Podcast Week: Secrets We Keep season two, Lucy & Nikki join LiSTNR

Podcast Week: happy hour

AWGIE nomination, It’s A Lot, Noah Kahan

Compiled by Tess Connery

Lifting the lid on the world os spies: Secrets We Keep season two

The first season of LiSTNR’s Secrets We Keep told the story of Amelia Oberhardt, who went through her whole life thinking she knew her mum… until she passed away.

The second season – Secrets We Keep: Nest of Traitors – launches on Thursday 1 February, and delves into ASIO and what they were up to during the Cold War.

Over seven episodes, investigative journalist Joey Watson navigates the murky world of espionage on his hunt for a double agent.

Podcast Week’s Tess Connery spoke with Watcson about digging into the actions of a very secretive group.

“For as long as I’ve been a journalist, I’ve been obsessed with spy stories,” Watson said. “That’s partly because I think that these are powerful, taxpayer-funded institutions that are worthy of public inquiry, but also because I think the world of spycraft is incredibly alluring, entertaining, and interesting.”

In his quest to find spy stories – particularly stories from the Cold War era – Watson befriended spies from all around the country. It was these friends that eventually led him to a rumour that had been circulating amongst Australia’s intelligence workers since the 1990s. 

LiSTNR_Secrets We Keep

“I had started to notice this pattern. So many spy operations in Australia, particularly during the Cold War, had ended in failure. When I probed for theories as to why, I started to be presented with this rumour – the Australian spy agency, ASIO, had at some stage during the Cold War been penetrated by a mole. An Australian spy had turned to work for the enemy spy agency of the Soviet Union, the KGB.

“I also learned that that spy had never been identified publicly, if they’d ever been found at all. I realised that this was the ultimate spy story, and so I set out to find them.”

By definition, the world of spies is incredibly secretive and full of deception. So where do you start when investigating a story like this?

I was warned at the beginning of this story, that this is the kind of tale that sends journalists insane – I must admit that by the end of it, I can see why people were warning me of that. But I began with letter writing,” said Watson.

There were multiple reasons for writing letters, with a big one being that in a world of evolving tech, sometimes it’s the original methods that work best. 

“Once you get the names of just a few intelligence officers, particularly from the Cold War era, the best and most sensitive way to approach them is through letter writing. That’s partly because it’s sensitive, and it’s a nice way to give them something to hold and consider. 

“But it’s also because letter writing is a good way to securely communicate with people. You can get letters and you can wrap them up in sticky tape – I learned exactly how to do this in a way that would mean that if a letter had been intercepted, it would have been very, very obvious. It seems very old school with all of the technology that ASIO has available to itself today to surveil people. It’s funny how people think – and certainly some of the spies I was communicating with think – that letter writing is more secure.”

LiSTNR_Secrets We Keep Joey Watson

Joey Watson

Whilst the story Watson and the team investigated happened in the 1990s, the story is just as relevant now as it has ever been, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bringing the historical tensions of the story to the forefront. 

Contacting people in Russia became far more difficult as part of the war. Putin, who has been no fan of dissent in the past, cracked down even harder which meant that a lot of sources dried up. It also meant that intelligence in Australia became more sensitive and more secure. 

“The story of trying to do journalism on Russia and intelligence before and after the invasion of Ukraine is woven into this podcast.”

Ultimately, Watson hopes there are two main takeaways for listeners of the podcast.

“The first thing is, I hope they get a sense that the history of Australia resonates very, very strongly in the present. Cold War tensions justified certain actions to be taken by our intelligence agencies away from public scrutiny that would be considered questionable. I wonder if that scrutiny was applied to them now, now that they’ve been brought back to the forefront, would those same issues come to light?

“Secondly, I’d like people to be empowered by a sense of knowledge about what these incredibly powerful institutions do on our behalf as taxpayers, and to be sceptical about them.”

Secrets We Keep: Nest of Traitors launches Thursday, Feb 1 on LiSTNR

LiSTNR welcomes Happy Hour with Lucy & Nikki podcast

LiSTNR has kicked off 2024 by welcoming the podcast Happy Hour with Lucy & Nikki, to the network. The new season commences Monday 5 February with fresh episodes of the girls sharing their banter and stories.

Happy Hour with Lucy & Nikki invites listeners into the lives of Lucy Jackson and Nikki Westcott. Since launching their podcast in 2019, the pair has built a loyal audience with genuine conversations about relationships, business, party stories, and everything that’s on a 20-something’s mind.

Happy Hour with Lucy & Nikki

Happy Hour with Lucy & Nikki

In further news, Lucy and Nikki will soon launch their radio careers and are currently developing a brand-new national radio show with the Hit Network. Debuting mid-February, the show will air on Saturday nights across Australia. Further details regarding the national radio show will be revealed shortly.

LiSTNR original podcasts head of entertainment and culture, Sam Cavanagh, said: “It took me two years of relentless pestering to get Lucy and Nikki to join the LiSTNR family, so we are thrilled to be working with them! They are two of the most exciting, unfiltered, and hilarious voices in entertainment and we can’t wait to help take their Happy Hour podcast to the next level.”

New episodes of Happy Hour with Lucy & Nikki launch on LiSTNR from Monday, Feb 5

AWGIE nomination for LiSTNR’s original audio drama You Don’t Know Me

Series Writer of LiSTNR’s new original audio drama podcast Gripped: You Don’t Know Me Jacklyn Bassanelli has been nominated for an AWGIE by the Australian Writers Guild in the Audio Fiction category. The two other nominees include Meegan May and Lauren Anderson’s queer sci-fi comedy Starship Q Star and The Missed by Sami Shah.

LiSTNR

The 56th annual AWGIE Awards will be presented in Sydney on February 15 and recognise the outstanding achievements of Australian performance writers and their contribution to Australia’s cultural landscape. These prestigious awards are the only industry awards given by writers to writers judged exclusively on the basis of the writer’s vision, the script.

[Listen to You Don’t Know Me here]

It’s A Lot speaks with a man who underwent an exorcism 

In a new episode of It’s A Lot With Abbie Chatfield, Abbie is joined by historian Kim Kemmis to share his experience with Conversion Therapy in Australia in the 1970s.

It's A Lot Listnr Secrets We Keep

Kim shared about his life growing up in the church, discovering his bisexuality, what it was like for him to undergo an exorcism, live in the fear of AIDS, and navigating his feelings towards men now that he is married to a man.

[Listen to It’s A Lot here]

Noah Kahan gets candid on Smallzy’s Surgery

On Nova’s Smallzy’s Surgery, Smallzy chatted to Noah Kahan who got particularly candid.

When asked “How’s the hemorrhoids, by the way?” Kahan laughed “Hemmies are today acting up. The hotel we’re at has a bidet, which is really nice… goes a long way. But these are just relentless. And I’ve been eating all the food down here. It’s all really good, but there’s a lot of salt in it. So I feel like that’s not helping me.

noah kahan and smallzy Secrets We Keep

“My goal in life is to try to reduce as much stigma as possible and… part of that comes with normalising the fact that I eat a lot of shitty food and take really aggressive shits. And when I sit on airplanes and tour buses and venue seats all the time. And it affects unfortunately, it affects your butthole and that just is the reality that I’m living with. And many other Australians and Americans I’m sure suffer too just so you guys know you’re not alone. Yes. But please eat food with more fiber.”

[Listen to the Smallzy’s Surgery catch up podcast here]

Podcast Week: CommSec Invest

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