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CBC Names Arif Noorani As Podcast Director; Announces Slate Of New Shows.

Canada’s top podcaster, the public broadcaster CBC, has announced a slate of new shows that it plans to release in the coming months. And in a commitment to podcasting, at the helm of the division will be Arif Noorani in the newly-created position of Director of CBC Podcasts.

Noorani has been at CBC for more than two decades, and since 2014 he has been Executive Producer where he was the editorial lead on a slate of more than three dozen shows. In his new position, Noorani will lead content strategy and development at CBC Podcasts, including identifying new opportunities for the broadcaster in the podcasting space. Noorani will also head up initiatives that continue to grow CBC audiences beyond the Canadian borders, such as spearheading partnerships with global podcast partners.

“When you look at the depth of his industry experience, it’s easy to see how Arif has helped lead the success of CBC Podcasts,” said Leslie Merklinger, Executive Director of CBC Podcasts. “Arif employs an audience-first approach in whatever he does, and that is particularly evident in the wide range of well-received series that he’s shepherded since co-founding the division with me seven years ago. I am so excited about the potential of CBC Podcasts and am grateful to have Arif as a partner to help take this content powerhouse to the next level.”

Since launching CBC Podcasts in 2015, Noorani has helped to grow the platform count more than 70 million downloads annually. During his tenure, Noorani has developed and managed the creation of more than 40 original series, such as the international hit Someone Knows Something; a dozen seasons of Uncover, and the trilogy on extremism -- The Flamethrowers, White Hot Hate and Boandys Like Me.

Five New Podcasts Already On CBC’s 2022 Calendar

In addition to promoting Noorani, CBC has also announced a slate of podcasts it plans to debut in the coming months. The list is led by Sorry About The Kid featuring writer Alex McKinnon. Thirty years after his brother was killed by a speeding police car, McKinnon unearths his childhood grief, with help from family, friends, and a therapist who witnessed his brother’s death, in the emotional four-part series. He is co-producing the series with Mira Burt-Wintonick.

Then on February 11, the podcast Nothing Is Foreign will debut in a co-production with CBC News. The series is hosted by journalist Tamara Khandaker. It is described as a weekly trip to wherever the story is unfolding.

I grew up at the intersection of a bunch of different cultures and spent my formative years with an incredibly diverse group of friends. That upbringing has given me a deep appreciation for other places and cultures, and allowed me to think of myself much more as a global citizen,” says Khandaker. “I've been craving a show that looks at world news through that lens, and that's what Nothing Is Foreign will do – it'll go deep, center the people who are living the news, and be curious about the histories that make us who we are. It'll help listeners feel more connected to the world around them and make it feel just a little bit smaller.”

Four days later, CBC will premiere a new podcast called Welcome To Paradise. The show is a six-episode memoir hosted by one of Canada’s most respected journalists, Anna Maria Tremonti. In the podcast she tells a personal story, about the deep trauma she suffered in an abusive marriage.

“For a long time, I thought what happened to me gave me the empathy to help other people tell their stories of trauma. I didn’t think I should talk about my own – journalists aren’t supposed to talk about their own issues. But, in the midst of one interview in particular, I realized my silence wasn’t helpful. It was becoming a lie,” said Tremonti. “Decades ago, I got away from the man who abused me. But what he did to me has followed me for the rest of my life – in the form of shame, self-blame and loathing. I’m finally letting that go – Welcome to Paradise is my story.”

Tremonti will share her story publicly, for the first time, at the opening night of Hot Docs Podcast Festival on Tuesday, January 25.

CBC Podcasts has also announced several other shows in the works including --

  • The Next Call: The Case of Nadia Atwi. The podcast tackles unsolved cases through strategic phone calls, the curtain is peeled back. In its new season debuting Feb. 8, the show will tell the story about the 2017 disappearance of Edmonton kindergarten teacher Salwa Atwi.

  • True Dating Stories. Just in time for Valentine's Day, CBC on Feb. 11 will launch the series that it says offers the “greatest real dating stories ever told.” The podcast is based on the CBC Gem series.

  • Let’s Make A Sci-Fi. The eight-part adventure through the creative process as three comedians (Ryan Beil, Maddy Kelly and Mark Chavez) try to write a legit sci-fi pilot — with help from Hollywood pros. It will debut March 1.

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