WNYC Announces Search for the Next Great Podcast

By on June 25, 2015

WNYC’s Podcast Accelerator to Give New Voices A Pathway, a Platform, and a Pilot

Winning Pitch to be Selected at the Online News Association Annual Conference in September 2015 in Los Angeles

June 25, 2015 – New York, NY — WNYC, home to top podcasts including RADIOLAB, FREAKONOMICS RADIO, and HERE’S THE THING with Alec Baldwin, is looking for new talent, new ideas, and new voices for the next wave in what’s been hailed as “a golden age of audio.”

Launching today, the WNYC Podcast Accelerator will give both established talent and up-and-coming storytellers the opportunity to pitch their big podcast idea and potentially win the chance to produce a pilot. Modeled after successful tech accelerators such as Y Combinator, the WNYC Podcast Accelerator is the first of its kind in the dynamic podcasting space, providing production advice, industry connections, mentorship and a platform for creating remarkable audio content.

The application period will run from today until July 15. Five finalists will then be paired with producers from top WNYC podcasts including Freakonomics, Death, Sex & Money, Here’s The Thing, and Studio 360 who will mentor and train the candidates, helping them hone their pitches – including storylines, character development, sound, texture and voice — throughout the summer. On September 25 in Los Angeles, at the 2015 Online News Association (ONA) Conference – the world’s largest gathering of digital journalists — the finalists will make their pitches to a panel of judges. The winner gets the chance to produce a pilot episode with a WNYC producer.

“We’re delighted to provide a spotlight as WNYC crowdsources fresh ideas and personalities in the podcasting world,” said ONA Executive Director Jane McDonnell. “It’s been great to see quality podcasts getting more attention over the past year, and we hope to help continue the trend.”

“WNYC is inspired by its home base, New York City, and the city’s energy and diversity feeds everything we do,” said Dean Cappello, Chief Content Officer, WNYC. “But good ideas come from everywhere — ideas that provoke urgent discussions, ideas that delight and give listeners a good time. The podcast accelerator is our welcome mat to anyone with an original idea and the daring to pursue it.”

“In this age of social media, everyone is a content producer and everyone has a voice, but quality and reach still count,” said Paula Szuchman, Senior Director, Digital Content, WNYC, who conceived and organized the WNYC Podcast Accelerator. “We’re excited to find and work with the finalists – who could be established print journalists or undiscovered personalities with no formal training – to help bring something completely new into the world and potentially, the WNYC roster of podcasts.”

WNYC has been a leader in podcasting since the beginning of the medium. In 2004, WNYC launched the first podcast of an NPR show, On the Media. WNYC podcasts Radiolab and Freakonomics Radio consistently rank in the iTunes Top 5. In April 2015, WNYC co-hosted the inaugural podcast upfront with other public radio producers. In June 2015, WNYC hosted the first-ever podcasting festival for women.


Thursday, June 25: Submission period opens
Wednesday, July 15, 11:59pm: Deadline to submit a pitch
Week of August 4: Winners to be contacted
August 4- September 18: Workshopping period
Friday, September 25: Pitch event at ONA15 / Winning Submission Selected

The WNYC Podcast Accelerator is supported, in part, by MailChimp.

Rules and regulations for the WNYC Podcast Accelerator may be found here.

To submit an entry, click here.

About the Online News Association (ONA)
The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of digital journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, developers, photographers, educators, students and others who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

About WNYC
From its state-of-the-art studios in New York City, WNYC is reshaping audio for a new generation of listeners with groundbreaking, innovative radio programs and podcasts including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, On the Media, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Death, Sex & Money and Note to Self among others. With an urban vibrancy and a global perspective, WNYC is America’s most listened-to public radio station and the home to an award-winning newsroom of 65 journalists.


Jennifer Mizgata

Jennifer Mizgata is Director of Programs at the Online News Association, where she leads the Women's Leadership Accelerator. At ONA, Jennifer focuses on identifying talented digital journalists and innovative journalism projects and providing them with support. Jennifer is a business and design strategist with over a decade of experience creating industry-changing training programs, investing in award-winning projects, and managing key relationships with journalism partners and tech stakeholders. She regularly coaches managers, senior leaders and entrepreneurs on challenges related to their careers and launching new ventures. Jennifer shares advice for navigating tough work challenges in Work Space, a monthly column for Fortune.