NOVA's original podcast for children to support Stop it at the Start

By AdNews | 14 June 2021

NOVA Entertainment has created a podcast in partnership with the federal government’s Stop it at the Start campaign, which aims to positively influence young people around acceptable behaviour and respectful relationships. 

Project ARI, launching today, is a fictional storytelling series designed as a tool to help parents and caregivers have meaningful conversations with kids about respectful behaviour, focused on topics that can seem challenging to 

Kane Reiken, NOVA Entertainment’s digital commercial director: “We are proud to partner with the Australian Government to bring this incredible story to life, supporting a number of important societal issues.

“Project ARI showcases the potency and versatility of podcasting to entertain and educate audiences simultaneously. It’s a great example of how an artfully-crafted story can deliver a serious and compelling message of change in an engaging and age-appropriate way that resonates with a young audience.” 

Women’s Safety Minister for Anne Ruston says the podcast adds another tool in the Stop it at the Start campaign’s toolbox to help reach Australian families. 

“The Stop it at the Start campaign aims to provide Australians with the resources and the confidence they need to positively influence young people around respectful relationships," says Ruston. 

"I am delighted NOVA Entertainment has made a commitment to such an innovative campaign because if we are going to end violence against women and their children, we must all work together – governments, businesses and individuals.”

Project ARI is a branded podcast that follows the story of a fully functioning Artificial Intelligence prototype, affectionately known as ARI. 

Appearing as a 10-year-old boy, ARI has access to all the information you can Google but couldn’t be programmed with
human experience. 

Placed with a normal everyday family, they take ARI under their wing to educate him the ways of our world, namely, how to be human. 

Along the way Ari uncovers everyday circumstances where disrespectful behaviours are normalised. 

The branded series is written for kids, created with the help of their peers, and is designed to be equally as engaging for parents and caregivers due to the humour and loveable characters within the story. 

Rachel Corbett, NOVA Entertainment’s head of podcasts and digital content: “There's nothing better than working with a client who trusts your expertise and understands that for branded content to work it has to be created with the listener in

"That creative freedom means you can build a podcast that stays true to the brand messaging without it feeling obvious to a listener. This kind of light touch is essential if you want your show to grow an audience and be a success.”

Project ARI boasts an impressive cast including a range of talented young actors, auditioned from major talent agencies around Australia, as well as Nova’s Kate Ritchie and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli, smoothfm’s Cameron Daddo and Byron Webb and Australian professional soccer player Kyah Simon. 

The stories in each episode show why treating others with respect is so important. 

While the message is serious, the intention is not to lecture, with the characters having lots of fun and laughs on their learning journey. 

The podcast was written by Australian author and screenwriter Nat Amoore. Her first book, Secrets of A Schoolyard Millionaire, became Australia’s #1 best-selling debut Australian children’s fiction in 2019. 

Her second book, The Power of Positive Pranking, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Reading’s Children’s Book Prize and the 2021 REAL Children’s Choice Book Awards. 

Her latest book, The Right Way to Rock, was published in June this year. Nat Amoore was also a recipient of the CBCA Maurice Saxby Creative Development Program for 2018. 

NOVA Entertainment has partnered with the Australian Government to provide support for the national Stop it at the Start initiative, which empowers adults to “unmute” themselves and take action to positively influence the attitudes and behaviours of young people. 

The partnership launched with NOVA Entertainment in March, with key announcers from Nova and smoothfm voicing a series of national commercials and ‘Ask the Expert’ live reads, designed to encourage listeners to have conversations about respect with their children.

The final phase of the campaign culminates with the launch of Project ARI on June 14. New episodes  will launch every Monday. 

Project ARI cast and production details:
Lead cast: River Mardesic (ARI), one of the actors cast in the title role of Billy Elliot the Musical; Xion Jarvis (Sammy), one of actors playing the title role in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory; Eva Grados (Sammy’s best friend Malika); Victoria Wulff (Sammy’s sister Tanna) and smoothfm’s Cameron Daddo (Professor Hixon, ARI’s creator) Supporting cast: Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli – Nova’s Fitzy & Wippa (Sammy’s father Fernando), Kate Ritchie - Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel (Sammy’s mother Alison), smoothfm’s Byron Webb (school teacher Mr Gibson), Knox Gibson (naughty school kid Jeremy), Australian professional soccer player Kyah Simon (pro sports player), Mel McLaughlin (commentator) and Sirine Demachkie (school parent Ms Riakos) - bilingual presenter who has written children’s books and hosted children’s podcasts.

Podcast credits: Executive Producer: Elle Beattie & Sound Design: Lem Zakharia
Media agency: Universal McCann

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