Showcase, from Radiotopia, features original series of all stripes, from emerging and leading producers around the world. Currently Secrets, a weekly six-part series from Swedish producers Mohamed El Abed, Martin Johnson, and Åsa Secher, explores the secrets we keep in our lives, and the overwhelming complexities of being human.

If you're looking for the previous series, Ways of Hearing or The Polybius Conspiracy, you can find them in the Showcase archive.



Listen to Secrets

What drives us to lie, and why is it so hard to stop?

Secrets explores the secrets we keep in our lives, and the overwhelming complexities of being a human being. For radio producer Mohamed El Abed, it all began when he was 12 years old, and he found out he had an older sister en route to his mother’s memorial service. Across six episodes you’ll hear Mohamed’s story, and meet both people who live every day with a significant lie, and people affected by the lies of others.

Secrets is produced and hosted by Mohamed El Abed and Martin Johnson, with additional production from Åsa Secher, from the Swedish podcast company, Soundtelling. Artwork is by Sepidar Hosseini.


Episode Two – How to Create a Secret


What happens when a secret becomes larger than life?

When Mohamed’s mother was a young teenager in Morocco, she entered an arranged marriage with his father, Ben Assai. When Mohamed’s father eventually travelled to Sweden to start a new life for his family, he met another woman and with her conceived a secret daughter, Maria.

In episode two, we also travel deep into the forest to meet the Norwegian nature photographer Terje Hellesö, who took photos of a world in the forest that didn’t exist.


Episode One – Discover a Secret


How is it to live with a secret that no one can know about? What happens when that secret is exposed? In episode one we’ll meet host Mohamed El Abed, who embarks on exploring a 25-year old family secret, and Neil Woods who, as an undercover policeman in the UK, pretended to be a heroin addict for 14 years while he had a wife and two children back home.

What is Showcase?

It’s a podcast that features original, limited-run series of all stripes, from emerging and leading producers around the world. Showcase is a way to support independent producers with powerful ideas that are better suited to short-run series, rather than ongoing shows. With Showcase, Radiotopia can support more diverse voices and perspectives, help this work find an appreciative audience, and continue to back the best talent — both new and established — out there. From music philosophy to conspiracy theory, personal stories to fiction, no two Showcase series will sound alike. 

Listen to an introduction to Showcase below, and find out even more about Showcase.

Thanks to Hrishi Hirway for helping inspire and create this project.


Meet the team behind the series


Mohamed El Abed, Martin Johnson & Åsa Secher


Mohamed El Abed is a radio producer and award-winning concept developer at the Soundtelling production company. In Sweden he has produced several podcasts dealing with subjects such as diversity and integration. He has a background in urban planning, working for the city of Stockholm and the Swedish Government.

Martin Johnson is an international award-winning radio producer and concept developer at the Soundtelling production company. Johnson’s programs have aired around the world from Australia to Canada and the US. His investigative podcast, Spår, triggered a retrial for a Swedish murder and helped get a man released from prison after 13 years, creating headlines across the world, including from the BBC, Newsweek and The Times.

Åsa Secher is a radio producer with years of experience working with Swedish Radio, among other things, as the Executive Producer for current affairs show Studio Ett. As a reporter she’s filed for shows like Plånboken, Medierna and Kulturnytt. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she also worked as a teaching assistant to radio professor Kerry Donahue.


Soundtelling Is a Stockholm based podcast company that creates innovative, intimate and sound-rich podcasts sponsored by companies, or created specifically for companies such as ASICS, Save the Children and Royal Technological School of Sweden.



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