From playing an orange in a Nick Giannopolous film to leading ARN’s podcast charge: The weird and wonderful career of Corey Layton
You can barely ask an audio executive about the most influential and powerful people shaping podcasting in this country without them throwing up the name Corey Layton. Here, the man leading the Australian Radio Network’s (ARN) iHeartPodcast Network chats to Radio Today’sVivienne Kelly about the biggest mistakes he sees across the sector, where the industry will be in five years, and yes, as the headline suggests, that time he was in a Nick Giannopoulos film.
VK: If you had to describe your job in just one word, what would it be?
CL: For me, I think the word is ‘variety’.
With my role across content and commercial and partnerships I have a pretty rounded understanding of all facets of podcasting. So, I think variety sums that up pretty nicely, and also ‘diverse’.
VK: And if you personally could make a podcast, what would it be about?
CL: I think I would say, watch this space. There is stuff coming from us. Lots coming from us.
VK: What is the biggest mistake you see in podcasting?
CL: I think the biggest mistake that I see is quality – just people not crafting their content and people assuming that ‘My phone has a microphone in it and I can just record on that and upload the content start to finish from when I press record to stop and that’s okay’. And I don’t think enough people or creators pay respect to their audiences and their audience’s time.
VK: What advice would you give to somebody looking to work in podcasting?
CL: Make one.
Totally make one. Absolutely.
I think there are intricacies to podcasts that you don’t understand until you try it. And being an open ecosystem it’s really easy to make one and to learn on the tools, and so if it’s a career that you’re willing or wanting to pursue, you absolutely need to get your hands dirty and just try it.
VK: What is the best part of your role?
CL: For me, I think it’s working with the smartest people in the industry, by far, and some incredible content creators. To have so much creativity and enthusiasm and people just wanting to talk to you about podcasts all the time. Having people lean into the subject matter makes it just a pleasure to work in the industry.
VK: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
CL: I think it’s the growth of the industry. It is constantly changing, staying head of the trend and the changes that come with it is difficult. Whether it’s about subscriptions or new shows or ad tech or new and evolving platforms, it’s really hard to stay ahead of that and also adapt strategies constantly in light of those changes
VK: What about the wider industry, what challenges is it facing?
CL: I think given it is such a new industry here in Australia, or relatively new, there is absolutely a skills gap. There is not enough people with the depth of experience that content creators need.
VK: So, what’s your prediction for where the industry will be in five years?
CL: I would say that we will catch up to where the US is at in terms of consumption in Australia. According to the Edison Research Infinite Dial report we’re now at 37% of Aussies who listen to podcasts a month, which is up from 25% last year, which puts us about two years behind the US. So I think consumption will absolutely be dominant by the time we get there.
And commercially I also think that brands won’t look at podcasts in the experimental light that some of them do today. I think lots more brands will be appreciative of the medium and also understanding how to engage.
And from a content perspective, I think a couple of things. One is interactivity in regards to short-form and on-demand content will be a thing, as well as more content for the masses. When you look at the TV ratings, versus the top podcasts, top podcasts is about engaging with affluent audiences, and the TV ratings is very much about reality or sports-led content – it’s much more broader. And I think those scales will tip over time with the types of content that are built in podcasts.
VK: What’s something about you that might surprise people?
CL: There are photos if you Google it, I once played an Orange in the film The Wannabees with is a Nick Giannopoulos film.
VK: Oh my God, that did definitely surprise me, and I am definitely going to Google that. What does playing an Orange involve?
I did it, I Googled it. And here it is, Corey Layton as an orange
CL: Like a big, giant round orange, and me having my face painted orange in a big, giant orange suit. And, my line was cut… All that effort.
VK: If you weren’t in podcasting, what do you think you’d be doing? Still trying out the lucrative orange acting circuit?
CL: God, no.
I think – my whole career has been in audio. So if not in podcasting, it’s not going to be far away in the land of audio. I know that’s a kind of boring answer, but it’s a space I love.
Entries for Radio Today’s Podcast Awards with LiSTNR are now open. Categories span podcast executive leader of the year, host or presenter of the year, branded podcast of the year and podcast company of the year. Late entries are open now until July 4. More information is available here.