Podcast Week: Sam Squiers, Podcasters still open for business

• Plus Whooshkaa at home, Business flops, Finder’s Pocket Money

Sam Squiers champions women in sport

Sports reporter and presenter Sam Squiers is very dedicated to supporting her new PodcastOne series profiling women in sport On Her Game. She spoke to Mediaweek shortly before departing for the hospital to give birth to her second daughter. “Are you sure about this?” we asked. But she insisted and we didn’t keep her too long!

In recent years Squiers was the weekend sports presenter and a senior reporter for Nine in Queensland as well as host of Surfing Australia TV on Nine and Fox Sports. Before that she also worked for Sky News and WIN TV. Recently she decided to relocate to Sydney where her husband had taken a job and was initially commuting back and forth to Brisbane.

Squiers told Mediaweek she has always been an advocate for women’s sports. “That goes back to working in regional TV news through to working at Nine. I have always been trying to cover women’s sport stories in the media. In 2013 I launched a site dedicated to women’s sports – Sportette.com.au. With the subsequent explosion of women’s sport a podcast seemed a next good step. It’s a great medium with no word or time restrictions and my guests get to tell their stories in their own words.”

Squiers said she first started talking with PodcastOne nearly 12 months ago and after working on the concept with them started production late in 2019.

“I have really been touched about the guests in the first series – they have really opened up in very raw, honest interviews.”

Season one is nine episodes, with the last interviews recorded just before coronavirus strengthened its grip on Australia.

There will now be a bit of break while Squiers has her second girl. “They have been a bit of a motivator for me to. It makes me so proud knowing the sporting landscape is going to be completely different for them growing up.”

It was no surprise to Squiers that when mainstream media finally covered women’s sport in good timeslots it did well. “People were going, ‘Wow, so many people watched.’ This is what we have been trying to tell people for so long. So many people thought sport was for and about men, something I could never understand. I could never grasp that because I always loved sport and played it. After people telling us for years there was no audience for women’s sport and then seeing 86,000 at the Women’s World Cup Final was incredible.” Squiers admitted to blubbing at the start and then the finish when Australia won. “This is what happens when everybody works together.”

Of the six episodes released so far, Squiers has covered six separate sporting codes with Ellia Green (Rugby 7s), Katie Brennan (AFLW), Tiana Penitana (rugby league), Karrie Webb (golf), Carson Pickett (soccer) and Alyssa Healy (cricket).

Baby update: Elle Soleil Squiers has just been delivered at Wollongong Private Hospital. Photo on Sam’s Instagram.

Listen to On Her Game here.

PodcastOne & major podcasters remain ‘open for business’

Australia’s biggest podcasters are continuing to record and distribute new content despite the challenges COVID-19 poses.

“As the COVID-19 virus continues to have a major impact on the world, we are entering uncharted waters, that are extremely fluid and affecting how we go about our daily life,” PodcastOne head of podcasting Grant Tothill told its podcast partners this week.

“With the new Federal and State Government initiatives please know we are seeking all the available information and continually assessing our business decisions on a day to day basis.

“The health and wellbeing of our podcast creators, producers, sales team and staff at PodcastOne Australia is our first consideration.

Given SCA and PodcastOne Australia is considered an essential service, we are still open for business and have elected to operate as normal, utilising our studios and resources across Australia, in particular in Melbourne and Sydney so we can continue to create and publish podcasts to entertain and inform Australians.

Tothill then when on to detail health and safety measures at the Melbourne and Sydney podcast hubs, and also at 90 plus studios at parent company SCA around Australia that podcasters also utilise for PodcastOne recordings.

ARN’s commercial product and audio partnerships director Corey Layton told Mediaweek:

“All ARN and partner podcasts will absolutely continue to create and publish on the iHeartPodcast Network as usual. The beauty of audio – radio and podcasts – is we can record anywhere with just one or two people. Right now Australia is leaning into consuming content that provides information, education and entertainment and we will continue to produce new and original content for our audiences.”

Kane Reiken, Nova Entertainment’s digital commercial director told Mediaweek: “The intimacy and immediacy of podcasting allows brands to have meaningful, yet cost-effective conversations with their customers. We continue to produce and deliver award-winning branded podcasts, episodes and segments for clients, as well as original entertainment and show content, and are confident the medium will remain buoyant and continue its leading growth position.”

Andrew Brentnall, managing editor of the Nova Network added: “We are committed to continue to provide original content for our audience during these unique times. The Babble and Finding a Unicorn will continue to record so we can keep our communities connected through the power of audio and lift spirits amidst what is a tough time for a lot of people.”

Whooshkaa makes work-from-home tech free to schools

Private podcast technology developed by Australian company Whooshkaa – and key in the World Health Organisation’s continuity of learning advice for schools – is being offered free to schools worldwide.

Whooshkaa’s new technology, released last week, enables businesses, schools and groups to broadcast audio to specified listeners. The technology uses any existing podcast app on any smartphone, but the audio is exclusively available to those granted access by the podcaster.

“We created this as an internal communications tool to inform and engage employees – particularly those working remotely,” said Whooshkaa founder and CEO Rob Loewenthal. “But we can see it has enormous potential to support students and schools through this period of global upheaval.

“The WHO says academic podcasts are a key plank in continuity of learning plans. With this in mind, Whooshkaa will set up free Professional private podcast packages for schools from kindergarten to year 12, across Australia and right around the world.”

“Our business is podcasting,” he said. “We could see that leaders in business, research and many other professions wanted a way to update, engage and unite their teams – whether they’re at a city desk, in a home office, driving across a desert or in an airport lounge.”

Further information about Private Podcasts here.

The Great Fail business podcast

A recent series brought to our attention is The Great Fail – a business podcast told in a true-crime narrative on the deaths of great companies (and sometimes those not-so-great ones). The series debuted in early February with the death of LA Gear, and Google’s Glass, and it has since covered Crazy Eddie (from the 80s), the Fall of WeWork’s IPO and the death of Dr. Li, in a Special COVID-19 episode on the “whistleblower from Wuhan” released just last week.

The podcasters told Mediaweek that future episodes will be looking at some high-profiled VC funded companies that include the rise and fall of Juicero, Gawker, Theranos and some that are near and dear to us, including Tower Records, Pan Am, MySpace and Blockbuster.

Listen to The Great Fail here.

Finder’s Pocket Money podcast

Mediaweek’s Claudia Siron this week spoke to Kate Browne, managing editor of comparison site Finder, about recent developments including its podcast Pocket Money:

Something Browne has been passionate about since she began her role at Finder 18 months ago is building up the video production team, bringing in a creative director and developing podcasts. Finder has a team now that produces the weekly podcast, Pocket Money, with Browne as one of the hosts. The podcast looks at a whole range of financial topics as another way to engage with their audience and other potential audiences. “It takes the premise that money can sound really boring – I used to think it was boring too – but it involves everyone’s lives and it affects everything. Pocket Money is a bit of fun and it’s designed to be entertaining and informative.”

Read the complete Finder feature here.

Listen to Pocket Money here.

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