Athena Media launches new season of its award winning podcast The Family of Things

Two singers, Ruth Smith and Robert John Hope, have kicked off Season 2 of the Athena Media podcast The Family of Things. The podcast, hosted by Helen Shaw, began in Winter 2014 and there are 15 episodes with guests including Tony Bates, Rory O’Neill – aka Panti Bliss, Linda Buckley, Frank Berry and Iarla Ó Lionáird in Season 1.

The episode with Tony Bates won a podcast award at the New York Radio Festival 2019 and the podcast has been the beginnings of other project like Pantisocracy with Panti Bliss and Mother’s Blood, Sister Songs with Linda Buckley.  Season 2 launched on April 2nd and a new episode is being released every fortnight.

The launch episode with broadcaster and singer Ruth Smith has had a phenomenal response with psychologist Tony Bates reviewing it saying it was ‘searingly honest and healing’.

Episode 2 with the Berlin based musician Robert John Hope charts the journey from fronting the globe touring band Senakah to a new solo artist life in Germany.

Both Ruth and Rob share their turning points in making their life their own and both episodes are rich in music and song. Rob’s first solo album ‘Plasticine Heart‘ is out April 23 and we get to preview some of the new tracks, like None Other, in the podcast.

Next up in the podcast is another singer Dr Kathleen Turner, a Co.Tyrone native who has made Limerick her home and who leads the Masters in Community Music at the Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick.

Kathleen is herself a powerful and versatile singer whose own work and recent album ‘Like A Lion‘ provides an amazing soundtrack for the episode, out April 30th. 

The Family of Things’ is available in all podcast places like Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAnchorRadio PublicSpotifyStitcher and of course an RSS Feed – and in YouTube with closed captions.

It’s an independent podcast so if you like what we do and want to help the creation of Season 2 please do consider supporting our Patreon for as little as a euro a month.

Share the podcasts on your own social media accounts using the hashtag #TheFamilyofThings and if you listen in Apple podcasts do take a second to give us a review there. Thanks for listening!

Vocal Chords Repeats – RTÉ Lyric FM February 2021

Vocal Chords is a multi award winning music documentary series made by Athena Media for RTÉ Lyric fm presented by one of Ireland’s most acclaimed sean-nós singers Iarla Ó Lionáird made with the funding support of the BAI and the TV licence fee.

In a sonic journey across the world Iarla and the production team, including Robert Hope and Michael Gallen, recorded the stories and journeys of vocal experiences from South Africa to Siberia. The series posed that eternal question of

‘Why do we sing, and what happens when we sing?’

The series has Gold three times at the New York Radio Festival – first in 2016 for the initial 5 part series, then in 2017 for the Paul Brady episode and in 2018 for the Peggy Seeger episode.

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Athena Media produces Winter Solstice: Shine Your Light radio show for RTÉ

Athena Media won a competitive tender to produce a landmark celebratory radio show on RTÉ Radio 1 December 20th 20:30-21:30 as part of the national call to Shine Your Light which is a collaboration between RTÉ and Creative Ireland. The radio show will be produced by Helen Shaw and presented by Ruth Smith with digital content by John Howard. 

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Wilde Stories — Sound-Illustrated Readings of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Happy Prince and Other Tales’


For the times we live in, Athena Media is releasing an audiobook collection of Wilde Stories; beautiful stories by Oscar Wilde read by young Irish actors, with original composition by Michael Gallen, performed for Wilde Stories, by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and RTÉ Cór na nÓg.

The original readings formed part of an RTÉ lyric fm radio series but they’re now presented here for children and adults alike to enjoy. You can find out more about the series on


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New Episode of The Family of Things: Episode 15 – Frank Berry

Helen Shaw’s guest in this episode of The Family of Things is film-maker Frank Berry whose work tells stories of social realism in often tough suburbs from the documentary film ‘Ballymun Lullaby’ at the time of the tearing down of the Ballymun Towers to dramas like ‘I Used to Live Here’, touching on youth mental health and suicide.

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