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by Katerina Skoumbas
posted 23/02/2021

Newcastle Podcast Awards 2021

Who knew Newcastle had its own thriving podcast community? Not me!

It came as a surprise as I walked into the inaugural Newcastle Podcast Awards last Sunday to see over 100 local podcasters elegantly dressed and talking shop as they waited with anticipation for the ceremony to begin.

Organised by the dedicated Melanie Sergeant (Newcastle Podcast Station) and set at the Novotel on Newcastle Beach, the event was both glamorous and heartwarming with a good sense of community.

I was lucky to be seated next to the incredible Aunty Donna from Newcastle’s First Storytellers podcast. Her story is like no other; she’s a local author, Baptist church pastor, University graduate (times 4!) and a member of the Stolen Generation. On the podcast Donna Meehan shares her personal journey as well as acknowledging local indigenous excellence in 2020.

I met so many awesome local podcasters that night including Influencer of the Year award winners Alana Nixon and Laura Jackel from Oversubscribed podcast.

As I enjoyed the privilege of being invited as a nominee for my podcast Makers x Traders Audio Trail, my mind wandered to how I fell into podcasting…

I was working with Station Manager Tony Smythe on the Radiothon in 2009, when he asked me to submit a show proposal. Inspired by the other long-standing presenters like Georgie and Paris Groovescooter and Taline & Manny from Moodswing, I launched a global beats music show called Merchants of Sound with my husband Rully (aka Bully Dux).

Eventually three years of community radio experience lead me to work for the ABC – first on ABC Open and then on their annual podcast conference OzPod in 2018 . We moved the family to Newcastle and I joined ABC Newcastle Local Radio as a Drive producer and Mornings cultural correspondent, before getting stuck into my own podcast production.

I was pulled back into the present moment when I heard my name announced as the winner of the Newcastle Stories category… Whhhaaat??!! A surreal experience for any first-timer.

As the host/producer Makers x Traders Audio Trail I had the pleasure of getting to know some of the creative and independent businesses in Newcastle who really believe in building community, as well as ethical and sustainable practice…. my kind of people!

My co-producer is the talented sound magician Brianna Peterson (ABC’s Imagine This / At Home with Brie kids podcasts) – sorry, you’ll have to wait in line to work with her! The project is supervised by two passionate Newcastle celebrities who drive the Makers x Traders organisation – Rowena Foong (High Tea with Mrs Woo) and Bec Bowie (Estabar Cafe). And to top it all off, we looked beyond stock music to engage a local beatmaker, Professor Crabb who created the theme track for the series.

The evening finished perfectly, with the Podcast of the Year award winner…. Aunty Donna! Who gave a very moving acceptance speech leaving us all with this quote from Martin Luther King Jr “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”

Thank you to Eastside Radio for nurturing broadcasters and for supporting the local arts and cultural community – standing up for real community has never been so important.

Listen to Season 1 of Makers x Traders Audio Trail via Apple or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts! Season 2 coming soon!

Listen to our music show live or on demand: Merchants of Sound every Saturday from 6 to 8pm. I’m on rotation with an all-female crew of amazing selectors: Georgie, Tess and Wicked Bandit.


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