We have our eyes (and ears) turned to the six edition of the Hot Docs Podcast Festival. From January 25 to 28, this year’s all-virtual and globally streamed festival will bring an exciting line up full of live podcast presentations and provocative conversations. We are also excited to offer up a contest for a chance to win a Festival Pass! Details below!

Here are some highlights…

On Opening Night, Tuesday, January 26 at 7:30 pm:

The Secrets We Keep: CBC Podcasts Storytelling Showcase We all have a secret or two. Why are some hard to keep, and others hard to share? What are we still afraid to talk about in 2022? Are some secrets best kept hidden? Co-hosts, Leah Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson return to the festival on opening night with a star-studded storytelling showcase. They will be building on the theme of their highly entertaining and richly subversive CBC podcast, The Secret Life of Canada.

Featuring stories by:

• Elamin Abdelmahmoud, Amil Niazi and Kevin Fallon (Pop Chat)
• Ryan Thorpe (White Hot Hate)
• Anna Maria Tremonti and Farzana Doctor (the all-new CBC podcast, Welcome to Paradise)

On Wednesday, January 27 at 6:00 pm:

Michael Lewis in conversation with Ira Glass: Michael Lewis’ first book, Liar’s Poker, about working on Wall Street in the ‘80s, turned him into a literary icon. When he went into the studio to record a new audiobook version of Liar’s Poker, he thought a lot about how much Wall Street has (or hasn’t) changed. He also thought about his own evolution as a writer. Those musings became a new podcast series called Other People’s Money, which is being released as a companion to Liar’s Poker.

In this celebration of two of the greatest non-fiction storytellers of our time, Lewis, whose other books include Moneyball and The Big Short, is joined by Ira Glass, creator and host of public radio’s This American Life. They discuss their award-winning bodies of work and how they learned to stop imitating others and write like themselves.

Also on Wednesday at 8:00 pm:

Sneak preview: Thunder Bay, the Crave Original Documentary Series Award-winning Anishinaabe podcaster, journalist and writer Ryan McMahon returns to the Hot Docs Podcast Festival stage. They will share a preview of the upcoming Crave Original documentary series based on his hit CANADALAND podcast, Thunder Bay. This gripping investigative series is directed by award-winning filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and executive produced by Canadaland’s Jesse Brown.

It follows McMahon on his quest to uncover the truth behind the recent deaths of multiple Indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Thunder Bay is a city known as the homicide and hate crime capital of Canada. Examining the failings and the injustices of the city’s social systems and institutions, the four-part series sheds light on our country’s complicated relationship with colonialism. It does this while examining the consequences of a broken system in which some can thrive, while many others, disproportionately struggle to survive.

On Thursday, January 27 at 6:00 pm:

Virtual: Telling Hidden Stories: Invisibilia in Conversation with Resistance’s Saidu Tejan-Thomas & Bethel Habte: NPR’s Invisibilia is one of the most popular and innovative podcasts in the medium’s history. Invisibilia was founded by audio icons Alix Spiegel (This American Life) and Lulu Miller (Radiolab). The show is now led by two of the most dynamic young voices in audio storytelling: Yowei Shaw and Kia Miakka Natisse.

At this live virtual event, Yowei and Kia join forces with Saidu Tejan-Thomas and Bethel Habte, the host and producer of Gimlet’s acclaimed Resistance. Resistance  recently named one of the 10 Best Podcasts of 2021 by The New York Times), and they will also team up for a one-of-a-kind meeting of curious minds. As they discuss the stories and ideas that fascinate and excite them, Kia, Yowei, Saidu and Bethel will explore their common passion for telling hidden, sometimes overlooked, stories. Their commitment to producing socially engaged work that speaks to a new generation of passionate audiophiles will also be discussed.

Also on Thursday at 8:00 pm:

Check out Back Issue Live with The New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh. Remember when tasteless critics panned Mariah Carey’s Glitter? (#JusticeforGlitter!) When Beyoncé gave us EVERYTHING? Tracy Clayton and Josh Gwynn do, and these are just a few of the formative pop culture moments they’ve dissected on their brilliant and delightful podcast Back Issue. In this first-ever live edition of their show, Tracy and Josh team up with New Yorker staff writer Kelefa Sanneh. Get ready for an unforgettable night of conversation, trivia and pop culture nostalgia.

