The future of podcasting: Meet more 30 under 30 winners who are leading the charge

Former Editor & Content Director

Last week, young audio and content specialists working in the podcasting sector took seven of the 30 spots in the Radio Today 30 Under 30 Awards.

They come from both the traditional radio sector – with representatives from ARN, NOVA Entertainment and SCA – and from podcast natives like Acast Australia and Ranieri & Co.

Based on their exceptional scores from the judges and their high-calibre entries, Radio Today is confident these seven winners could be the future leaders who shape this sector – so it’s probably time you met them.

We already met Alex Tighe, Bronwyn Dojcsak and Jordon Lott, so now it’s time to meet the next awesome foursome: Lindsey Green, Olivia O’Flynn, Romy Sher and Zach Kangelaris.

Lindsey Green, senior podcast producer, SCA (27)

What makes Lindsey Green a future leader in podcasting? 

“I believe I have what it takes to become a future leader in the audio industry due to my reputation, experience and passion.

“In the past seven years I’ve gone from presenting on community radio to becoming the first senior podcast producer at one of Australia’s largest commercial podcast networks. This growth is a testament to how hard I’ve worked and an indication of how hard I will continue to work to achieve my goals.

“Since 2016 I’ve grown a diverse network of connections within the Australian podcast and radio community, having attended a wide range of podcast events, including the Audiocraft Podcast Festival (2016-2019), ABC’s OzPod Conference (2017-2018), the Emerging Writers Festival (2018), The Wheeler Centre’s Invasion of the Pod People events and various podcast launch events in both Sydney and Melbourne.

“As a result of these connections, I have developed a positive reputation within the Australian podcast community. People know me to be reliable, hardworking and creative and I believe I would be an asset to any creative team around the country.

“As a leader, I am passionate about empowering others to be the best they can be. This is demonstrated best in my leadership of the SYN Podcast Incubator and in inducting new members to the LiSTNR team. As the leader of the SYN Podcast Incubator I was responsible for supporting young people to create podcasts for the first time. I did this by taking their ideas seriously, giving them regular constructive feedback, training them in the skills they needed, allowing them to make mistakes and publicly championing their work.

“I take a similar approach when inducting new members into the LiSTNR team. I want to give them the basic skills they need to do their jobs and then I want them to figure out the rest on their own. I want them to make mistakes as they learn, because I think that making mistakes will make them more competent producers, but I also make sure they know I’m there to support them if they get stuck.

“Finally, I am passionate. I believe that to be a successful producer, you don’t need to know how to use the latest software or how to create the perfect audio mix when you first start, because these skills can be taught. The key to being a leading producer, in my opinion, is passion. Audio storytelling is time-consuming, laborious work and you need to care deeply about the work you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with, to continue showing up every day. This can’t be taught. You can’t teach people how to care, you need to feel it and carry this with you into your work. I believe this is what sets me up as a future leader in the audio industry: I care. I care about doing the best for myself, for the talent I’m working with, the network I represent and the Australian podcast industry.”

Romy Sher, podcast producer, SCA (24)

What makes Romy Sher a future leader in podcasting? 

“To be honest, I already feel like somewhat of a leader, being a young, enthusiastic producer creating new and exciting titles for LiSTNR Original Podcasts – but I also know I still have a long way to go in the industry.

“The podcasting industry is growing rapidly, and by working hard, listening to others, and using audio creatively, I’m confident I can stay at the forefront of the industry and lead future producers in the field.

“I’ve had extensive leadership training, in the form of both more formal, theory based courses, and practical experience. Following high school, I was heavily involved in one of my community’s local organisations Hineni Youth and Welfare, a Jewish youth group. Through this organisation I’ve undertaken several leadership courses in adaptive and informal education, and held numerous leadership roles including planning and directing a holiday camp for over 140 children from years 2-12 and 40+ volunteer staff. I doubt many things will build problem solving skills quicker than dealing with all of the antics that amount of kids get up to when they’re away from their parents. Not to mention keeping the volunteer staff motivated and happy.

“I also held the leadership position of content director several times during our broadcasts in the Graduate Diploma of Radio at AFTRS. This meant overseeing the content was being produced to our standards, assisting with any last-minute issues that arose (as they always do) while broadcasting, and managing the interpersonal relationships of our team.

“These experiences, plus other leadership roles I’ve held in the Jewish community and in my professional career have helped me develop an effective leadership style which in essence, revolves around empathy. I don’t believe any leader can make the right calls unless they listen to those around them, and properly understand the situation they’re in. And if they do make the right calls, but the people around them don’t feel like they’re being listened to, they lose the trust, and power to motivate that I think are essential to good leadership.

