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The Australian Podcast Award announce new categories, entry dates

"The best podcasts are ones that engage their audience every episode, not just with a standout clip - so we want your compilations to show that."

The Australian Podcast Awards today announce the categories and entry dates for the Australian Podcast Awards 2020. Whether you’re recording in your bedroom or from your private yacht, we want to hear your best work from the past eighteen months.

There are new categories to choose from, and a new way to showcase your work – we’ve taken these decisions based on your feedback and from looking at similar shows around the world, so have a read before entries open on 1st September – when we’ll be revealing more details.

The key rules changes are:

  • Audio entries will be compilations of 3-6 clips (there are exceptions for Best Interview, Best Fiction & Moment of The Year)
  • Audio should be taken from episodes released between Jan 2019 – July 31st 2020 inclusive
  • To qualify, you should have published six proper episodes on your feed, (and they should still available at the end of 2020)
Credit: Australian Podcast Awards

We have a new role, the Chair Of Judges, responsible for selecting a judging panel that fully reflects the diversity of Australian podcasting. Sophie Harper is the host of the podcast Not By Accident, and will be overseeing an expanded judging panel eager to hear your best work. Details on the panel will be released as entries open.

Judges will be looking for outstanding listens, with ideas, talent, formats and perspectives rarely heard in other media. The best podcasts are ones that engage their audience every episode, not just with a standout clip – so we want your compilations to show that.

We can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to!

You can find category information below, and there’s also more information on the website.

To keep in touch about the Australian Podcast Awards, sign up for the newsletter at or follow @auspodawards on Twitter.


Best True Crime Podcast

Whether it’s original investigations or pure storytelling, judges will be looking for well-researched programs, with evocative storytelling and human stories at its heart. Outstanding entries in this category will have crafted a format around the material available, whether that’s archive, original interviews or other techniques, playing with this most established of podcast genres to create something unique.

Best Family Podcast

Recognising the shows that entertain children with either high quality storytelling, amazing facts or very silly jokes. OR: parenting podcasts that tell it like it really is, help us overcome those stressful times and give us fresh insights into modern family living. Outstanding entries in this category will… educate their audience in an accessible and entertaining manner. Children’s podcasts should demonstrate how they engage listeners through format, casting and tone.

Moment Of The Year

The most impactful, visible, compelling single piece of audio produced this year and exclusive to a Australian podcast. Outstanding entries in this field… will have kickstarted a national debate, got the social networks in a frenzy, or been widely shared to non-podcast audiences. Your written entry should include evidence of this.

Best Branded Podcast

Showcasing the best examples of advertiser-funded podcasts, where both the editorial and sponsor’s aims are seamless and beneficial… and, above all, make a great listen. Outstanding entries in this category will demonstrate either added value to the brand’s established consumer base, or reach beyond to new audiences.

Best Comedy Podcast

Not to be confused with our entertainment category, this is for podcasts that aren’t just funny… but have finely crafted jokes inside*. From panel shows to parody, improv to sitcoms – and entirely new formats that only podcasts can create – judges have been instructed to reward the podcast that tickled the jury the most, not necessarily the one that appealed to everyone.

Make one judge laugh harder than any of the other entries, and you’ll walk away with the prize. Outstanding entries in this category will be markedly different from traditional radio formats, pushing boundaries that can’t be breached on FM.

  • we recognise there are different types of comedy: it could be belly laughs, sweet-natured, angry or timely satire, just plain surreal… all are welcome.

Best Arts & Culture Podcast

Celebrating the arts across all cultures: the podcasts that encourage us to seek out new releases or forgotten classics – through reviews, interviews, discussion… any or none of the above. Outstanding entries in this category will go beyond episode recaps or the typical ‘thumbs up/down’ critiques and give listeners fresh angles on the arts they love, with genuine and passionate presentation.

Best Fiction

Incorporating drama, readings, and ground-breaking new formats for storytelling. Outstanding entries in this category will incorporate production that suits the story/stories and sound design that acknowledges an audience primarily of headphone users. New writing, new talent, new ways of looking at the world – these will be noted favourably.

For Best Fiction you can submit up to 30mins of audio. This can be in the form of a single piece, or a selection of up to 5 clips. Please also note that you have to have released at least three episodes in the past eighteen months to qualify.

Best Documentary Podcast

Documentaries take listeners into new worlds and experiences through real people, places, and events. But it’s not just about providing facts, we’re interested in how producers weave them into an overall narrative that’s compelling as well as truthful.

Smartest Podcast

From climate change and AI to the intricacies of language – entries here should improve our understanding of ourselves and the world in an entertaining and accessible way. Whether your style is entertaining trivia or deep dives into very very specific topics, to become ‘Smartest Podcast’ is to make audiences smarter the longer they stay listening.

Best Radio Podcast

For shows that might have been lost in the schedule, but found a great home in podcasting. This category recognises the radio programs that appeal to podcast audience’s sensibilities, and the key aim of the Australian Podcast Awards: to recognise programming that honours fresh perspectives, new formats or alternative viewpoints unheard in mainstream media.

Only podcasts where the content, in the majority, first aired on broadcast radio are eligible for this category.

