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Founder Lewis Tennant Leads The NZ Podcasting Summit To New Heights In The Era Of Digital Content Dominance


Founder Lewis Tennant Leads The NZ Podcasting Summit To New Heights In The Era Of Digital Content Dominance

Podcasting has emerged as a powerful medium for storytelling and audience engagement. Lewis Tennant, the visionary Founder and Director of The NZ Podcasting Summit, is at the forefront of this movement in New Zealand. Through the Summit, Tennant aims to bring together podcasters, industry professionals, and aspiring creators to collectively shape the future of podcasting in the country.

Founder Lewis Tennant Leads The NZ Podcasting Summit To New Heights In The Era Of Digital Content Dominance

Tennant’s journey began with an arts degree in the 90s, followed by a foray into radio, events, and media. In 2010, nearly 15 years after leaving university, he returned to pursue postgraduate study and fell into teaching. His diverse experiences have shaped his approach to teaching storytelling and podcasting. “I think what’s been really helpful, because obviously podcasting and teaching are quite different, but I think your students respond to someone who’s actually done the things and is doing the things that they are teaching. You know, I think that goes a long way.”

The NZ Podcasting Summit, now in its third year, was born out of Tennant’s desire to foster a sense of community among podcasters in New Zealand. “About three years ago, I had an idea in the shower of ‘It would be good to have an event to get a whole bunch of people who are podcasting together from around New Zealand’,” he explains. “That’s why I use the word summit. I kind of thought about what to call it, and it just seemed a good word for the idea of wherever you are in podcasting, coming together.”

Founder Lewis Tennant Leads The NZ Podcasting Summit To New Heights In The Era Of Digital Content Dominance

Photo credit: Jed Town

The Rise of Podcasting: Accessibility, Storytelling, and the Feel-Good Side of the Internet

Podcasting has witnessed a remarkable rise in popularity over the past decade, and Tennant attributes this to several key factors. Amid the proliferation of high-tech video games, virtual reality, and big-budget Hollywood films, the resurgence of what is essentially “old-fashioned radio” might seem surprising. “I think there’s a few reasons for that sort of strange, as I say, quite old-fashioned way to engage with media coming back,” he explains. “I think one of them might be being able to engage with content, but not having to look into a screen for 5 minutes or 10 minutes or an hour or whatever to do that.”

The accessibility and flexibility of podcasting have also contributed to its success. “Unlike a film where you have to sit and invest two hours with podcasting, you can be at the gym listening, you can be cooking, you can be walking your dog,” Tennant points out. This ease of consumption, coupled with the screen fatigue many experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made podcasting an attractive medium for both creators and listeners.

At its core, however, the appeal of podcasting lies in the human love for storytelling. “Whether it is a high tech game or multi hundreds of millions of dollars film or a podcast, humans just like stories, we like hearing other people tell stories,” Tennant explains. Moreover, podcasting has come to represent what Tennant calls “the feel good part of the internet.” He elaborates, “Generally podcasts are about learning or engaging or being entertained and, they call it ‘the feel-good part of the internet’, which sounds a bit sort of corny, but I think there’s something in that.”

Podcasting has also become a powerful tool for education and expertise-sharing. “I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh, I never really got into history at school, but then I started listening to this person on this podcast, and the way they explain things, I’m learning all this stuff that I didn’t learn elsewhere’”, Tennant shares. He also believes that the authenticity and intimacy of podcasting set it apart from other forms of media. “People feel like there’s a realness to, for example, a podcast compared to an interview on the news. You get to hear people a bit more relaxed for a longer time. You feel like you’re a fly on the wall,” he concludes.

Founder Lewis Tennant Leads The NZ Podcasting Summit To New Heights In The Era Of Digital Content Dominance

Photo credit: Michael King.

Podcasting and the Creator Economy: Unlocking Opportunities for Niche Audiences and Brand Partnerships

The role of podcasting in the creator economy is rapidly evolving, offering creators viable platforms for income generation, audience engagement, and brand partnerships. Tennant acknowledges the growing significance of this medium: “I know that is only growing and continues to grow.”

While not everyone has equal access to technology, podcasting remains a relatively accessible form of content creation. “For a lot of us around the world, it’s a really accessible way to make content compared to maybe something that requires a higher amount of technology,” Tennant explains. “So more people can get into it, and there’s that crossover with YouTubers and you can get quite a good camera feed and do a visual thing as wel, so this is low barriers to entry.”

As companies increasingly recognize the potential of podcasting, they are starting to invest in the medium for targeted advertising. Tennant compares podcasting to its “close cousin” radio, noting that while radio advertisers aim for a broad audience, podcasting allows for much more targeted advertising. “Podcasting is actually about quite small audiences that are into a really particular thing,” he illustrates. “If you are an advertiser of products for equine industry, for horses, you are far better to spend your money with a podcast that has 1000 listeners, that’s specifically for people who own horses because you are tipping straight into your market.”

Founder Lewis Tennant Leads The NZ Podcasting Summit To New Heights In The Era Of Digital Content Dominance

The Future of The NZ Podcasting Summit and Advice for Aspiring Creators

The NZ Podcasting Summit aims to provide attendees with a comprehensive experience, featuring a diverse lineup of speakers and sessions. “Each year I try to get a completely different line-up”, Tennant says. This year’s event includes a Maori media panel, exploring how podcasting serves their culture and language, as well as a true crime podcasting panel focusing on ethics and legality. Tennant emphasizes the inclusivity of the summit, welcoming attendees at any stage of their podcasting journey. “The idea is that everyone’s collectively there, there’s no pecking order,” he says. 

As for the future of the Summit, Tennant has aspirations to grow the event sustainably rather than focusing solely on expansion. “I’d like it to sustain itself rather than being all about growth. But having said that, I would like it to grow in terms of, developing more options over the day. Almost like a music festival where you choose whether you go and sit in the main room or whether you go to a workshop,” he envisions.

For those aspiring to carve out their own path in podcasting or digital storytelling, Tennant offers sage advice. “Take the time to learn how to get a good well-framed shot or a well-recorded bit of audio”, he says. “And the other thing is, if you don’t invest in learning how to do all of that, it’s really hard to fix things that aren’t great afterward.”

As The NZ Podcasting Summit continues to empower creators and shape the future of podcasting in New Zealand, Lewis Tennant remains at the helm, driven by a passion for storytelling and a commitment to fostering a vibrant podcasting community. With its inclusive approach, diverse lineup, and focus on practical skills, the summit serves as a beacon for aspiring podcasters and industry professionals alike, paving the way for a new era of digital storytelling in the land of the long white cloud.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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