Radiotopia opens contest to find its next podcast

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Public Radio Exchange’s podcast network Radiotopia is holding a competition to find its next show, which would join the likes of 99% Invisible and Criminal.

The network is accepting pitches for original podcast concepts and podcasts in the early stages of development until April 17 through a contest it’s calling Podquest. Radiotopia producers, PRX staff and 99 Radiotopia donors (from last year’s fundraising campaign) will choose three finalists, who will each receive $10,000 to produce pilots. Finalists will receive four months of editorial and technical support from the Radiotopia team.

At the end of the production process, at least one winner will be chosen to produce a full season of episodes for the network in 2017.

The network is looking for “creative, motivated, diverse producers, who will help take Radiotopia in new directions and attract new listeners,” according to its website. “We’re looking for fresh ideas about compelling subjects that we can help grow into sustainable podcasts with increasing audiences and revenue over time.”

Ten semifinalists will receive $300 each in addition to consulting time with Radiotopia staffers, Hindenburg radio editing software, a two-year PRX membership, and a yearlong membership with the Association of Independents in Radio.

The winner will be announced at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago in November.

“Radiotopia’s mission is to provide a powerful, supportive platform for podcasting’s boldest voices,” said Julie Shapiro, executive producer, in a press release. “Podquest will connect us with ambitious, emerging producers and bring their creative talents to audiences hungry for Radiotopia-style podcasts: shows that consistently showcase innovative, provocative and carefully crafted storytelling.”

Podquest is funded by a $1 million grant awarded in May 2015 by the Knight Foundation.

According to PRX, Radiotopia’s monthly downloads have grown from 5.7 million per month in 2014 to more than 10 million per month in 2015. It currently provides 13 podcasts.

WNYC in New York named winners of a similar podcast contest last fall. It chose from 370 applicants.

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