Podcast Week: What advertisers want, Adam Shand’s DNA mystery, Gold’s Pats

Courtney and Vanity at Nova, Keeping calm with Meshel Laurie, Neil Finn, Listening highlight with Joe Lunn, Wil Anderson with Chris Walker

Compiled by James Manning

What advertisers want from podcasters: OMD’s Katy Eng

During Covid-19 lockdown audiences turned to podcasting. The challenge with the podcast sector is to maintain that momentum, keep the new audience and build on it.

One important part of the podcast puzzle is commercialising the audio sector. People like OMD director of content marketing Katy Eng and her agency counterparts play a critical role. Eng is a podcast advocate and sees the opportunities they present to her clients.

Here Eng speaks to Mediaweek sharing some insights into the state of on demand audio as we fast forward into 2021.

“In content marketing, podcasts are always on the consideration list from the very beginning,” Eng told Mediaweek. “Every channel and medium is on that list which we scrutinise and run through our filters. We consider podcasting to be mainstream now and it is growing in importance.”

What ads work best?

The OMD Soundscape research found mid-roll host reads the most influential with podcast listeners. A great host read on a successful, established podcast with a popular host who has a relevance with your brand is very strong. It isn’t too hard to do or too high cost and is something I would be recommending for clients.

Audience data, better, not perfect

We were not happy originally with how we were being presented with audience data. We are still a bit light on audience data in podcasting compared to other types of media. One thing I like doing with clients is to integrate something into the podcast like a unique offer. It might be an offer code or a unique URL which allows us to very directly track how many people were inspired to take an action after listening to the integration.

See our complete interview with Katy Eng in Friday’s Mediaweek Morning Report. (Subscribe here.)

Adam Shand’s DNA mystery

It is a PodcastOne series we have covered before, but the NSW Police State Crime Command podcast has returned with a four-part series ‘Lost at Sea’ with investigative journalist Adam Shand revealing an incredible case.

State Crime Command is a unique collaboration between PodcastOne Australia and the NSW Police Force.

Lost at Sea begins with a human jawbone found on a Northern NSW beach in 2011. For nine years, police were unable to identify to whom the bone belonged. However, in 2020 the mystery was solved through familial DNA technology when a family member gave DNA while serving a prison sentence. He told police of losing an uncle decades before in a boating accident.

In 1979, William John Moran, his wife Pip and three others were travelling on a cabin cruiser called the Nocturn from Moreton Bay, Queensland to Nelson Bay in NSW when the vessel sank in atrocious weather conditions.

PodcastOne’s Adam Shand

Shand explained: “What emerged was an incredible sliding doors story. An avoidable tragedy that should have claimed the lives of everybody on board. That anyone survived that day was down to the heroism of Bill Moran, who lost his life trying to save others.

“Lost at Sea begins with a tragedy but has a happy ending in a way that offers hope to families who have lost a loved one without a trace.”

Listen to NSW Police State Crime Command here.

Courtney Act and Vanity join Nova Podcast Network


Brenda, Call Me! is the newest series form the Nova Podcast Network featuring best friends, drag superstars and sisters in crime, Courtney Act and Vanity.

Courtney Act explained, “’Brenda, call me’ is the text Vanity and I send to each other when we want to chat. We have been friends for 20 years, lived all around the world, in different time zones, and we are super excited to be able to share our best friend conversations, we’re just glad they are not live and the legal department will be reviewing them before they hit your eardrums.”

Vanity and Courtney Act

Vanity added, “We thought we were going to be recording this podcast on opposite sides of the world, but Ms. Rona has reunited us and we’re super excited to be sitting face-to-face giving our unsolicited Australian drag opinions on all sorts of topics. Courtney doesn’t actually know why we call each other Brenda so make sure you tune in when I explain its origins.”

Rachel Corbett, Nova Entertainment’s head of podcasts and digital content, said: “A show hosted by best friends who have conquered the world of drag, built a business together and can run for a cab in 12-inch heels? What’s not to love?”

Behind the scenes Andrew Brentnall is managing producer and Lem Zakharia is the series producer.

Kane Reiken, Nova Entertainment’s digital commercial director said, “The all-star combination of Courtney Act and Vanity Fair coming together for Nova’s Brenda, Call Me! podcast creates a compelling environment for brands to authentically engage with their audiences through powerful commercial integration opportunities.”

This original podcast allows the right brands to connect with these highly influential communities, to deliver strong talent alignment and campaign messaging cut through.”

Listen to Brenda, Call Me! here.

Keeping calm with Meshel Laurie

Meshel Laurie’s new daily podcast launched last month and aims to uncover how well-known Australians keep their wellbeing on the straight and narrow. Guests on Calm Ya Farm so far include Kyle Sandilands, Urzila Carlson, Uncle Jack Charles, Lehmo and Lynne McGranger who have been delivered (mostly) in very digestible 10-minute bursts. The series comes from Laurie’s new production company Smart Fella, launched with Matthew Hardy.

Earlier this month Laurie seemed to be busier than ever, even busier than when she was a breakfast radio host. Then just last week she added a weekday breakfast radio gig to her workload. Laurie explained to Mediaweek that she only took the job at Wave FM because it was a maternity leave gig, perhaps requiring her to be on duty for maybe three months. And because she was asked by her favourite radio boss – Grant Broadcasters’ head of content Ryan Rathbone.

