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Podquest is now closed - thanks to everyone who entered!

Semi-finalists (aka the "PQ10") will be announced June 1.

Podquest is an open call-out for story-driven podcast ideas.

We’re seeking diverse talent, new voices and sustainable ideas that clearly align with Radiotopia’s mission: to support motivated, independent producers and original shows that champion creativity, narrative richness, and high production values.

Ten semi-finalists will win $300 each, office hours with Radiotopia producers, free Hindenburg editing software and a year-long membership with the media talent network AIR. Three finalists will be chosen and supported ($10,000 each) in the production of three pilot episodes over the course of four months. At the end of this period, Radiotopia will invite one finalist to join the network in 2017.

Podquest pitches will be accepted March 17 to April 17, 2016. Finalists will be selected by a committee of Radiotopia producers and PRX staff, with input from 99 donors who volunteered to help shape the future of Radiotopia.

Timeline (all dates in 2016)

  1. Podquest open for submissions: March 17 – April 17 (11:59pm EDT)
  2. (10) Semi-finalists announced: June 1 at blog.prx.org.
  3. (3) Finalists announced: July 6 – 8 at Podcast Movement (Chicago)
  4. Production season: July – October
  5. Winner announced: November at the Third Coast Conference (Chicago)

Evaluation Criteria

Submissions

And then what happens?

  1. If selected as one of ten semi-finalists, you will be asked to outline eight potential episodes for your proposed show idea, and must be available for a Skype interview between June 1 – June 17.
  2. If selected as one of three finalists, you will produce three pilot episodes for your show, during a four-month production season (July – October).
  3. Finalists will be paid $5000 up front and $5000 upon completion of all three pilot episodes.
  4. Finalists will be expected to attend Podcast Movement in Chicago in July 7 – 9, to participate in a panel discussion about starting a podcast. Expenses will be covered for one person; other team members will be encouraged to attend.
  5. The finalist whose show is selected to join Radiotopia must commit to attending the Third Coast Conference in Chicago (November 11 – 13), where Radiotopia will announce the happy news. Expenses will be covered for one person; other team members will be encouraged to attend.

What you get

Semi-finalists (10)

Finalists (3) All of the above, plus:

Winner/s (Radiotopia reserves the right to choose more than one winner)

Finer print

Questions? Please read through our FAQ then if you’re still wondering, email podquest@prx.org.


From PRX’s Radiotopia, Podquest is one of a series of new initiatives funded by a $1 million grant received in May 2015 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Podquest is additionally supported by Hindenburg Systems and the media talent network AIRmedia.org.


Podquest FAQ

What are you looking for?
We’re looking for Radiotopia’s next podcast. We’re looking for creative, motivated, diverse producers, who will help take Radiotopia in new directions and attract new listeners. We’re looking for fresh ideas about compelling subjects that we can help grow into sustainable podcasts with increasing audiences and revenue over time.
What are you not looking for?
While we’re fans of many podcast formats out there, we’re not looking for: unstructured conversations, live storytelling, or ideas that overlap with shows already in Radiotopia.
What do you mean by diversity?
Through Podquest we’re consciously seeking producers who range in background, experience, voice and style, and are especially interested in hearing from podcasts and producers not yet represented in Radiotopia. We encourage anyone who self-identifies as marginalized in the podcasting landscape – whether this is related to your race, ethnicity, religion, economic background, sexual orientation, physical abilities or other – to submit a show idea.
I don’t have very much production experience. Should I bother entering?
If you’re totally new to podcasting but have a stellar idea and the drive and motivation to bring it to life, we will consider your pitch. We recommend starting to get familiar with basic equipment and software the minute you finish reading this.
I already produce a podcast. Can I submit that?
Maybe. If your podcast is in its early stages or has been around for some time but you have clear ideas about continuing to evolve it, and your ideas are in line with Radiotopia's creative mission, go for it.
Remind me of Radiotopia’s creative mission?
To support motivated, independent producers and original, story-driven shows that champion creativity, narrative richness, and high production value. Also: keep reading.
What do you mean by story-driven?
Radiotopia shows explore storytelling across a range of styles, through compelling subjects, unforgettable characters and complex narratives. Radiotopians use the tools of the trade to tell these stories: interviews, scenes, research, recordings, writing, scoring, careful editing and sound design. Radiotopia shows inform, entertain, explore and provoke - all through the telling of exceptional stories.
Does fiction count in your definition of story-driven?
Yes, submissions for fiction podcasts are welcome.
What do you mean when you say you’ll provide mentorship and podcast-relevant skill building?
Depending on needs per finalist, PRX and Radiotopia producers will provide support in the form of editorial input, technical assistance, and workshops on marketing, promoting, budgeting, visual branding, and best social media practices in starting up a podcast. If needed, general oversight will be available throughout the pilot production season.
Will you accept international submissions?
Yes!
Will you accept Non-English submissions?
No! (Sorry, we don’t have the resources to support finalists working in languages other than English.)
How many ideas can I submit?
Entrants may submit one idea each. Send us your absolute best.
What are you listening for in my audio clip?
We’re looking for an original idea expressed clearly either through example or description. This can be an example of your work, or an audio introduction to you as a host. We’re open to exploring new forms; here’s your chance to get (and hold) our attention.
Can I submit an idea in collaboration with someone else?
Collaborations are welcome. Keep in mind that should your team be selected as a finalist, expenses will only be covered for one person to travel and participate in relevant activities.
What's up with the 99 donors who are helping evaluate proposals?
In last year's fundraising campaign, donors had the option of supporting us at a level to "help shape the future of Radiotopia," which is manifesting in their involvement in Podquest. Ninety-nine people raised their hands to do this, and will be contributing feedback about proposals, which will be considered in all final decisions made.
Will my proposal be shared publicly?
Maybe. We’ll be celebrating our ten semi-finalists online, including a sentence or two about their show ideas. If you’re further chosen as a finalist, we’ll bring you into public conversations about designing podcast strategies around initial show ideas.
When and how will you announce the semi-finalists?
By June 1, via the PRX blog and at radiotopia.fm/podquest. You will be notified (gently) beforehand if your proposal is not chosen.
When and how will you announce the finalists?
At the Podcast Movement conference in Chicago July 7 to 9.
What happens if I'm a finalist but not invited to join Radiotopia?
You own your idea 100% and are welcome to pursue your show on your own.

Further questions? Contact podquest@prx.org with any others.