Australian Podcast Awards announce 2023 winners

Celebrating Australia's best and most popular audio content, this year's podcast awards gave 30 gongs to everything from true crime and documentary to arts, culture, sports and chat.
podcast. a line of people stand and smile at the camera

On Tuesday night (21 November) at the Sofitel Hotel Sydney Darling Harbour, the 2023 Australian Podcast Awards (APAs) were announced, with winners across 30 categories, including Arts and Culture, Entertainment, Comedy and Documentary.

The highest honour of the night, Podcast of the Year, was awarded to the powerful, independently produced True Crime podcast The Lawyer, the Sniper & the NSW Police. This also won the category of Best Interview Podcast and was a finalist in Best News and Current Affairs.

Produced, written and edited by veteran ex-Radio National documentary producer Gretchen Miller, and playing out over eight tight episodes, The Lawyer, the Sniper & the NSW Police is based on testimonies from two survivors of the NSW Police workforce.

The blurb: ‘Former police lawyer, Lina Nguyen is both rape victim and survivor, chillingly groomed by a cop she trusted at a police farewell party. Mark Davidson was the sniper at the heart of the Lindt café siege at Martin Place, in 2014, who remains traumatised by what wasn’t revealed in the Coronial Inquest into that event. They’re passionate about justice, and together challenge everything that lies at the heart of police culture and the legal system as we know it.’

Speaking to ArtsHub, Miller says she was thrilled and surprised by the two wins for ‘our little podcast’, which was made and distributed without any network backing or advertising.

‘I’m so proud of Lina Nguyen (the Lawyer) and Mark Davidson (the Sniper), first-time hosts, telling truth to power,’ says Miller. ‘Not only were their gripping and gruelling stories of their time at NSW Police Force explored together with deep compassion and strength, but they then brought their suggestions for meaningful change in conversations with the likes of legendary journalist Quentin Dempster and social justice lawyer Michael Bradley. Brilliant former ABC sound engineer Judy Rapley made us sound the best we could.

‘We won against major news organisations like Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and SBS as well as against Audible and Listnr Australia.’

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The Australian Podcast Awards – a brief history

First run in 2016, the APAs is now in its seventh year. The organisers claim that ‘Australia retains its title against the US as the world’s biggest podcast-listening nation’.

We do indeed love our podcasts, and according to Mediaweek, podcasts remain Australia’s fastest-growing mass media, with the podcast advertising sales up 88% this year.

The APAs is currently organised by international media group Haymarket, which runs similar awards in the UK and Ireland. As was the case last year, this year’s awards were ‘powered by’ (i.e. sponsored by) iHeart. iHeart is the US “freemium” streaming and podcast platform with an Australian branch, Australian Radio Network (ARN) iHeart Podcast Network Australia, which lays the claim to being “Australia’s #1 podcast publisher since launch”.

As with many industry awards, entrants pay to enter and winners receive a trophy. They also pay to attend the awards, and extra trophies can be ordered. There are no cash prizes.

Nominees and winners of the APAs are selected by a judging panel of industry experts. This year’s 39 judges included journalists, sound engineers, academics and broadcasters. The exception to this is the Listeners’ Choice category, which last year received over 65,000 votes in a public poll and was awarded to Life Uncut, ‘an unfiltered chat on all things love and dating with Brittany Hockley and Laura Byrne, and this year went to mother and daughter duo Kat and Latisha Clark’s Basically Besties.

In many cases, podcasts work essentially as time-shifted radio, and so it makes sense that public broadcasters like the ABC and SBS are well-represented amid the winners and finalists. But the form continues to emerge and evolve as its own distinct thing too.

So without further ado, here’s the list of APA winners with a tiny bit of extra love to arts and culture finalists.

Best Arts and Culture Podcast

  • Winner: Background Briefing – “‘Culture” is a very broad category, and some may query whether the ABC’s excellent investigative journalism podcast strictly belongs in “arts and culture” – though the recent exemplary Whistleblower series is undeniably important national workplace culture.
  • Critical Fashion Studies Podcast – presented by the Critical Fashion Studies Research Group with support from Creative Victoria, this interview series talks to Australian fashion experts about how sustainability and diversity are shaping our local fashion industry. There’s an episode on the National Gallery of Victoria’s fashion and textiles collection, a discussion of Melbourne’s Vietnamese outworkers and another spotlighting what young designers are trying to do to reinvigorate the wool industry.
  • Everybody’s Trying To Find Their Way Home – songwriter and performer Jen Cloher‘s podcast is a gentle provocation born of Cloher’s own investigations into their heritage. Cloher interviews Māori and First Nations songwriters about their language and cultural practices, speaking with icons like Dr Lou Bennett about Sovereign Language Rematriation, and Emma Donovan about the lasting legacy of Aunty Ruby Hunter. This podcast was also a finalist for Best New Podcast.
  • Object: Stories of Design and Craft – a podcast about contemporary design and craft in Australia, this explores the nationally and internationally acclaimed craftspeople working in ceramics, jewellery, textiles and metal, asking why their work matters, how they keep going and their advice for other makers.
  • The Art Show – a weekly show from Radio National and ABC Listen, The Art Show is hosted by Daniel Browning and ties in to current exhibitions and debates. Recent shows, for instance, look at ‘How psychoanalysis influenced the art of Louise Bourgeois’, and ‘Kandinsky: the visionary artist “brought back down to earth”‘.

Best Factual Podcast

Best Climate Podcast

Best History Podcast

Best Comedy Podcast

Best Education Podcast

Best News and Current Affairs Podcast

Best Fiction Podcast

Best Business Podcast

Best Kids Podcast

Best True Crime Podcast

Best Parenting Podcast

Best Sex and Relationships Podcast

Best Documentary Podcast

Best Sport Podcast

Best Entertainment Podcast

Best Well-being Podcast

Best Interview Podcast

Best Indigenous Podcast

Best Daily Podcast

Best New Podcast

Best Network or Publisher

Best Branded Podcast

Best Commercial Campaign

Rising Star

  • WINNER: Grace Valerie-Lynette
  • Alex Jae
  • Kim Kerton
  • Phillip Crawford
  • Tony Armstrong

Specialist

Spotlight

Podcast Champion

Listeners’ Choice

Podcast of the Year 

For more information visit Australian Podcast Awards.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She was previously a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk