Pariya Taherzadeh-Desovski and Toni Tenaglia: Wow stories, authenticity and Podcasting for Your Brand

Toni Tenaglia: “I used to work in Adelaide, and this is going back a good twenty years ago, but it’s still in my head. This lady came up to me and as we were chatting she said,

‘you’re just the same as you are on the radio.’

And that made me think, well, I’m doing my job right. I’m being me. I’m not pretending to be anybody else.

So, when it comes to people being able to relate to you, that’s the whole thing with podcasting; something or someone they connect with.

And, even if it’s a work branded podcast, as long as they’re connected to what you’re talking about and they relate to it, then you’ve done your job.”

Toni is coming up for five years as the afternoons presenter on Melbourne’s Gold 104.3. She is the top FM broadcaster in her timeslot and her cumulative audience exceeds 3AW. Through the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), she, and Pariya Taherzadeh-Desovski, are teaching, a course called Podcasting for Your Brand, which is focused on the increasingly lucrative marketing potential of a business centric audio product.

Like the woman who approached Toni long ago, I too began our conversation with the sense of already knowing them both. I’d heard Pariya’s NY Festivals Radio Awards Gold Award winning Escape from Iran before it had been submitted. Toni is a glass ceiling obliterator for women in music, radio and leadership with 30 years’ experience as an announcer (one of the first females to do a solo music shift), programmer (launching TTT FM Hobart, Nova Adelaide and assisting in the rebrand of Mix to KIIS in Melbourne) and music director (the youngest metro MD in Melbourne).

Pariya’s documentary/podcast/audio experience Escape from Iran started coming together when she was a Selwyn Speight Diversity Scholarship recipient doing her Graduate Diploma at AFTRS in 2018. The documentary would air on Radio National before winning Gold in the History category, and a Silver prize for social issues, at the 2020 NY Festival awards. She would win gold again for Jaleh’s Drive for Freedom at the 2022 awards too. Jaleh is Pariya’s mother and I’ll leave you to seek out the audio to hear her remarkable stories.

Pariya says, “I’m what you get when culture invests in diversity’ with now her own freelance podcast production and creation business and a Pariya Taherzadeh Radio and Podcasting Scholarship offered to AFTRS students who can benefit from assistance to study.

“We all have a story. You just need to find it and believe that it’s worthy enough of telling,” Pariya said.

That’s what I always tell our students: to differentiate between an everyday story of getting coffee versus a wow factor, like when you’ve told someone something and they’ve said, ‘that’s a cool story’ and they want to hear more.”

This grounding in authenticity is something that holds true for businesses and creators wanting to include podcasting in their content plans, but it’s also important learn the ropes and demands of the medium – from ideation to promotion.

Every single person that’s ever wanted to make a podcast, and Toni I’m sure you’ll agree, doesn’t realise how much work goes into it until they’ve started it,” said Pariya.

Toni agrees podcasting is a process that needs demystifying:

“They’ve got to try it for the first time. And this is where the course is great as they have to record a three-minute interview to edit later. Even if they haven’t done anything, that’s the first step to knowing you can do it. If you don’t get it completely right, it doesn’t matter because you record more than you need, you can cut it back down. It gives them the opportunity to realise it is not as scary as you think it is.”

Pariya replied:

“We designed it that way as well. For beginners as well as someone that’s been dabbling in it for their company or business. It’s useful and practical.”

With business podcasts proving an effective way to increase brand awareness and reach, humanise your company story and increase customer loyalty, it’s a good time to learn from these extraordinary women to become an authentic and relatable storyteller. You can take Podcasting for your Brand face to face, with Pariya in April, or online in March across three Tuesday nights with Toni.

What’s your wow story?

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