Podcasting is quickly carving a name out for itself as a recognized source of entertainment, shocking true tales, and incredible story-telling. And just like the long-standing world of film, television and music, the world of podcasting has also initiated a number of awards programs honoring a variety of achievements in the industry.
And while you certainly didn’t start your podcast for the sole purpose of winning some serious podcasting silverware (and of course, some serious bragging rights, too!), there are definitely some perks to having a nominated or winning podcast!
Besides the confidence boost of knowing that all the hard work you’ve put into your show is recognized and appreciated, it could also open so many sponsorship doors, great guest opportunities, or incredible speaking engagements!
So, if all of the above sound like just what you want for your show, keep reading to find out just how you can go about landing a little of that fame and glory for you and your podcast.
So don your best tux or glitziest dress as we look at 9 of top podcast awards programs out there, as well as how you can get your show on those all-important nominee lists!
1. The iHeart Radio Podcast Awards
The 2021 Podcast Awards Season kicked off with the iHeart Radio Podcast Awards, taking place back in January. Besides recognizing podcasting greats, the event also attracts Hollywood stars, many of whom have also become podcast stars in their own right. This year saw Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey and their podcast, Office Ladies, taking home the big award, Podcast of the Year.
Conan O’Brien and Will Ferrell once again made appearances, while this year’s show also saw other big names such as Hillary Clinton and Gwen Stefani virtually presenting the winners with their awards.
This awards program has over 30 different categories! The nominees in most of the categories are selected by a judging panel “comprised of blue-ribbon podcast industry leaders, creatives and visionaries,” according to iHeartMedia, but the fans decide who will take home the prize for Podcast of the Year.
You can check out this year’s full list of nominees and categories here and all the winning podcasts here, as well as enjoying the virtual ceremony here! Then keep an eye on their website for all the info on how your show can land on the next set of lists!
2. The People’s Choice Podcast Award
With the inaugural show taking place in 2006, The People’s Choice Podcast Awards – more commonly known as The Podcast Awards – is one of the longest-running podcast award programs. As the name suggests, The People’s Choice Podcast Award celebrates podcasts nominated by their audiences and is open to shows from all over the world, regardless of country of origin or language.
Podcasters wishing to attain one of these awards should get registered here. The registration period for podcasters is from February 1st until July 31st, and there is a $30 registration fee. You can then follow the rest of the process which can be found here. There are a wide variety of categories available, and 10 new categories have been added for this year’s awards.
The awards ceremony, which takes the format of a live video broadcast, is set to take place on the 30th of September 2021, as it coincides with International Podcast Day. You can register, check out all the rules, see the award period timeline, and acquire all other important information on The Podcast Awards official website.
3. The Discover Pods Awards
Presented by Buzzsprout, the Discover Pods Awards have been an annual event since 2017 and is hailed as the largest annual fan-voted podcast awards. In 2020, over 30,000 votes were cast in the final round! As these awards are fan-based, the entries for the wide variety of categories are submitted by the listeners. There is no entry fee, as the organization aims to ensure that the awards are inclusive of all types of podcasts and podcasters.
As of yet, we could not find any info on the process or dates for this year, but for general information about how the nomination process works, eligibility terms and conditions, and the answers to other frequently asked questions, check out the Discover Pods Awards website here. You can also see all of 2020’s amazing nominees and winners. You are sure to find some of your favorites on the list, but you may also discover some great new shows to dive into.
4. The Audio Verse Awards
Established in 2013, the Audio Verse Awards recognize and honor those involved in bringing high-quality audio fiction to the world’s ears. Nominations open in September each year and each nominee must get three separate nominations in order to make the official list of nominees. There is no fee to submit a nomination and all voting is done by the public. In order to qualify, however, your show must be a work of fiction, and cannot be a conversation or interview, news, or the direct reading of a work of fiction.
In 2020, there were 34 categories in which your show enter, ranging from sound design in production, directing, or voice performance, making this awards program one that celebrates all the aspects that make up great audio fiction.
However, the pandemic seriously affected the final stages of the process, and the 2020 winners, which were set to be announced in January 2021, as of yet, have not been finalized. But head over to their website here, and you’ll be filled in on all that’s going on, as well as being the first to hear about this year’s awards.
