reporter Texas Ranger Files podcast which takes listeners into classic police procedurals with homicide detectives.

RR: “The Rangers work in what we call the rural area or maybe you call it the Outback in Australia. The small-town newspapers are gone, and you don’t really hear these stories and they have some of the most intriguing, bizarre homicide stories of anywhere.”

[Listen to True Crime Reporter here]

Lisa Wilkinson among the guests joining The Books That Changed My Life season two

Shameless Media podcast Shameless Presents: The Books That Changed My Life is returning for a second season of conversations with Australia’s leading writers and personalities.

Throughout this new season, hosts Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald’s will welcome guests such as Big Little Lies’ author Liane Moriarty, The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson and comedian Wil Anderson to discuss books that had a profound effect on them.

Shameless Media

In the first episode, Wilkinson joins Andrews and McDonald to chat about the three books that mean a lot to her, and then discusses her memoir It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This, sharing the truth about her much-discussed last day as co-host at the Today show and how she’s survived the recent barrage of criticism.

In the podcast, Wilkinson details how Michelle Obama’s famous quote: “When they go low, we go high,” was her mantra in writing her autobiography and in weathering the subsequent controversy over what she shared in its pages.

She also answers her critics, saying she stands by every story she has told in It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This, including that she had a frosty final day on the Today show set.

Other guests this season include presenter and speaker, Jamila Rizvi, award-winning fashion and beauty magazine editor Justine Cullen, champion swimmer Shayna Jack and journalist Meg Mason. It will also feature a special bonus episode with Shameless Media Podcast Producer, Annabelle Lee

[Listen to Shameless Presents: The Books That Changed My Life here]

SBS launches its first bilingual series in English and Italian

SBS has launched its first ever bilingual podcast series – The Ugly Ducklings of Italian Cuisine (Scarrafoni in cucina) in English and Italian – celebrating the most delicious, non-Instagrammable Italian dishes that might never have come across your plate.

The first two episodes are available in English and Italian on the SBS Radio app and all popular podcast platforms.  

Over the course of six episodes, the series will follow some of Australia and Italy’s most well-known chefs and food critics, including acclaimed restaurateur and food personality Guy Grossi, celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow, and food blogger and author Emiko Davies, as they explore and celebrate Italy’s least appetizing specialties.   

From a much-loved rigatoni that uses the intestines of an unweaned calf, to a celebratory Carnevale pudding made of chocolate and pig’s blood, each episode will introduce listeners to a new recipe – uncovering a fascinating history and serving up a reminder that food shouldn’t always be taken at face value.

Episodes of The Ugly Ducklings of Italian Cuisine will drop every Wednesday. 

[Listen to The Ugly Ducklings of Italian Cuisine – Scarrafoni in Cucina here]

Pro Podcast Production opens new studio and celebrates 200th podcast series

Pro Podcast Production has officially launched its new podcast studio. Darcy Milne, founder and 2021 podcast audio producer of the year winner, said “We are so excited to offer a new, premium space for podcasters to record, attend masterclasses and get access to the best expertise for their podcast.”

The new studio is located at 1 Sussex Street, Barangaroo and is fitted with broadcast quality equipment, allowing up to 8 people to attend in person or connect virtually.

Star of Amazon’s Lux Listings Sydney, Gavin Rubinstein, has been one of the first to record his podcast in the new studio.

Star of Lux Listings Sydney, Gavin Rubinstein, recording in the new studio

Pro Podcast Production specialises in creating independent podcasts and is also celebrating the creation of its 200th podcast series.

Before podcasting, Milne spent 10 years in radio most notably as the audio producer for Kate, Tim, and Marty where he won the ACRA for best achievement in Production before leaving to start Pro Podcast Production.

Piccolo Podcasts revs its engine in On The Couch With Hooly

Piccolo Podcasts in conjunction with race car driver and motorsport professional, Dan ‘Hooly’ Holihan, will launch a new motorsports podcast on Tuesday 30th November. 

Titled On The Couch With Hooly, each episode will feature an in-depth interview with racing drivers, team owners and personalities down the pit lane to find out about the highs and lows of their careers, their life outside of racing and why they love the sport so much. 

“I want to take listeners behind the scenes to see what it takes to get involved in the motorsports business and look at the things that need to change,” said Holihan. 

On the Couch with Hooly is an interview podcast series produced by Piccolo Podcasts. It will be released on all major podcasting platforms this Tuesday 30th November. 

[Listen to On The Couch With Hooly here]

Hireup’s A Nation Changed with Kurt Fearnley shortlisted for three Australian Podcast Awards

A Hireup-commissioned and sponsored podcast, A Nation Changed with Kurt Fearnley, has been shortlisted for three Australian Podcast Awards, with the winners to be announced on 2 December.

A Nation Changed with Kurt Fearnley is a finalist in the Best Documentary, Smartest Podcast, and Best Branded Podcast categories, among podcasts produced by leading media organisations and podcasting heavyweights.

Hireup’s Andrew Thomas says, “The podcast takes a deep dive into the history of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – one of the greatest social reforms in Australia’s history – starting with former prime minister Julia Gillard getting the funding scheme through parliament in 2013. It tells the story through interviews with politicians and Australian executives, but mostly importantly, with Australians living with disability, about why it was so desperately needed, its successes and its failures.”

The podcast’s host, Kurt Fearnley, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist and two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, has been fundamental to the success of the series. Bringing his own life experiences into the discussion of the evolution and operation of the NDIS, Fearnley has been able to unpick why the government wants to introduce independent assessments and what that may mean for participants in the scheme.

[Listen to A Nation Changed with Kurt Fearnley here]

Diana Chan releases her debut pod with DM Podcasts

From accountant to MasterChef winner to entrepreneur and media personality, Diana Chan is now adding podcaster to her list of many successes.

Out now, Turning Point with Diana Chan delves into the creative minds of influential people to uncover how they achieved success from turning a passion into a reality.

“Hosting a podcast and being given the opportunity to interview like-minded and interesting individuals is a real honour for me. It’s been such a lovely experience learning about the guests and just how interesting their lives are. In all of this, their openness and kindness has humbled me, and the overall responses to the experience has made it so easy to just have a good chat, and get to know each other a little better, whilst making some fabulous content that I think listeners will love,” Chan says.

Behind every success story is a turning point. Listeners can join Chan each Monday as she explores stories that inspire, educate, entertain, and enable listeners on their own journey of success.

Turning Point with Diana Chan is the latest addition to DM Podcasts, which will feature on the NOVA Entertainment Podcast Network (NEPN) as a part of an ongoing partnership.

[Listen to Turning Point with Diana Chan here]

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