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  • Writer's pictureRanieri & Co.

Announcing Dark Shining Moment, an Original Podcast from Ranieri & Co.

A driving force behind Ranieri & Co.’s company mission has always been to develop original podcasts with home-grown, industry leading talent. After the success of We Are Lonely, Motherlode, and the award-winning The Long Haul, Ranieri & Co. will release their next original podcast, Dark Shining Moment. The series explores the story of how Russia exploited the internet to interfere in America’s 2016 election, altering history and helping to create the world we live in today. Dark Shining Moment offers expert analysis, eyewitness interviews and never heard before insights. You can listen to the trailer now.

The podcast landscape in Australia has never been stronger.

A majority of Australians now listen to podcasts, with one in five claiming they listen to a podcast at least once a week (20%), followed by one in six (16%) who do so at least once a day.

Politics and news is the second most popular podcast genre amongst those who listen to podcasts in Australia, second only to music (YouGov 2023).

Did you know that in 2016, Russian bots on Twitter were responsible for more than 3.8 million tweets, about 19% of the total tweets related to the 2016 US presidential election? Dark Shining Moment goes behind the story to connect the dots between the events of 2016 and the present, illustrating how the actions of that pivotal year continue to shape the geopolitical world we live in today. It’s a testament to the power of digital influence and a must-listen for any professional interested in the intersection of technology, media, and politics. The podcast was developed by an expert team - the story is written and narrated by Chris Zappone, Executive Producer: Greg Muller, Consulting Producer: Richard Baker,  Production Manager: Nick Randall and Sound Design: Marty Peralta.

Writer and narrator Chris Zappone is Digital Foreign Editor at The Age/Sydney Morning Herald. He has presented on related subjects at SXSW in the US and testified to Parliament on the political risk of social media manipulation. Chris explains:

My hope with Dark Shining Moment has been to tell a story that makes sense of the chaos that the world witnessed in one decisive year. Everyone loves a suspense-driven thriller: and this is one whose outcome affected us all. I wanted it to have a democratic sensibility so I interviewed real-world eyewitnesses from different backgrounds."

"What I liked about crafting the script was trying to achieve a kind of kaleidoscopic view of a moment when a new reality comes barging into view. It's been gratifying watching it come to life with expert hands at Ranieri & Co. I think listeners will be surprised to learn the inside account of how some people exploited technology to achieve a major effect. As the story says, to understand what’s to come we need to understand where we’ve been.”

Production Manager and Ranieri & Co. co-founder Nick Randall elaborates:

There's the US, Russia, social media, Trump, Hillary Clinton, Julian Assange, troll farms, democracy, misinformation, disinformation, mainstream media...and we are taking the listener right into the very moment that all of these actors collided and absolute chaos reigned.”

Greg Muller is a Senior Producer with ABC Radio National. He was Executive Producer for award-winning podcasts Wrong Skin and Gertie's Law for the Supreme Court of Victoria and Motherlode, the story behind Wikileaks. Greg offers his perspective:

“Dark Shining Moment is both scary and liberating. Scary because it's a glimpse into what is possible when it comes to messing with something we (especially in Australia) usually take for granted: democracy. And then liberating because the only way to deal with these threats is to know about them. Most people have heard how Russia can manipulate elections, and in particular the 2016 one in the US which brought in Donald Trump. But the story of how this actually happened, and why is less well known. It's an incredible story. And it's still happening right now."

"Chris Zappone has meticulously broken down this progression in interference. He takes you through it step by step and before you know it, the whole thing makes sense. Moreover, it was under our noses all this time, but we just didn't see it.”

Commenting on the podcast series, Ranieri & Co. Co-Founder Rob Ranieri says:

“Dark Shining Moment is an exciting evolution in our digital storytelling journey.

The amazingly talented team have created not only a political expose, but also a thrilling narrative which makes the podcast incredibly engaging to listen to and connect with. And with a 2024 US election looming, the timing could not be better.”

If you would like more insight into podcast developments and advertising please contact us to learn more. You can listen to the preview of Dark Shining Moment below. The first episode will be available on 13th March.

Dark Shining Moment in The Wild

ASPI Podcast: Policy, Guns & Money

"With more than 2 billion people in over 70 countries expected to vote this year, 2024 has been dubbed the year of elections. To explore election related foreign interference and disinformation, David Wroe speaks to Chris Zappone, the Digital Foreign Editor for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. They discuss the current state of the information environment, how it has evolved over time, and how social media and AI are being used to spread disinformation."

RN Breakfast

Episode: 7th March, 2024 (starts 1:49:33)

Presenter Patricia Karvelas: "Donald Trump's grip on the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and the Republican Party in general, is all but certain. Against this backdrop, a new podcast examines the lead up to the 2016 election, the pivotal events that lead to trumps ascent to the presidency and the ongoing repercussions of that election."

ABC Listen - RN Breakfast

'Dark Shining Moment' is a new podcast that tells the stories of the first people to identify Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Featuring interviews with intelligence officers, government employees and Russian media analysts, the podcast explores the pivotal events leading to Donald Trump's ascent to the presidency and the ongoing repercussions of that election.

Guest: Chris Zappone, host of Dark Shining Moment and Digital Foreign Editor at The Age

Producer: James Pattison

Apple Podcasts Feature

United States, Australia & New Zealand

A first for a Ranieri & Co. original, Dark Shining Moment has broken into the United States with an overseas feature in the Apple Podcasts app. This follows local features in both Australia and New Zealand. Mere hours after the feature, Dark Shining Moment started charting in the US for both Politics and News for Apple Podcasts.

ABC Listen - Global Roaming

It's worrying when one of Europe's most influential leaders says that the world is in a 'pre-war state', similar to 1939. But just how worried should we be, here in Australia?

Host Hamish Macdonald recommends his current listening: Dark Shining Moment.

The Cosmopolitan Globalist

A discussion on Russia's interference in the 2016 election campaign. "Chris is waking up at an ungodly early hour to do this, so I’ll be mortified if we don’t have a good turnout." Hah!

About Ranieri & Co

With both Motherlode and The Long Haul, Ranieri & Co. has staked its claim as an award-winning podcast company. In Australia and New Zealand, Ranieri & Co. grows businesses through audio. We increase brand awareness and drive conversions by placing brands in top shows and producing stories that inspire, inform and entertain. Find out more at


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