5. The Ambies
The Ambies are the Podcast Academy’s awards program for celebrating excellence in audio. And one of the main aims of the Ambies is “to honor podcasts as a unique and personal medium for entertainment, information, storytelling, and expression.” The inaugural ceremony is set to take place on May 16th, 2021, broadcasting via YouTube and Twitch. There are a grand total of 164 Ambies nominees spanning 23 categories, which highlight the talent both in front of and behind the mic.
Production companies, individual producers and creators, as well as distributors of a podcast series are eligible for entry, provided they published at least 3 episodes during the designated period. However, for the inaugural event, only English language entries were accepted.
6. The Webby Awards
The Webby Awards honors excellence in 7 major media types: Websites, Video, Advertising, Media & PR, Social, Apps, Mobile, & Voice, Games, and Podcasts, and 2021 will be it’s 25th year of existence. The “Podcasts” category was introduced in 2006, and since then, earning a Webby is a much-desired prize, as they carry a well-earned air of prestige and respect. There are a number of podcast-focused categories, and within each category, there are two prizes up for grabs – one is the Webby Winner, selected by the members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the other is the People’s Voice, selected by the voting public.
There is a submission fee involved, but anyone is able to submit their show. Submissions for this year have closed, and the winners will be announced in May of this year. You can find out more Webby facts and all the important dates and details here.
7. The Peabody Awards
The Peabody Awards exist to recognize when storytelling is done well; when stories matter. And so while these awards are not solely for podcasts, the podcast medium has been recognized and awarded these prestigious story-telling awards. In fact, there have been four phenomenal podcasts that have been recognized as Peabody winners. Dolly Parton’s America by WNYC Studios, Montana Public Radio’s Threshold: The Refuge, APM Reports’ In The Dark (which has been awarded two Peabodys!), and BBC Sounds’ Have You Heard George’s Podcast?
Entry fees are set by category, and the fee for podcasts is $450. The nominees and winners must be unanimously chosen by the board of jurors, after an intense judging process. The 2021 winners will be announced in May, but keep an eye on their website for when the new submission cycle begins.
These last two podcast awards are location specific…
8. The British Podcast Awards
As the name suggests, the British Podcast Awards honors podcasts and podcasters who produce their show in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, or whose content is specifically designed for UK audiences. This awards program has been up and running since 2017 and in 2021, the event is supported by Amazon Music. In order to qualify for these awards, podcasters must submit their show before the cut-off date, which is Monday 29th of March at Midday, so you better get on that pronto! There are a number of regulations pertaining to the audio you select to subject, one of which being that the audio must be taken only from material first published between 1st February 2020 and 31st January 2021
You will also be required to pay an entry fee for your submission, but all the details can be found here, on the official British Podcast Awards website. The nominees and eventual winner in each category are selected by an independent panel of judges, except the Listener’s Choice Award, which is, of course, awarded based on listeners’ votes. You can read all the rules and regulations for the 2021 cycle here.
9. The Australian Podcast Awards
The Australian Podcast Awards was birthed back in 2015, and is a celebration of podcasts for Australia by Australians. The entries for these awards are all self-nominated, and the judges usually consist of a panel of podcasting experts, with podcast listeners eligible to vote for The Listener’s Choice Award.
There are not many available details regarding this year’s Australian Podcast Awards, but they have included a list of last year’s winners, which will definitely see you adding many new shows to your podcast line-up! You can also check out some of the dazzling highlights from the 2020 virtual ceremony.
While you more than likely did not get into podcasting just to win awards, the truth is that it’s also nice to receive recognition for the hard work you put into making your show the absolute best that it can be. Taking part in and (fingers-crossed!) winning podcast awards are a great way to garner more exposure for your show and reach a wider audience. You’ll get to meet some incredibly passionate podcast creators and others who love the medium just as much as you do along the way, and that, in itself, is incentive enough to find out more about the different podcast awards available!
The existence of awards programs in the podcast industry should push us to continually strive for excellence and to keep being innovative with regards to our shows. Do this (and make sure you get those nominations in!) and you could be walking away with some brand new silverware for your shelf.