The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age expand podcast library with three new titles and a relaunch

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are leaning in to the growing popularity of podcasting in the reporting space with three new launches for 2020 and the return of an audience favourite.

Good Weekend Talks, The Televisionaries and Naked City will join the library – the first two will launch next week, while Naked City will commence in April – as well as the relaunch of Real Footy to tie in with the beginning of the 2020 AFL season.

Three new, and one returning, title will launch for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in 2020

Tom McKendrick, head of audio and video for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, told Mumbrella podcasting was an important part of the title’s editorial strategy.

“We really value podcasts as an important part of our commitment to our audience, which is to give them quality journalism in every format that we feel we can provide,” said McKendrick.

“It’s a saturated market and we want to make content that reflects the standard and quality of reporting that we’re known for. We never wanted to limit ourself to true crime, and we haven’t, and we wanted to take advantage of the regular offerings that our news cycle brings, and the habits of our audience,” he added.

The podcast content, he said, also had to stand out and stand alone.

“Podcasting is a really important part of our editorial strategy and offers a different way of consuming the journalism that we create. It’s important that we don’t just replicate what we do in words in a different format, and that goes for graphics, video, audio, etc. We bore that in mind right at the start and we really focused on the virtues of the medium and getting the most out of that on top of the journalism that’s already been done.”

The Good Weekend Talks series is an important part of that strategy, said McKendrick. The show will see a long-form article read aloud each week by professional voice actors before editor Katrina Strickland holds a Q&A with the author.

“The aim is to add another layer to our storytelling, discussing the most compelling issues raised in our features and introducing listeners to the writers and writing process behind them,” said Strickland.

“Ash Barty, the anti-vaxxer movement, Scott Morrison’s Pentecostal church, the Melbourne doctor who mapped the clitoris and the man who runs the AFL are just some of the subjects that will be covered on Good Weekend Talks.”

McKendrick: Podcasting is an important part of editorial strategy

The publication said the beauty of the series is the 30+ years of Good Weekend back catalogues that can, and will, be delved into, giving the podcast a rich history of journalism, content and stories to explore. It, along with The Televisionaries, will launch next month. By April, the plan is to have a new episode of a podcast launching from The SMH and The Age each day, tapping into the regular habits of the existing audience.

The titles have already had great success with podcasts. Last year’s The Last Voyage of Pong Su launched in October and won the podcast category at the Victorian Quill Awards. Wrong Skin was named Podcast of the Year at the 2019 Australian Podcast Awards and Phoebe’s Fall, the Herald and Age’s first investigative title, won the 2016 ‘Radio Current Affairs’ category of the Victorian Quill Awards and the NSW Kennedy Award for Outstanding Radio Current Affairs.

Both Wrong Skin and Phoebe’s Fall also won gold medals at the New York Radio Festival.

The Age editor Alex Lavelle said: “Our podcasting team has grown as part of our strategy of engaging new audiences and catering for the expectations of our subscribers. It was great to see our latest investigations podcast The Last Voyage of Pong Su win a Quill Award last week, building on the success of Phoebe’s Fall, Wrong Skin and our regular Please Explain and Real Footy podcasts.”

The Televsionaries will discuss all things television and streaming – from the ‘buzziest’ shows online, to the ‘guilty pleasures’ consumers watch in secret. Host Louise Rugendyke, editor of S at The Sun-Herald, will hold a discussion each week with the best TV writers at The Age and Herald, including Michael Idato, Paul Kalina and Kylie Northover.

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald culture editor Matthew Burgess said: “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are renowned for in-depth coverage of quality television, from the popular Guide and Green Guide weekly sections to daily news coverage online.

“We are so excited to bring our passion and expertise about television to a new platform, in a fun and informative podcast from our top TV critics. They live and breathe television and are the authorities on what you should be watching – and most importantly, why.”

Launching in April, Naked City will see Walkley Award-winning crime writer, columnist and co-author of the Underbelly book series, John Silvester return to the gangland wars. Delving into the archive of tapes and interviews spanning his four decades in crime reporting, Silvester will take listeners on a first-hand journey through some of Australia’s most notorious underworld crimes.

“I have been covering crime in Australia since 1978 and in the Naked City podcast I will take you deep into my world where you will hear from the key players in some of our most notorious and infamous cases,” said Silvester.

Real Footy will relaunch out of The Age newsroom, bringing listeners the stories behind the game in time for the 2020 season. It will be hosted by Michael Gleeson, with regular guests Caroline Wilson, Jake Niall and Jimmy Bartel.

Also changing for 2020 is weekly news podcast Please Explain which will be expanded with different specials to complement the existing weekly schedule. Over summer, the podcast presented a six-part series on climate and weather.

“They’re all quite different offerings, it’s quite a nice spread,” said McKendrick.

“Podcasting, if you get it right, it’s a very intimate form of storytelling. These are areas where we felt we were really strong and from an audio point of view, in particular, there was lot we felt we could add to what we already do in the written word.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.