Podcast Week: Willow Talk, Stuff The British Stole, Merrick Watts

Podcast Week: Em Rusciano

Nine Podcasts, The Great Australian Detour, I Just Can’t, Acast

Compiled by Jasper Baumann and Tess Connery

Putting bat to ball with LiSTNR’s Willow Talk

It’s a good time to be a fan of Australian cricket with the Aussies taking home the first Ashes test victory, and starting strong in Lord’s. It’s also a very good time to be recording a podcast about cricket – which is exactly what the team behind LiSTNR’s Willow Talk have been up to.

Podcast Week’s Tess Connery spoke to Brad Haddin and Adam Peacock, hosts of Willow Talk, jumping on the phone with them the morning after Australia claimed its dramatic victory in the first Ashes test.

willow talk

Before we get into it – how good was the First Test win?!

Peacock: “It’s going to be one of the test matches we talk about for years. We talk about 2005, Michael Kasprowicz and Brett Lee were batting, and they fell a couple of runs short – we’re going to be talking about this one for the same amount of time. But in this light, it’s going to be a win for Australia.

“To put on 55 under pressure like that make can break the opposition. It’s going to be interesting now how England responds.”

Haddin: “England deserves a stack of credit, and so does Australia, because they didn’t change styles. The two different styles of approach made the test match what it was – it had every single ingredient you could hope from a sporting contest. If we get four more of those, we’re going to be talking about this for the next millennium, not just a couple of years.”

You’ve been recording daily episodes for The Ashes. What’s it been like moving from weekly to daily episodes?

Peacock: “Especially with such a marquee event like the Ashes – we did something similar with the 2020 World Cup – you want to give everyone an insight into what happened straight away while it’s all raw to everyone. It’s enjoyable. The hours are different, but it makes your watch pretty closely what’s going on.

“We want to hit the commute. We want to hit the people when they’re getting into a bus or a train or their cars at 6:30am onwards. It’s the best way of doing it.”

Haddin: “The only scary thing about that is our captain Sam, our producer, he’s got horrible bed attire. To watch him over Zoom, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!”

You’ve got an impressive lineup of guests that swing by the podcast. What are you looking for when asking someone to join you on Willow Talk?

Peacock: “Stories. With a relevant topic, there’s always generally something similar that has happened before in cricket and there’s a great story attached to it. Cricket is a great storytelling sport because there are so many characters involved, so many great moments – many not-so-great moments, but they’re all worth having a laugh about. In the end, it’s sport. It’s not life or death – even though the bloke next to me treated it like it was when he was playing! But there are just so many stories that are worth touching on.”

Haddin: “There are some really good people around the game of cricket, there are some really good characters. When you’re away with each other, whether you’re reporting on the game or playing for a good part of 300 days in the year, you find some really good anecdotes that haven’t been told to the public. That’s the stuff that I think needs to get out there so that people can understand the human side of these players.”

How does podcasting stack up as a medium to cover sports?

Peacock: “I love it. I cut across a few different mediums, be it television or the written word stuff, but podcasting is so enjoyable. You have some parameters, but there are no hard and strict rules apart from the fact that you want to hit a certain time, because people are listening in their spare time. For a sporting podcast, you don’t really want to be touching over 40 or 45 minutes because that’s stretching it beyond the usual commute. The elements inside that though, there are no rules. 

Haddin: I think the best part about it is the storytelling, and the opportunity to tell a story. And Adam has a funny way of getting the wrong stuff out of me!

What do you hope listeners get out of Willow Talk?

Haddin: Enjoyment. I hope they enjoy our stories, and maybe get a little bit of an insight into the world of cricket that they hadn’t already had.

Peacock: I’ve got a great seat, because sitting next to this guy, he sees things on a cricket field that is pretty hard to pick up for the average punter. I’ve sat next to him calling television, and three balls in advance he’ll say ‘This bloke is too far in, and he’s going to get found out here’. Invariably, three balls later it happens. Hopefully, for people who love their cricket and want to understand it a bit more, it helps them in that regard.

[Listen to Willow Talk here]

Stuff The British Stole with Marc Fennell returns for Season 3

Stuff The British Stole returns for the first time since 2021 with 6 episodes that will take listeners from a crypt in Windsor Castle to the streets of Barbados. 

Listeners can also expect a mystery in the library of Grafton High School and an ancient manuscript that holds a mathematical discovery. One of the episodes includes a visit to the top of the Andes mountains all the way to alleyway gin bars. 

willow talk

It may also make you watch a certain Disney movie very differently. 

[Listen to Stuff The British Stole here]

Nine Podcasts record largest monthly audience for May with 1.7 million listeners

The Nine Podcast network has announced a new record-high monthly audience of 1.7 million listeners for May 2023. 

The popular catch-up podcasts of Nine’s talk stations: 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR, have seen a surge in demand, recording a 51% YoY growth. This upswing was driven by a rise in listenership across key Breakfast, Mornings, Drive, and Sport programming.

Nine’s original podcasts also saw a 19% uplift in key categories of News, Sport, and Business, as well as strong growth in Investigative Journalism. 

Nine Podcasts willow talk

The investigative podcast, Hannah’s Story, examines the shocking story of the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three young children. Listeners have tuned in to hear more about coercive control – from the relationship, to the crime, through to the coronial inquest. The podcast has received more than 600,000 downloads since launching in May (as of June 23), and was the number one ranked show on both Apple and Spotify’s podcast charts. 

[Read more]

Merrick Watts

The podcast is strategically released just in time for the school holidays and is designed to be a companion for families on road trips. 

“We launch for the school holidays – so the timing’s perfect for families road tripping to somewhere special. It’ll be eyes up and looking out the window, enjoying the drive together while learning some great stuff. And, best of all, it’s fun.”

[Listen to The Great Australian Detour Kids’ Cast here]

Nine Podcasts announce I Just Can’t with SJ and Rach

Nine Podcasts have announced I Just Can’t with SJ and Rach known from the 18th season of The Block: Tree Change. 

The podcast explores the rollercoaster of life including marriage, motherhood and melodramatic reality TV that often can lead to the phrase “I just can’t”. 

From mum decisions and shaming, the truth about married life and weirdest husband hobbies plus more, SJ and Rachel keep it real one the new show with their quick wit and trademark humour. 

[Listen to I Just Can’t here]

Acast expands self-serve podcast advertising platform with host-read sponsorships

Acast has announced the launch of host-read sponsorships on its self-serve podcast advertising platform. Now, any advertiser globally can book sponsorship campaigns read by podcast hosts themselves across the entire Acast Marketplace using the self-serve platform.

The news makes Acast the largest podcast network to offer an option for self-service browsing of podcast sponsorships. Additionally, it enables advertisers to use the self-serve platform to buy sponsorships from across Acast’s Marketplace – including titles such as Equity Mates Investing, Australian True Crime,  WTF with Marc Maron, Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed, The Higher Ground Network, and more.


Traditionally, podcast sponsorships have been bought manually through an ad sales representative or through the podcaster directly. Acast’s self-serve advertising platform introduces automation into the discovery and buying processes to help media buyers make more efficient and accurate investments in podcasting.

By leveraging AI, the platform also enables advertisers to discover podcasts they may never have considered before, effectively reducing bias in media buying and enabling advertisers to connect with relevant audiences for their message and budget.

[Read more]

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