Laurie continues to set a furious pace in the podcast world with two regular series with big audiences – Australian True Crime and Calm Ya Farm – and a third that “just won’t die”. “Every time I look at our stats for The Nitty Gritty Committee, I realise it is still getting significant downloads every month despite me not recording anything in months.”

Laurie added: “I have realised we are after similar guests for Calm Ya Farm as Nitty Gritty.”

Last year Laurie was part of livestream podcast events for Australian True Crime with promoter Paul Dainty. “We did two livestreams and the first one crashed the server because we underestimated how many people would jump on at the last minute.

The popularity of true crime podcasts has been good for the podcast community and the true crime genre, said Laurie. “Every time there is a Teacher’s Pet or a Chasing Charlie it brings a whole new audience to podcasting in general and they can discover all of us. Australian True Crime podcast averages 1.5m downloads a month and it has grown steadily over the years.”

Working with Acast is something that Laurie enjoys and she loves the creative freedom and encouragement.

When asked about what she has learned from her years in podcasting, she replies: “What I love about podcasting is that it is still the wild west. [Laughs] That’s very cool. I know podcasting will eventually be tamed, but at the moment we are making it up as we go along.”

Being regular about when you publish is one of her learnings. “Consistency was also something I was taught very early on in radio. Something I learnt at Nova was be different, sound different.

After years in radio, Laurie splits her listening between live and on-demand. “Christian O’Connell is such a great talent. I flick between his breakfast show and his podcasts. As a former radio person, when I hear him I think, ‘Yes, that’s how you do it.’ Every programmer in the country should be playing Christian O’Connell to their talent.

For the future Laurie will focus on writing (she’s got another book coming out this year), podcasting and fill-in radio. She also guested on ABC Radio recently. “I love a short stint.” Why no fulltime contract? “I got tired and burned out! I see Marty Sheargold starting a new show and I just don’t know how he is doing it. I couldn’t think of anything more daunting at my age. No, god no.”

Laurie will share her audio skills soon in producing other podcast shows that won’t feature her behind the microphone. “I am excited about helping others and not hosting.”

She also slipped in a tease about a TV project in development. “There are lots of exciting things that don’t involve me being at the front of them.”

Listen to Calm Ya Farm here.

Listen to Australian True Crime.

Patrina Jones joins Kate Meades’s All Stars

Kate Meade’s Women of Influence podcast has just featured Gold 104.3 breakfast news reader and Christian O’Connell Show team member Patrina Jones (aka Pats). She comes to podcasting after her Gold breakfast colleagues Christian O’Connell and Jack Post last year launch their own podcasts. Jones alerted Gold listeners to the new podcast on one of the best segments on Melbourne radio, the Friday segment on The Christian O’Connell Show called Double Thumbs Up where the breakfast team give their listening, watching and reading recommendations for the weekend.

Meade, who also co-hosts ACE Radio’s The Morning Rush, speaks to incredible women from all works of life on the podcast. Other broadcasters who have featured include Erin Molan, Amanda Keller, Mia Freedman, Jackie O, Joan Warner, Shelly Horton, Sarah Jones and Heidi Anderson.

Meade is presenting at the Podfest Online Global Summit in the first week of March. An event that has secured the Guinness World Record for the largest attendance for a virtual podcasting conference in one week!

Listen to Women of Influence here.

Fangradio. Not really a podcast, but close

Neil Finn of Crowded House this week announced that he is embarking on a series of radio shows for his lockdown online community, Fangradio, which will be hosted on the Mixlr platform. For each show he will revisit a different Crowded House album and render new acoustic versions of the songs, beginning on February 11th with the band’s second album Temple Of Low Men.

Along the way he will engage with guests and bandmates to remember and discuss the making of each record. The first session was broadcast live on Thursday February 11 at 9am AEDT. Episodes are available on-demand here.

Wil Anderson and Chris Walker

A new episode of Wil Anderson’s Wilosophy this week features TV producer and podcaster Chris Walker. One third of the team behind Thinkative TV – the other partners are Charlie Pickering and Kevin Whyte – Walker recorded the two hours plus episode over the summer break. He is one of the guests who Anderson has recorded in his new studio as his adopted home in Northern New South Wales. One of the few podcasts Anderson has been able to record in person in the past 12 months.

The discussion includes how Walker started in the media, eventually giving up a dream job of travelling the country working on Seven’s AFL coverage for a role producing on The Project. They also discuss Walker’s fantastically successful series Hard Quiz and The Weekly, plus his recent PodcastOne series Brains Trust. When asked to describe himself at the start of the podcast, Walker jokes he is often collateral in paparazzi shots of Carrie Bickmore. (Walker is Bickmore’s partner.)

Podcast recommendations: Mindshare’s Joe Lunn on Pivot

This week we restart a former Podcast Week feature – audio recommendations from people in the media sector. We start with Joe Lunn, Mindshare chief strategy officer.

Pivot: Hosted by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway

If you’re looking for razor-sharp insights and provocative predictions into the world of big tech, then Pivot is for you. Kara Swisher is widely regarded as the most powerful – and feared – tech journalist in Silicon Valley, while Scott Galloway is a serial entrepreneur, bestselling author and Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business. They’re the odd couple of podcasting, keeping things lively with plenty of banter and bickering, while delivering brutally frank analysis and pithy punchlines. They’re a truly formidable duo, doing their bit to keep big tech honest and accountable. Out twice a week, it’s my go-to listen for early morning walks with the dog!

Listen to Pivot here.

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