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  • Writer's pictureRanieri & Co.

Interview with Simon Portus, Creative Director and Liz Keen, Executive Producer of The Long Haul

Launching soon, The Long Haul is a brand new podcast recorded in Melbourne over the last year from Ranieri & Co and Headline Productions. The show goes beyond the bright lights and cheering crowds, into the culture of elite sport in Australia. The Long Haul is produced by Liz Keen (ABC, Four Corners) and Simon Portus (ABC, Wild Kitchen.)

The Long Haul will consist of eight episodes. Each of these episodes use rich soundscapes, entertaining and insightful interviews and raw honesty to take you beyond game day. We’re often called a sporting nation, but what do we really expect of our sportspeople? And what does our relationship to them say about our country? We asked Simon and Liz for more insight into the podcast.

Tell us about the premise of The Long Haul in your own words.

The Long Haul was born out of a love for sport but also the understanding that, as fans, we only ever see a tiny part of what sport is really about. We wanted to understand what really happens behind the scenes of elite sport in Australia. Sport highlights major issues in our society, and it unites and divides us like nothing else.

How did you get involved with the project?

We originally created and developed the idea as a television series, but when we broadened into a podcast company, The Long Haul was a natural podcast. The intimate and unique stories we wanted to find and share fit a podcast perfectly. It’s been great to join Ranieri and Co. and develop the idea together.

What was your favourite part of working on the podcast?

Simon: I love putting episodes together. Finding the storylines and building the sound design to make the whole episode compelling. Coming up with episode ideas and developing them is also great.

Liz: Putting together audio like this is like connecting the pieces of a puzzle. It’s incredibly satisfying when it all connects together and feels right.

What was the most challenging aspect of creating TLH?

Finding the right people to be in each episode was challenging. You really need to approach a range of talent and then go back to your original idea for the episode and see which talent speak to that core idea the most.

Who do you think will enjoy this podcast?

The Long Haul is great for parents. It relates to their kids’ experience with sport, but it’s also full of issues we can all reflect on in our own lives and choices, so there is something for everyone.

Who was your favourite guest on the show?

Simon: It’s hard to pick but Cate Campbell was right up there. I think my favourite guests were probably Rommie and Miella Brown, the young gymnast sisters in Ep 1. Listening to them was fascinating - to have that drive and determination at such a young age in such a hard sport is incredible.

Liz: It was fantastic to connect with the famous sportspeople, like Shane Gould and Craig Foster of course, just to get a chance to hear their perspectives, but I love that we have also spoken with athletes who I’d never heard of, but are just as inspirational. Overall my favourite guest was probably Jose Calderon, the Basketball player. He was so honest and insightful.

What other podcasts are you listening to at the moment?

Simon: I love podcasts like 99% Invisible and 30 for 30 but I’m also really daggy with my podcast listening. I’m listening to a History of England podcast… I don’t even really take all the detail in but it transports me there and stops me falling asleep on long drives!

Liz: My easy listening go-to is No Such Thing as a Fish, it’s just entertaining and relaxing, another one I keep going back to is Freakonomics - I like that every episode is different.

Watch this space for more information on The Long Haul, launching February 21st, 2022. If you’d like to chat further on creating an original podcast or advertising on podcasts, contact us here.

About Headline Productions

Headline Productions is a boutique media production company that works with clients across Australia and around the world to help them connect with their audience and tell their story. Find out more:

About Ranieri & Co

In Australia and New Zealand, Ranieri & Co. exclusively represents the world’s largest independent podcast publisher: Wondery. Ranieri & Co. also makes custom branded podcasts that hit the sweet spot between what brands want to talk about and what audiences are genuinely interested in. Stories that inspire, inform and entertain. The first original podcast, Motherlode is out now.

Ranieri & Co. represent leading local podcasts The Byron Cooke Show, The Mind Muscle Project, The Fitness and Lifestyle Podcast, Single Minded and The Junkees with Dave O'Neil and Kitty Flanagan.

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