Meet the young podcasting powerhouses who took spots in the Radio Today 30 Under 30 Awards

Former Editor & Content Director

Seven young audio and content specialists working in the podcasting sector have taken home a prize in the Radio Today 30 Under 30 Awards this year. Lucky number seven!

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.

Here are the first three winners – Alex Tighe, Bronwyn Dojcsak and Jordon Lott.

Alex Tighe, podcast producer, iHeartPodcast Network/ ARN (26)

Alex Tighe says he is determined to help Australian podcasting into its next era.

“Podcasting is a powerful medium,” he says. “I want t keep using podcasting to empower, entertain, and educate audiences, and I want to continue to innovate with podcast technology so the industry can reach as wide an audience as possible.”

He already has a number of achievements under his belt, including being the inaugural Mark Colvin Scholar, working with the ABC to find new days to deliver on-demand audio in connected cars, helping inform the ABC’s audio strategy, and then joining ARN’s iHeartPodcast content team.

But what makes Alex Tighe a future leader in podcasting? 

“I officially joined the audio industry in 2019 as the ABC’s inaugural Mark Colvin Scholar, which is a legacy I take extremely seriously. Mark Colvin was famous for his curiosity and rigour, as well as his commitment to creating opportunities for young people in the industry. I’d be happy if I could be a quarter of the leader that Mark Colvin was.

“How am I trying to follow in Colvin’s footsteps? Even though Old Boys Club has only been going for a few months, it has already given me the opportunity to mentor other podcasters who reach out to the show. I plan to continue that mentoring in whatever capacity I can throughout my career.

“I also hope to create opportunities within podcasting through my willingness and ability to quickly test out new ideas. The Australian audio industry needs experimentation and diversity (in content and people), and one practical way to achieve that is through rapidly creating and piloting shows, like I did with our original short-form experiments at the ABC, and like I’m currently doing at ARN/iHeartPodcast. With Old Boys Club, not only have I demonstrated an ability to quickly create a successful new show, but I’ve also used the project to learn all the minutiae it takes to begin – and then commercialise – a start-up project (production processes, hosting, amplification, monetisation etc). I’m going to be using those lessons long into the future to advise and mentor other podcasters.

“I will also approach all future projects with the commitment to collaboration I’ve held throughout my career so far. In any team environment, I aim to give thoughtful and intentional feedback; to avoid using technical jargon; and to involve junior members of the team in meaningful work which helps them to actively build their skills.

“But don’t just take my word for it. Anisha Khopkar at the ABC’s strategy department supports this characteristic: ‘Alex also fostered strong and fruitful working relationships with content teams across the ABC, collaborating with them on a variety of content formats and being mindful of their competing demands and priorities. He was also a valuable contributor to group discussions and brainstorms and was able to give and receive constructive feedback with grace and compassion.'”

Bronwyn Dojcsak, podcast producer, LiSTNR/ SCA (26)

Bronwyn Dojcsak is the producer for LiSTNR’s Matt & Alex All Day Breakfast – a podcast which posed the question “Can we create Australia’s first on-demand Breakfast show?”

“A modern twist in conventinal Breakfast radio programs, for a new generation of listeners,” as Dojcsak says.

“There is nothing quite like our show out there at the moment. We’re creating bespoke podcast content each day, whilst retaining the fundamentals of a regular breakfast show with callers, guests and topical content. It feels like we’re onto something special with this format and our audience seems to agree with numbers growing each week,” she adds.

But what makes Bronwyn Dojcsak a future leader in podcasting? 

“The future of audio is exciting. Podcasts, audio books and streaming services are growing year-on-year. It’s a remarkable time to be a part of a growing industry, particularly given the current state of the world. Some media industries have been left behind in this fast-moving, technological world we are living in. For me, being a future leader means staying up to date on current trends and being ahead of the curve on the next stage of listening behaviours.

“Collaboration is a major part of my leadership style – I’ve witnessed the best content ideas come from a group mindset. There’s an old-school belief that a leader is the person calling all the shots, but I believe we’ve evolved past this way of thinking. In my team we work together on ideas and everyone has the opportunity to pitch their thoughts and voice their opinions. Being a leader is making everyone feel heard and empowering the team to achieve our goals.

“Open communication is another priority in leadership. My style of leading is modern and adaptable, if something isn’t working, we come together as a team and address any issues with honesty and integrity.”

Jordon Lott, content development manager, Acast (26)

Acast’s Jordon Lott says her three years in podcasting has been “exciting, educational and nothing short of a rollercoaster ride”.

She may have already appeared on last year’s 30 Under 30 list, but she’s certainly not done yet, taking inspiration from Acast podcaster Osher Gunsberg by attempting to make each new day better than yesterday.

That’s not without its challenges for podcasting though.

“I think the biggest challenge facing the audio industry right now, and specifically podcasting, is the mentality that podcasting and radio should be bundled together on campaigns. Podcasting allows brands to integrate much more organically; the host of a podcast is a friend by proxy to their listeners, the audience trusts what their favourite hosts have to say in such an intimate medium, and brands who take advantage of that creator-listener relationship see excellent results from their investment. In order for podcasting to continue to thrive, podcasting should be planned as its own unique medium within a brands media mix,” she says.

But what makes Jordon Lott a future leader in podcasting?

“As my confidence as a content development manager has grown, so has my aptitude for taking on leadership roles. Towards the end of 2020 the Australia & New Zealand content team at Acast restructured, hiring Olivia O’Flynn as our partnerships manager to focus on audience growth for our podcasters. My experience within Acast and the podcast industry placed me in a unique position to guide and mentor Olivia, helping her on her path to become an invaluable member of our team.

“I’ve had to step into this role as friend, guide, advisor and team mate, passing on my knowledge and learning in turn from Olivia. I believe that good leaders need to be willing to learn from others, and can speak from experience now when I say that what Olivia has taught me in turn has made me a better content development manager and a better leader.

“I have found that building strong relationships with content creators is one of the most important things I can do in my career. Podcasters need to know we’re on their side; that we’re their cheerleaders and fostering trust, community and respect with the podcasters I work with day to day continues to put me on the path to be a future leader in the audio industry.

“It might seem small, but simple acts like going out for a celebratory gin when a podcaster reaches an audience milestone or sending them flowers and champagne on the day of their book launch ensures that they feel supported and celebrated. I’m proud of the relationships I have built in my time at Acast, and value them as the most important thing I could take away from my time in podcasting.

“The podcasters I work with teach me something new every day. I’m a better ally for people with disabilities and additional needs having befriended Kate and Mandy from Too Peas In A Podcast; I’m more outspoken as a feminist for knowing Clementine Ford and I’m actively anti-racist thanks to Sam and Zara from The Daily Aus and their coverage of Black Lives Matter. I’m a future leader in the audio industry because I’m not afraid to learn, change and evolve, and I’m committed to lifting up and supporting the creators who help me do so.”

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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