Three Minute Squiz with… Squiz Kids Host, Bryce Corbett

Some big news from us… We’re launching Squiz Kids, a weekday kids news podcast. And its host is journalist, author and father-of-two Bryce Corbett. He’s been part of The Squiz since day one as a news sounding board, so he knows us inside out. And with two tin lids in the Squiz Kids target demo of 8-12yo, he knows how hard it is for parents to give their kids a regular serve of news. So for our first Three Minute Squiz of 2020, please welcome Squiz Kids host, Bryce Corbett. 

How and where do you Squiz?
Umm, I talk to you every afternoon about your story selection and I look over the email copy before you send it out in the morning…

Good point. Why do you think a kids news version of the Squiz Today Podcast is important?
Well, firstly, because nothing like it currently exists for Australian kids. And secondly, because as a parent I want my kids to be curious about the world around them while learning to be critical consumers of media. I want them to understand there are credible sources of news and information, and not-so credible sources – and I want them to be able to tell one from the other. And in an age in which more and more of us are getting our news from our social media feeds – and those feeds are becoming more and more narrow by the day as algorithms make judgments about our interests – children who have a well-rounded, informed view of the world will, I believe, be better prepared to succeed in it.

I suppose a shorter answer to your question could have been: because I’m an old journo, and as such, I’m a passionate believer in the importance of knowing what’s going on in the world around you.

What can we expect from Squiz Kids?
It will be a daily serve of sugar-coated broccoli. Which is to say: we’re going to wrap up a whole lot of useful, brain-enriching information in an easy to digest, kid-friendly format.

So each episode will be about seven minutes – what will it include?
We’ll cover off the main news story or stories of the day – and then we’ll make sure there’s plenty of news from the worlds of pop culture, sport, science and entertainment. Because it’s pointless producing a podcast for kids that doesn’t deep dive into the worlds they’re interested in. And most importantly, it will be fun.

It’s pitched as news without the nasties. Does that mean it will be light on real news?
Not at all. In fact, in all of the research we did before conceiving Squiz Kids, the experts told us that the worst thing you can do when communicating with kids is to talk down to them. We’re definitely going to be careful about our news story selection but as with The Squiz and the Squiz Today podcast, we won’t shy away from the big national, international or political news stories of the day. Importantly though, we’ll be putting those stories into context, breaking them down and presenting them in a way that makes sense to kids. It will also be unapologetically fun. Because what kid doesn’t like to laugh?

Families of all shapes and sizes are pretty busy. How are you going to make it easy for them to get their kids into it?
See above re: sugar-coated broccoli. Also… we’re going to be releasing the podcast at 7am each day of the school term. Why 7am? Because it’s the perfect time to capture families and kids as they scramble off to school. Research shows that though we parents have long ago lost control of the TV remote, and have only intermittent control over our kids web-browsing habits, the one space in which we still control the knobs, so to speak, is in the car. Hello school drop-off! And as any parent will tell you: AM radio news is pitched way above kids’ heads, and FM breakfast radio is either a smut-fest that’s wholly inappropriate for young and impressionable ears or mind-numbingly inane. And usually it’s both.

An important question – what do your kids think of Squiz Kids?
As my children, they’re contractually obliged to love it. Happily, they’re both still at an age where my very existence – including every word I say, every item of clothing I wear and every breath I take – doesn’t have them doubled over in embarrassment. I am mindful, however, that this is a temporary state of parenting bliss – and with teen years on the near horizon, it’s a honeymoon that will soon be over.

And what do you want parents and carers to know about it?
That it’s a safe space. That listening to a podcast is a great alternative to screen time. That it’s a marginally better use of your kids’ time than watching Dude Perfect, slime-making tutorials or people-playing-Minecraft videos on YouTube. That listening to Squiz Kids with your offspring makes you a heaps better parent (it’s been scientifically proven). That you might just learn something about the pop culture worlds your kids inhabit. And that, in signature Squiz style, Squiz Kids will be free of opinion and conceived every day without an agenda in mind.

You’ve been a print journo and author. How are your audio chops?
I did a stint presenting an ABC radio show over the Christmas break – so the chat bit I reckon I’ve got down pat. The pushing of buttons and manipulating of podcast editing software, not so much. Hence I hereby beg the indulgence of all who listen to early iterations as I fumble my way through them. To that point, and mindful of the target audience: I’ll do my very best to keep the cussing to a minimum.

The best piece of advice your father/mother/friend gave you?
Always take the road less traveled.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being really good with podcast editing software…

What’s your worst and best habit?
My kids say I laugh too loudly. Which I think, immodestly, is my best habit. Because I’m middle-aged and beyond caring.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Aussie kids should know about but don’t?
That a fun, fresh and free news podcast for kids is about to be launched and it will change their lives! Too much? Thought so…

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