We will see them dig deep into the fascinating stories at the heart of Major Labels, Kelefa’s groundbreaking new history of the past 50 years of popular music. They’ll also revisit some of the biggest songs and videos of the 90s/00s and reckon with some of culture’s biggest questions. Questions like – How did we let this happen? And why do we still love this? As Tracy and Josh often say: “Nostalgia is more than just a feeling.”

On Friday, January 28 at 8:00 pm:

Full Release Live with Samantha Bee: Every week on Full Release, her wildly popular podcast, Samantha Bee sits down for unscripted, in-depth conversations with the best and brightest people. Bee and her guests talk about how to navigate the ever-changing world and what to laugh about along the way. In this first-ever live virtual episode of the show, the brilliant comedian and satirist joins the Festival for a one-of-a-kind meeting of minds. To keep it exciting, she will be joined by a surprise special guest.


Whether you have an existing podcast, trying to start one or growing your content and audience, you may want to check out the CREATORS FORUM EVENT. The line up offers access to events (with a purchase of a Festival pass). Full line up schedule can be found here.

Some of the events that caught our attention include…

How to build a Career in Podcasting (without Selling your Soul):

How do you acquire job security and creative freedom in an industry that has historically underpaid workers and undervalued the voices of women and people of colour? Answering these questions has been integral to the mission of Media Girlfriends, a Toronto-based podcast production company. Founded by journalists of colour, they are devoted to amplifying historically misrepresented voices.

In this candid conversation, the studio’s three co-founders will discuss their strategies for navigating the podcast landscape as freelancers. They will share their efforts to build supportive and inclusive teams on their podcasts, and, finally, how they’ve worked to achieve a sense of agency. How they managed to align the work they do with their personal values, will also be covered.

• Garvia Bailey, award-winning journalist and co-founder of Media Girlfriends
• Nana aba Duncan, Media Girlfriends co-founder, Associate Professor, Carleton Chair of Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies at Carlton University’s School of Journalism
• Hannah Sung, award-winning journalist and co-founder of Media Girlfriends

Creatives Crossing into the Podcasting Space with Director X and Taj Critchlow:

In recent years, podcasting has become a truly cross-platform medium. Attracting big-name talent from across the world of arts and culture, it inspires exciting new projects in other media. This will be an intimate session with two of the world’s most influential music video creators—Toronto’s own Director X and Taj Critchlow.

Hear them discuss what it takes to translate your skills from another creative medium into this exciting and endlessly inventive art form. Sharing lessons from their hit podcast, ARTchitects: the architects of ART podcast (also co-hosted by Karena Evans), and their collaborations with superstars with Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West. X and Taj will discuss the power of podcasting to nurture your creativity and expand your audience.

• Julien Christian Lutz, aka Director X, filmmaker, music video director and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fela, new age production company creating globally celebrated content.
• Taj Critchlow, talent manager, producer, creative consultant, and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fela.
• Jordan Sowunmi (Moderator), Lead, Music Editorial and Content Strategy at TikTok, co-founder of Boosie Fade and the podcast, Catch Up.

How to Make a Good Talk Show: A Masterclass with Canadaland: 

Aspiring podcasters often underestimate the amount of work that goes into making a good conversation show. Why do the best ones sound so effortless? Even the most informal, off-the-cuff-sounding chat pods require immense planning and expertise. Few studios understand this better than Canadaland, the scrappy, Toronto-based indie behind some of the country’s most popular podcasts on politics, media, and current events. In this special Masterclass, Fatima Syed, host of The Backbench, and more veteran producers reveal the nuts and bolts of how a good chat show gets made. How to make them dynamic,structured, and topical enough to engage a large audience will be part of the discussion as well.

• Jonathan Goldsbie, co-host of Wag the Doug podcast and editor at Canadaland
• Tiffany Lam, producer, Canadaland
• Fatima Syed, host, Canadaland’s The Backbench
• Kieran Oudshoorn (Moderator), Managing Editor of Podcasts, Canadaland

Masterclass in Audience Engagement:

“If you have a big social following, your podcast audience numbers are guaranteed. If you’re a celebrity, no doubt people will tune into your show. Having a show that’s outside the mainstream means only only a few listeners will tune in (likely your friends and family).” All of these are misconceptions in how to establish, engage with, and grow your audience in podcasting. As the classic saying in podcast audience engagement goes, “It’s an art, not a science.” At this masterclass, leading insiders from Acast dig into the nitty gritty. Look for a discussion about the most interesting audience engagement trends.Strategies they’ve seen and executed with creators of all backgrounds and more will be on the menu.