“I’ve already used many of these skills so far in my role as a podcast producer – when I’m facilitating a host, interviewing a guest, or having them tell their own story to their audience. Anyone agreeing to put their voice on tape and leave it to my team and my editorial judgement is opening themselves up and entrusting us with their story. To be able to communicate effectively, show that we hear them, and give the trust to allow someone to be vulnerable will give the best possible content and allow us to tell the most compelling stories. But I think it takes a great deal of leadership to earn that trust from our talent, and so listening, showing that I have the ability to fix and adapt on the fly, and be innovating are the leadership skills that I pride myself on in my role at the moment, and am sure will help me to rise to future leadership roles.”

Olivia O’Flynn, associate partner manager, Acast (27)

What makes Olivia O’Flynn a future leader in podcasting? 

“In every aspect of my working life, I have always championed storytelling. Oral storytelling in particular holds a very dear spot in my heart. It’s not only one of the oldest forms of communication, it is a way to build community, educate, empathise and fantasise. I am a huge proponent of the open ecosystem within podcasting because it allows every human who has access to the internet, to participate in our species’ oldest pastime; storytelling. I am a future leader in the audio industry because I champion this belief, and everyday I strive to create a world in which there is no barrier of entry for storytellers and listeners alike.

“In my current role I facilitate and host Aclass webinars for Australian and New Zealand Acast podcasters, in which I am fortunate enough to share my skills and knowledge about the industry. This August I presented ‘Aclass Insider: Growing your audience with social media’, a webinar which was met with great enthusiasm from our creative partners. I have cultivated these areas of leadership through being an events manager in a previous role, at Better Read Than Dead, and mentoring students in podcasting and performance at Korowal School in the Blue Mountains.

“My vision for the future of audio is a space in which tools and access are equitable, to allow for a variety of diverse voices to shine through. As somebody who learnt the majority of my technical podcasting skills on the job, I would love to help create a space that offers the same opportunity to others.

“In working with independent podcasters who live and breathe their art, my goal is to create a space within the Australian audio landscape where opportunity is equal and the stories that are celebrated are done so because of their heart, insight and ingenuity, rather than the capital placed on their social following. The time has passed for regurgitated formats that live in the record halls of 2000. Podcasting in an innovative format that combines invention with tradition, and I don’t think we’ve seen the peak of its offering yet.

“My leadership style is one developed in collaboration with clear goals and milestones.I have always been a generous collaborator who looks to lift up those around me. There is enough space at the table for everyone, and the scarcity mentality will only hold true potential at bay. In every partnership I work with, whether it be media corporations or independent podcasters, I aim to elevate those around me and align content and audience growth with its true potential.”

Zach Kangelaris, sales manager, Ranieri & Co (26)

What makes Zach Kangelaris a future leader in podcasting? 

“At the heart of high-performing teams is a culture of innovation, where the cultural mindset becomes one of ongoing improvement, curiosity, collaboration and of course, a razor focus on exceeding customer expectations. I strive to build and be part of innovative cultures.

“As a leader I can encourage innovation in many different ways, but these are the elements I feel are the most important:

“Staying curious and open with the ability to challenge my own bias as well as perceptions of what is true/untrue – an example of this is when we were creating our first original podcast and we weren’t going to look at commercially selling the podcast until it was more final, however I was curious and questioned why we couldn’t start conversations around sponsorships for the series earlier – we’d only learn from these conversations even if they were a bit early. This changed the business mindset and we then pivoted to approach contextually relevant brands to sponsor the podcast.

“Collaboration – being able to work with people of different agendas, priorities etc. and work together to get to the outcome we need to get to – I liaise with our head of commercial and partnerships and CEO regularly to ensure we have put our best foot forward when responding to briefs, I take the ego out of it and know that being selfless is for the greater good of the team, this works vice versa when other members are responding to briefs as we want what’s best for the team.

“Being comfortable with ambiguity and making decisions that are right for the team and business with limited resources and information. A recent example of this is when we realised we needed a localised footprint in the Australian podcast landscape. Without waiting for direction, I went out of my way and job description to find exceptional Aussie talent and signed on three new partners (The Byron Cooke Show, The Mind Muscle Project and The Fitness and Lifestyle Podcast) within three weeks to ensure that our clients were able to access great local talent. As a subsidiary to this, we also gained 500k downloads per month to our network.

“Empowering people – I have been a big support for everyone in the team and will constantly give positive reinforcement to empower our team to be the best we can. We recently lost a massive brief, this was of no fault to our team as we had explored all possible avenues to make it work. My feedback for the team member was ‘The response and three schedule revisions were incredible. You put everything into that one and had a lot of great back and forth. We’ll learn a lot from it and take it into another briefing process to better ourselves.’

“Finally, I inspire the people around me with my infectious personality, output and energy. I love sharing ideas and problem solving with my peers to overcome challenges. I’m an agile leader and thrive off being challenged constantly.”

The 2021 Radio Today 30 Under 30 Awards with SCA are supported by Australian Film Television and Radio School, ARN, Grant Broadcasters, Nine, NOVA Entertainment and Sony Music Australia.

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