Siobhan McHugh sits at a desk, in front of a laptop with a book on the table, in this black and white image.

Groundbreaking podcast wins gold at New York Radio Festival

Groundbreaking podcast wins gold at New York Radio Festival

Audio series co-produced by UOW academic places spotlight on Australia’s history of homophobia

A podcast co-produced by the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Honorary Associate Professor Siobhan McHugh has won gold at the New York Radio Festivals with The Greatest Menace, a podcast that investigates a ‘gay prison’ experiment.

The eight-part original series took out gold in the Best Social Justice Podcast category and bronze for Best Narrative Documentary Podcast and Best Serialized Podcast, during the awards announced last month (26 April, 2022).

Produced over three years by journalists Patrick Abboud and Simon Cunich, The Greatest Menace examines a tiny Australian town with a dark secret – that it was once home to the world’s only “gay prison”. The podcast also explores Patrick’s personal story of coming out as a gay man in a homophobic Arab-Australian culture.

An internationally recognised expert in podcasting, Professor McHugh was the Consulting Producer on The Greatest Menace.

Professor McHugh said the team were delighted to have such an important and groundbreaking piece of work celebrated on an international level.

“I am incredibly proud of The Greatest Menace, and of the team who brought this horrifying story to life. It is a story of profound darkness but Patrick infuses it with such humour and heart. It is a story that must be told.

“Collaboration is fundamental to this type of project, and it was a real team effort to bring the story of The Greatest Menace into the light. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work alongside investigative journalists and producers of this calibre.”

This is Professor McHugh’s seventh gold award at the New York Radio Festival; in previous years, she has been recognised for Gertie’s Law, The Last Voyage of the Pong Su, Phoebe’s Fall, Wrong Skin, and Heart of Artness, among other projects.

Professor McHugh is a veteran audio journalist and storyteller, former lecturer in UOW’s School of the Arts, English and Media, and academic, who has published extensively on audio storytelling and podcasting. Her book, The Power of Podcasting: Telling Stories Through Sound, was published earlier this year. 

The New York Radio Festival has been recognising and celebrating the best in audio storytelling from around the world since 1982. The annual awards honour radio and audio content in all lengths and forms, created by stations, networks and producers around the world.