• Tiffany Ashitey, Director of Partnerships, Acast US
• Trace Gaynor, Associate Partner Manager, Acast USA
• Becky Celestina, Partner Manager, Acast USA
• Sophia Lepage, Associate Partner Manager, Acast Canada

This Creators Forum session is guest curated by Acast as part of Acast Day: Seen and Heard: Elevating Diverse Voices & Stories.

Launching and Creating Podcasts with Amazon Decision-Makers: 

In recent years, Amazon Music has made a serious investment in the audio storytelling landscape.  With the acquisition of podcast studio Wondery and podcast service provider Art19, it’s become a premiere destination for creators. If you are looking to manage, grow and monetize their content, this if for you. This presentation and panel was specially crafted for Hot Docs Podfest delegates.

Amazon audio execs Marshall Lewy, Lindsay Michael, and Declan Moore will offer an overview of the services and support systems their team is putting in place to support podcast producers who are looking to grow their audiences. Get insider knowledge on the studio’s approach to developing and launching new shows. You will also get expert tips on how to pitch an exciting project to a major podcast studio.

• Marshall Lewy, Chief Content Officer at Wondery, overseeing Wondery and Amazon Originals
• Lindsay Michael, Manager of Podcasts for Amazon Canada
• Declan Moore, Head of International at Wondery

Finding Your Voice: Audio Writing Masterclass with This American Life’s Alix Spiegel:

Writing for audio is often discussed as a mysterious, almost mystical process. At this masterclass, Alix Spiegel, a senior producer for This American Life and former host of Invisibilia, sits down with 99% Invisible’s Chris Berube. They try to cut through the noise and break down the most effective approaches to tape use, story structure and reporting techniques. These are all things that she has encountered at the canonical shows where she has worked. As she talks though examples from her award-winning body of work, she’ll demonstrate practical strategies that podcasters of all backgrounds and experience levels can employ. This will help creators to write captivating, elegantly structured audio stories. Featuring:
• Alix Spiegel, senior producer for This American Life, former host of Invisibilia
• Chris Berube (moderator), producer, 99% Invisible

The Hot Docs Podcast Festival is one of North America’s premier podcast festivals, presented by Hot Docs. Hot Docs is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing and celebrating the art of documentary. It features live performances of chart-topping Canadian and international non-fiction podcasts and the Creators Forum. An industry conference for audio insiders and emerging podcasters, the Festival celebrates the ingenuity of audio storytelling. The full line up and how to purchase passes can be found here at www.hotdocs.ca


Hot Docs


Enter for a chance to win a Hot Docs Podcast Virtual Access Festival Pass (Valued at $94)

Be sure to follow Hot Docs @hotdocs_ on Instagram for up to date information about the Festival!

Contest ends on Sunday, January 23, 2022 at 10:00 pm EST


There are four amazing ways to enter – enter where you like and as often as you like!

LIKE this post and leave a comment below on your favourite podcast.

On Facebook, visit our AuburnLane Facebook page and LIKE the official corresponding Hot Docs Podcast Festival post. Then, TAG a friend!You can tag as many people as you like (each separate entry counts!)

On Twitter, visit our  AuburnLane Twitter handle. Then LIKE and Retweet the corresponding Hot Docs Podcast Festival post.

On Instagram, visit our AuburnLane Instagram page. LIKE the official corresponding Hot Docs Podcast Festival post. Then, TAG a friend!  You can tag as many people as you like (each separate entry counts!) BONUS entry if you share the post on in your Instastory!


No purchase necessary to enter. There is one (1) grand prize of an HOT DOCS PODCAST FESTIVAL PASS available to be won. Contest is open to Canadian residents who have reached the age of majority (19+) excluding Quebec. Enter as often you like. Winners will be selected at random from all eligible entries. Winners will receive an e-mail or direct message from our administrator that will include information to claim the prize as well as a mathematical skill-testing question. The Skill-testing question must be answered correctly in order to be deemed winner.

The prize must be accepted as awarded. AuburnLane.com, Hot Docs  and promotional/marketing teams reserve the right to discontinue this contest at any time. They may switch out any item for equal or greater value. AuburnLane.com, Hot Docs and promotional/marketing teams will never ask for any payment information in order to enter or claim any prizing. This contest is not affiliated with Instagram, Facebook or Twitter in anyway.