Independent podcasters: Australian podcasting space ‘is maturing but still has a way to go’


Fary: Podcasts are a growing market in need of imagination regarding monetisation

Two of Australia’s leading independent podcasters have spoken out about the challenges facing the nascent Australian podcasting industry.

Speaking at Australia’s first dedicated podcasting conference, Audiocraft, producers Bec Fary and Jon Tjhia discussed how the podcasting space is gaining traction with listeners but still had some way to go commercially.

“I think that in America (podcasting) has really taken off,” said Bec Fary, creator of the Sleeptalker podcast.

“Thinking about the future of podcasting in Australia, not only is the community that is making radio smaller but the audience is much smaller, too.”

“The future of Australian podcasting faces similar challenges in terms of monetising the listener bases.” Fary said.

“I think the industry is maturing; there will be bigger audiences, there will be more money and more sponsorship in line with what is happening in America.”

Fary and Tj

Fary and Tjhia: “We have to be realistic about our population”

Fary noted that this growth would take time and that producers and advertisers needed to be realistic about the time it would take to build.

“We have to be realistic – the population in Australia is spread out more. Unlike New York, where the density is closer.

“As more producers start to give it a go – and I know I haven’t really pursued money, but maybe there are other podcasters who are really pursuing money.”

Jon Tjhia, creator of the independent podcast Paper Radio said he believed Australians were more reluctant to pursue commercial opportunities around podcasting.

“I think there are also cultural barriers that hold us back there,” said Tjhia, who noted the importance of Apple’s iTunes platform to the growing local industry.

“(iTunes) won’t tell you what you have to do to get there; however, reaching out to iTunes directly is extremely useful – they have editor’s pics, they will tell you how, at various levels of notoriety, you can increase the quality of your presence on iTunes.

“They are so helpful, really patient in talking to people, and will talk to you about featuring you in the ‘editor’s choice’.”

Fary urged those wanting to get into the space to “experiment” and “seek out mentors”.

“When I started I didn’t know what I was doing,” Fary said.

“I just started interviewing my friend and made what was a bit of a boring episode, but from developing a relationship with listeners and sheer practice I developed my sound. Don’t be scared of starting.”

“The scope for mentorship in podcasting is really wonderful. We have access to people from the other side of the world.

“Just send those emails. The worst they can say is ‘I don’t have time’ or not reply. The best thing that can happen is that they become a mentor.”

Nic Christensen


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