In just a few short years Claire Tonti has gone from school teacher to CEO; now running her own podcasting network Planet Broadcasting with her husband James Clement. And it doesn’t stop there. With a business and toddler in tow, Claire’s also busy creating her own podcast, Just Make The Thing and across all her platforms she’s helped raise thousands of dollars for those less fortunate. We caught up with Claire to chat all things podcasting and managing life as a busy working mum.

Only a couple of years ago you were a primary school teacher and now you’re the head of a podcasting network, can you tell us a bit about this journey and how Planet Broadcasting was born?

I can’t quite believe how fast things have changed over the last three years. Planet Broadcasting began as a side hustle. My husband created the YouTube channel Mr Sunday Movies and the podcast The Weekly Planet with a good mate Nick Mason around 8 years ago whilst we were teaching in the remote indigenous community, Kalumbura. They worked on the creative and I began developing the business and advertising revenue side of the company, and then when my son was born in 2015 and I went on maternity leave, I began looking around for ideas to extend my side of the business.

There were other US podcast networks like Gimlet and Radiotopia that I really loved and they inspired me to start my own podcast network, Planet Broadcasting.  I based the network on three core ideas – I wanted it to be a funny, creative place that allowed Australian podcasters and creators to share their content with global audiences; I wanted it to connect them with new and innovative brands and build an online community of people who support each other and make each other laugh. Our final goal was to use our platform to make the world a little bit better by raising money for charity. To date we have reached over 50 million views across the world, from New York to Argentina to Tokyo and Melbourne on YouTube and our podcasts, all whilst giving back. I couldn’t be more proud of our team.

What does a day in the life of Claire Tonti look like?

Haha every day is definitely very different. Depending on the time of year and what content we are producing I can be in the city having coffee meetings, filming a video in our house or doing an interview for Just Make The Thing.

Having a three year old means I’m often woken up very early, so my day begins with a good strong coffee and a record. Days when my son is home are often spent juggling emails and creative while subbing in and out with my husband James (I believe it’s really important to be completely 50/50 in the way we parent). We also love to go on adventures with our son and usually once a week will take him to the zoo or a farm or a new playground. Then I usually try to squeeze in some writing while he has his afternoon nap.

In the afternoon I usually bounce between meetings with our business partners in the US or RAW Collings, who is my partner in crime, the editor of our website and my wingman on all things Planet Broadcasting. He lives in Cardiff, Wales so getting on the same time zone can be tricky. At night we’ll eat dinner together as a family (unless life has become next level crazy) and put our little guy to bed with a book, which is one of the best times of the day. After he’s in bed I usually end up zooming off to record a podcast at Stupid Old Studios in Brunswick (an awesome warehouse space where a lot of our writers and comedians work from) or crashing on the couch with James and Netflix while we both keep working for a few hours. Another thing that keeps me sane is my Thursday night dinners with my girlfriends. Plus chocolate and wine helps too.

What’s your biggest highlight in your podcasting career so far?

Gosh this is a hard one to answer. I’m so privileged to work with James in the way I do. It means our lives are so intertwined.

Additionally, last year I interviewed Clare Bowditch for Just Make The Thing. She’s been a huge influence on me both musically and creatively, so to got to visit the ABC studios and ask her all the questions I had in my head was definitely a highlight. At the end of the show she performed a song called ‘Amazing Life’ which I recommend to anyone trying to figure out their path in the world – cue goosebumps.

But what I would say I am most proud of is our charity work with Planet Broadcasting. Collectively we’ve raised over $130,000 across the last three years through our annual campaigns including the Syrian refugee crisis through UNICEF, promoting men’s health via Movember and this year for CARE Australia who support vulnerable women and girls all over the world. Knowing what a difference this money has made to the lives of people just blows me away, it’s the best antidote to the news cycle we are living in currently.

What advice would you give to those who are wanting to start their own podcast i.e. What are your top three ingredients to success?

Good question! I reckon the top three ingredients would be to nail your concept, don’t go too broad. Find something you are really interested in and then work on a great structure. Secondly, if you’re making it as a team find someone you love to work with who makes you laugh – chemistry between hosts often makes or breaks a show. And the final thing would be sound quality. When we started you could get away with terrible sound quality, but podcast audiences are pretty savvy now so try and get some decent equipment/editing software.

The podcast industry is changing so fast. I think in the next three years we are going to see more shorter form podcasts, more crossovers with video and podcasting and I would love to see some more radio plays like The Message or novel podcasts like S-Town.

What are your favourite podcasts to listen to when you’re not busy making your own?

So many to choose from! I love to listen to The Guilty Feminist (joyful, funny and inclusive), Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, Chat 10 Looks 3 (with Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabbe), The Daily (for my US politics) and obviously all our PB shows including Do Go On, Human/Ordinary and The Millennial Divide (which I produce but makes me laugh so much I had to mention it – these sisters are seriously ridiculous and great).

How have you seen the podcasting landscape change since you launched Planet Broadcasting in 2017?

It’s changed hugely in the audience awareness, particularly within Australia. People are now seeing podcasting as another medium that can hold its own with TV, radio, film and literature. I think it’s just another platform for sharing information and telling great stories. I’m so excited to see where it goes next.

You’re marooned on an island – name three people you’d want there with you and why?

 Can I say my husband and my son? Probably LAME I know but they are my favourite humans in the world and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere without them. Third I’ll go with Nigella Lawson – I’m a big foodie and well that women can cook right? I also feel like she would be great fun. So yeah, I guess we wouldn’t last long but we’d have a great time.