Podcast Week: The Briefing’s milestone, Ella Hooper joins SCA, Facebook podcasts

From Zero

• Future Women’s Drive podcast returns, Night Light, and Kinderling Kids

The Briefing: Tom Tilley talks milestone

The Briefing, the daily breakfast news podcast hosted by Tom Tilley has recently celebrated its one year anniversary.

Mediaweek‘s Trent Thomas caught up with Tilley to discuss the show’s milestone.

“It was a bit of an experiment for SCA and LiSTNR and was a little bit for me as well. On a personal level, it was the first step into working in commercial media after being at triple j and the ABC, and I am really enjoying the type of attitude and level of investment in high quality news talk at SCA,” said Tilley.

Tilley also said that over the last 12 months that the team has become very settled as well.

“We have Annika Smethurst who was a great newspaper journo, and now we have her on this podcast and it’s been great seeing her growth and bringing what she does so well to this medium.

Jan Fran who is such great talent has brought so much to it as well.”

Tom Tilley and Annika Smethurst record The Briefing

Going commercial

After spending so long at the ABC, Tilley said that the move to commercial broadcaster SCA and its LiSTNR platform has been the perfect transition.

“There is more flexibility to do things differently in the podcast space than the FM dial. The SCA management has been super supportive of what we are doing and that means it’s the sort of content that works well for me. It felt like a really natural evolution from what I did at Hack even though it’s a whole new show on a different platform.”

What is he doing with his extra time?

Tilley described the 4:00 AM alarm situation for him as pretty intense but has been loving having the flexibility in his day.

“The main thing that I’ve been doing is writing my memoir. I have a book coming out called Speaking in Tounges with Harper Collins ABC books later this year.

“That has been awesome for me on a personal level because when I was working at Hack, being at the ABC was all-consuming and part of the reason to take this next step in my career was to make room for a thing like a book, where you can go much deeper on a project.

“This is really cool because I get to stay in touch with the news of the day by doing this podcast, but then have lots of flexibility to work on deeper projects.”

Goals for The Briefing moving forward

With one year in the can Tilley said the goal is to keep growing the audience and improving the show.

“We want to keep growing because the podcast is designed to appeal to a wider audience, people who want a simple relatable snapshot of the most important stories, and a bit of a deeper dive on the bigger issues. I feel that is something a lot of Australians would enjoy when they find out about it.”

[Listen to The Briefing here]

Ella Hooper is Front and Centre for SCA

SCA has announced that Ella Hooper, is the host of the new music podcast, Front & Centre.

Hooper became a household name as a teenager in the 90’s with her band Killing Heidi. From 2012 -2015, Hooper hosted SCA’s Top 20 Countdown and in 2012 earned an ACRA for Best Newcomer.

Hooper was the first female to win the APRA Songwriter of the Year award in 2000 and has five ARIA awards to her name.

Front & Centre is exclusive to the LiSTNR app, where Hooper will interview a list of artists that includes Lorde, Benee, Green Day, The Living End, The Killers and Imagine Dragons.

Hooper said: “I’m thrilled to be back on air and in the exciting digital audio world with LiSTNR, bringing fresh content via the podcast and am relishing the chance to wax lyrical about my favourite musical decade, the 90’s.”

SCA head of music, Mickey Maher, said: “As an artist herself Ella will bring a unique insight and storytelling ability to her Front & Centre features and as the front person of one of Australia’s biggest bands of the 90’s no one is better placed to host workdays on Triple M 90s. We are delighted that someone with Ella’s charm, quick wit, intelligence and musical knowledge has joined our ranks to front not one, but two, music projects for us.”

Hooper will also be heard on Triple M 90s as the workday host, playing all her favourite tracks from that decade. 

[The Front & Centre podcast and the Triple M 90’s station on LiSTNR]

Facebook makes major changes to its audio offering

Facebook has announced a series of additions and improvements to its audio offerings which include new audio creation tools, audio formats, podcasts, audio rooms, and monetisation. 

A Sound Studio in Your Pocket

Facebook has described the new tools as having a sound studio in your pocket.

Through speech-to-text and voice morphing the company will provide an audio creation tool directly inside the Facebook app. Facebook claims the tools will improve audio quality even if it’s recorded on a busy street corner.

Users will be able to use music from Facebook’s Sound Collection as well as the ability to mix audio tracks, plus a growing collection of sound effects, voice effects and filters.


Soundbites: A New Social Audio Format

These audio creation tools will enable users to create short-form, creative audio clips called Soundbites.

Facebook will start testing Soundbites over the next few months while a small number of creators refine the product with their input before the company releases it to the market.

