The idea of an “accelerator” (sometimes also referred to as an “incubator” or “hothouse”) is nothing new in the tech world. Accelerators are often used as a way to nurture startups in their earliest days to see if they can really build a viable product. WNYC, the New York based public radio/podcasting juggernaut, has launched its first ever Podcast Accelerator:
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.
Applications for Podcast Accelerator will be accepted between June 25 and July 15, 2015. Five finalists will be selected from the pool of applicants. These finalists will be paired with WNYC producers who will help them refine their show ideas. On September 25, finalists will pitch their shows to a panel of judges at the Online News Association conference where one winner will be chosen. That winner will have an opportunity to produce a pilot episode of their proposed show for WNYC.
Here are the eligibility requirements:
The Podcast Accelerator is open to anyone able to attend ONA and who is NOT a current employee of NYPR. ONA will provide a complimentary registration badge (value: $500) to each finalist. Teams can submit a group pitch, but only one person per team can be comped. Familiarity with audio equipment isn’t required, but is recommended as our work with the finalists is intended to focus on the content itself.
And then the prizes:
Finalists get one complimentary ONA badge apiece, and benefit from a six-week virtual mentoring and training period, in which leading audio producers will help you hone your pitch, including story lines, character development, sound, texture, voice. In addition, you’ll have two virtual meetups with fellow finalists, ONA’s digital director and a WNYC producer to share ideas and progress.
My interpretation of that is, anyone can submit a show idea unless they’re already an employee of WNYC or its affiliated companies. Also, it looks like you can enter the contest from anywhere (unsure if it’s limited to North America or anywhere in the world) but WNYC won’t be paying your way to the finals. However you will receive a free badge for the ONA conference.
Being involved with the Podcast Accelerator could be a great opportuntity for both new and experienced podcasters alike. For more information on the contest, check out the link at the top of this article.