The 2020 Film and Television award season has just come to an end, but that doesn’t mean an end to the glitz and glam! That’s right! It’s time to celebrate our favorite form of entertainment – podcasts! You may be unaware that the world of podcasting has a number of awards programs honoring a variety of achievements in the industry. Or perhaps you are aware that these awards exist, but you’re just not sure how to get your podcast noticed and nominated. Well, then today’s post is for you. We’ve scoured cyberspace to find the most sought-after podcast accolades, and researched the rules and regulations to let you in on just how to go about getting your podcast the one coming home with that big win. So if you long to hear, “And the winner is [insert your podcast here]!” keep reading to find out just how to get your show in the running.
1. 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. Podcasters wishing to attain one of these awards should encourage their listeners to get registered (this can be done on the official website, link below) and send in their nominations. There are a wide variety of categories available, and new categories are added as the podcasting landscape grows and develops. Previous winners of The People’s Choice Podcast Award include This American Life, The Fantasy Footballers, as well as Ellen on the Go, so winning one of these coveted awards will put you in the company of some podcasting greats! And knowing that your audience nominated and voted for you makes winning this accolade that much sweeter! The awards ceremony, which takes the format of a live video broadcast, is set to take place around the 30th of September 2020, to coincide with International Podcast Day, but the official date is yet to be announced. 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.
2. 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. FUN FACT: in 2019, over 20,000 votes had to be counted and checked for the finalists alone! 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. The dates for this year’s awards have not yet been announced, but if last year’s numbers are anything to go by, this year’s competition promises to be even tougher! For how the nomination process works, eligibility terms and conditions, the answers to some frequently asked questions, or the list of last year’s amazing nominees and winners, you can check out the Discover Pods Awards here. You are sure to find some of your favorites on the list, but you may also discover some great new shows to dive into.
3. 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 Septemeber 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. There are thirty-two categories in which your show could be entered, 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. You can find all the necessary bits of vital information on the AVA website here. You will also find a link to the Nominee Showcase Podcast, where you can have a listen to some of the 2019 nominees and get a good idea of the level of competition.
4. The Webby Awards
In 2019, the Webby Awards celebrated 23 years in existence. I know what you’re thinking, “Podcasts haven’t been around that long!” But the Webby Awards are not solely awards for podcasts but are for achievements of excellence in all aspects of the Internet. “Podcasts” as a 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 fee involved, but anyone is able to submit their show. The nominees for the 2019 selection will be announced on the 31st of March 2020, with the star-studded 24th ceremony set to take place in May of this year. So while you’ll have to wait for the new award season to open, this is definitely one to consider entering.
5. The iHeart Radio Podcast Awards
This awards program has received a fair bit of backlash since its inception in 2018, mainly due to its early claim of being the first major Podcast Awards program, but has since established itself as a worthy accolade to strive for. The backing of such a big name contender such as iHeart Radio, and with the ceremony held at the iHeart Music Hall have helped to create an elevated level of recognition when it comes to podcasts. The event also draws big Hollywood stars, with Will Ferrell opening up this year’s ceremony, Conan O’Brien delivering a great acceptance speech, and Gavin DeGraw performing a number of his greatest hits. There are over 30 categories with the fans deciding who win take home the prize. No details for this year’s awards have been released yet, but you can check out last year’s nominees and winners here.
We end this list of prestigious podcast awards by looking at some awards programs that are specific to a particular country. Meaning, if you podcast from one of the following countries, you might just qualify for their podcast awards…
1. 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 is proudly powered by Acast. In order to qualify for these awards, podcasters must submit their show before the cut-off date. IMPORTANT: If you are wanting your show to be a contender for the 2020 awards, you better get on it! The closing date for this year’s entries is the 28th of February at midday. You will also be required to pay an entry fee for your submission. The nominees and eventual winner in each category is selected by an independent panel of judges, except the Listener’s Choice Award, which is, of course, awarded based on listeners’ votes. For all the terms and conditions or to enter your podcast, head to the official British Podcast Awards website.
2. The Australian Podcast Awards
Set to have their 4th annual awards ceremony at an as-yet undecided date in November 2020, the Australian Podcast Awards is a celebration of podcasts for Australia by Australians. There are a multitude of categories to choose from, including one for best podcast production, as well as one for the best audiogram! As with the British Podcast Awards, submissions are made by the podcaster, and an entry fee is required. The judges are comprised of a panel of podcasting experts, with podcast listeners eligible to vote for The Listener’s Choice Award. Entries will be open for submission at the end of July, and this year’s ceremony is set to take place in Sydney. All other related information, as well as the latest news on the event, can be found on the official website here.
The Golden Mics
This year at the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference, the launch of The Podcast Academy was announced. Promoted as a nonprofit organization, it is a member-based academy for independent podcasters and industry professionals whose goal it is to propel and promote podcasts as a major media industry and to accelerate and support developments within the field. I’ve included this as a notable mention as along with the announcement of the formation of the Podcast Academy it was announced that part of the program would a peer-based awards program named The Golden Mic, which by all reports, will be for podcasts what the Academy Awards are for film, with the first ceremony taking place in 2021. Watch this space…
While awards and accolades are definitely not the be-all-and-end-all, it’s also nice to receive recognition for the hard work you put into making your show the absolute best that it can be. Podcast awards are also a great way to garner more exposure for your show and reach a wider audience. Not only that, but through the nomination period, as well as the eventual awards show itself, you’ll also find amazing new shows to listen to and you’ll get to meet some incredibly passionate, and like-minded people along the way, and that in itself is incentive enough to find out more about the different podcast awards available. And while there may be some controversy as to whether or not voting systems like some of those mentioned are unbiased and fair, the fact remains that the existence of awards programs should push us to strive for excellence and to keep being innovative with regards to our shows, and this can only mean good things for the podcasting industry as a whole. And this, at least in my book, is a definite win!