Best Business Podcast

Inspiring the next generation of CEOs, COOs and other acronyms. You could be showcasing stories of great leadership, or helping listeners make every penny count. As with all our categories, we’re looking for shows that reflect the diversity of ideas, backgrounds and industry in our country. The best entries will need to be fresh-sounding, personable and inclusive.

Best Network or Publisher

This category is for companies that have a public-facing brand around a slate of shows. Your entry should include work from up to five podcasts in single clips, demonstrating the range and quality of content you’re producing. In addition, your written submission should detail your success this year, in whichever ways you define that success.

Best Wellbeing Podcast

New for 2020, we’d like to showcase the best self-help and improvement podcasts focusing on positive mental health. Your audio entry should illustrate how you tackle sensitive and sometimes traumatic issues with compassion, and/or provide a toolkit for listeners to apply to their own lives.

For the judge’s sake, please add any trigger warnings to your track-listing.

Best Lockdown Podcast

It’s been a hard year. This category celebrates the shows that have addressed this with their analysis and insight, or their ability to entertain and distract. Whether you’re a new show making sense of COVID-19 or an existing show retooled for the most challenging event of our age, showcase what you’ve done to get us through it.

Best New Podcast

We also want to champion the best launch of a show across any genre – if you have managed to start well and keep getting better, tell us how. To qualify, you will have started the podcast – and launched six episodes – since January 2019. Outstanding entries in this category will demonstrate the creative potential of the show, through new talent, writing or formats, rather than its current listener reach. Judges will want to label the winner ‘the ones to watch’ and forever claim they were listening from the beginning.’

Best Sports Podcast

Maybe you have incisive analysis, exceptional pundits and great access – or perhaps the discussion is merely a sideshow to the blossoming, unspoken romance between your contributors. Regardless, if you have a loyal audience and an entertaining show, you should enter.

Outstanding entries in this category will be able to demonstrate a fanbase loyal to the podcast beyond the dreams of most sports clubs. Audience size is not a factor: making niche sports accessible to wider audiences would be as valued here as much as any show pegged to a major sporting tournament.

Best Interview

Incorporating interview formats across many topics: from books, to comedy, to health, to human interest. Whether your guests are super famous or just really, really interesting… perhaps they’re edited with a light touch, or cut down to size… either way, we want our judges to discover the finest, most compelling, incisive conversation produced this year.

Unlike most other categories, entries can be one extract from a podcast published since January 2019, up to 15mins in length.

Best Current Affairs Podcast

Whether you are a business, news and current affairs show, publishing regular discussion formats or original journalism, we want to hear podcasts that have sought insight into our complex society. Outstanding entries in this category will find new angles on recent events, beyond the headlines and 24-hour news cycles, retaining relevance with an audience beyond the week they were published.

Best Entertainment Podcast

Incorporating music shows, magazines, true storytelling and chat-based formats. If you put a spring in your listeners’ step, if you provide toe-tappin’, chin-strokin’, chuckle-inducin’ escapism… you should apply within. Outstanding entries in this category will revel in their eclecticism, curating content or features that your subscribers unquestionably consume with open hearts and minds.

Best Sex & Relationships Podcast

Recognising the great work being done in sex education and relationship advice; representing a wider variety of sexual experiences than has previously been the case in mainstream media.

Outstanding entries in this category will have a high standard of research (whether in terms of guests or subject matter) and presentation that confronts taboos in an entertaining and accessible way.


The Creativity Award

Chosen at the discretion of the judges, this award recognises a single piece of audio so creatively dazzling that it deserves its own trophy. That could be the result of great storytelling, sound design, performance, editing… or any combination of the above. Just enter any judged category above to be considered.

Best Indigenous Podcast

We want to celebrate the great podcasts being made by First Nations producers and presenters. The podcast can be across any genre, and the nominees will form an essential playlist for all Australians.

To be considered for this award, enter any category above and use the opt-in tick box. This category is free to enter.

Listeners’ Choice

Our public poll involves getting your listeners to vote for you, for free, on our website. Last year over 180,000 individuals supported their favourite podcast, with those with the most passionate fans doing the best. Could that be your show?

We’ll be opening up for votes when we announce our nominees.

Podcast Champion

We bestow this title on the person or company that has championed the podcasting cause this year. This award could honour a presenter, producer, app, critic, a newsletter… anything or anyone that aids listeners’ search for the right podcast. It is nominated by the nominees of this year’s awards and announced on the night.

The Spotlight Award

This is one for the big hitters out there: podcasts with sizeable audiences bringing the medium into the mainstream.

But which of you is the best, according to our judges? Enter any category above and use the opt-in tick box. This category is free to enter.

The Bullseye Award

This category honours the podcasts that are producing exceptional listening experiences for niche audiences and those underrepresented in other Australian media.

To be considered for this award, enter any category above and use the opt-in tick box. This category is free to enter.

Podcast of the Year

The highest honour of the night, with the winner chosen from the Gold winners of the categories above – so anyone who wins their category has a chance of winning this most prestigious of prizes.

Outstanding entries in this category will have outstanding presentation, original research or writing, appropriately superb sound design and boundary-pushing material that showcases the very best of what Australian podcasting can achieve.

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