Podcasts Are Coming to Facebook 

According to Facebook, Over 170 million people are connected to hundreds of thousands of podcast pages on Facebook, and more than 35 million people are members of fan groups around podcasts but have to leave the Facebook app to listen to these episodes.

Within the next few months, users will be able to listen to podcasts directly on the Facebook app — both while using the app or when the app is backgrounded. Facebook will also help users discover podcasts based on their interests, make comments, and recommend them to their friends. Podcast creators will also be able to reach and connect with new listeners within the Facebook app. 


Live Audio Rooms in Facebook and Messenger

Facebook is also going to start testing Live Audio Rooms and expect it to be available to everyone on the Facebook app by Winter to be used by 1.8 billion people that use groups every month in the tens of millions of active communities on Facebook.

As part of this initial rollout, Facebook will also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans. The company will also make Live Audio Rooms available on Messenger this summer.

Everything is Being Built to Work Together and Be Accessible to All

Creators will also be able to turn a live conversation into a podcast for everyone to listen to later. The tools will allow creators and fans to share the best excerpts from a live audio or podcast and publish them as Soundbites.

Facebook will also offer captions on all these audio experiences.

Monetisation Opportunities

At launch, Facebook is introducing multiple ways for audio creators to monetise their content.

When Live Audio Rooms launch, fans will be able to support their favourite creators and public figures through stars, or donate to causes they care about.

Soon after launch, Facebook will also offer other monetisation models, like the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription.

To kickstart Soundbites, the company is introducing an Audio Creator Fund to support emerging audio creators and get early feedback on the new product experience.

Future Women’s Drive podcast returns for a second season

Future Women’s Drive podcast returns for a second season on 21 April, hosted by journalist and presenter, Leila McKinnon.

The season features interviews with a range of diverse women including Aminata Maternal Foundation CEO and founder, Aminata Conteh-Biger; director of neurosurgery at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Professor Kate Drummond; Code Like a Girl Founder and CEO,  Ally Watson; Hon Linda Burney MP; head of restaurants for Uber Eats Australia and New Zealand, Bec Nyst; and writer, presenter and media diversity professional, Lisa Cox.

In the season’s launch episode, Leila speaks to retired NSW detective Deborah Wallace about her ascension in the force and her career-defining moments.

“What a thrill to speak to women who think around corners, disrupt their industries, thrive after trauma and make real and positive changes in the lives of others. I hope others will feel as inspired and entertained as I do by what they have to say. Celebrating what we’ve achieved and envisioning a world in which women have more say is something special, and of course what fun would smashing the patriarchy be without a good laugh too?” said McKinnon.

[Listen to Drive by Future Women here]

New original Australian podcast Night Light arriving April 26

Launching on the 26th of April the new Australian podcast Night Light will showcase a collection of curated stories with each episode featuring a powerful tale performed by a renowned Australian creative, with an evocative soundscape to accompany.

With a goal to combat the quiet epidemic of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the podcast series seeks to inspire an intimate experience to pause, stop and refresh, through a literary experience. 

Created by Australian director and actor (and studying psychologist), Catherine Mack and produced by Current Mood Films with support from Northern Beaches Council, Night Light is set to break new territory for the Australian podcast space.

Mack said, “With the Night Light podcast, I wanted to create a comforting space that takes listeners to an oasis for the mind, a million miles away from the pressures of everyday life. Because pausing, deep listening and focusing your mind on a single immersive experience has the power to change your state and your outlook on life. My hope is that the series can be a light in the darkest of nights, anywhere, anytime”.

The list of performers includes Rachel Ward, Erik Thompson, Georgie Parker, Matilda Brown, Kassandra Clementi, Catherine Mack, Tim Pocock, Mark Cole-Smith, Rick Donald, as well as celebrated UK poet David Whyte.

The Night Light podcast will be available to download from Monday 26th April across all podcast platforms.

Kinderling Kids streams ahead with direct-to-consumer offering

Kinderling Kids Radio has announced the completion of its move from DAB+, where it launched six years ago, to a direct-to-consumer streaming model, accessible online or through the Kinderling Kids iOS and Android app.

Receiving over 11 million on-demand listens in 2020, with over 500,000 listening hours streamed from more than 321,000 global family listeners, Kinderling continues to build its subscription base with 200% growth since January 2021, 75% of which have converted from their free app trials. 

Kinderling’s on-demand programs range from stories and fables to Kinderling Originals such as the kid-hosted educational programs Fact Detectives, or the Australian Podcast Award winner Mr Snotbottom.

Kinderling has also launched 3 new seasons of Bedtime Explorers – a globally award-winning sleep program that has guided children to sleep over 10 million times.

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