Tag Archives: The Podcast Academy

The Podcast Academy Announced The Ambies

The Podcast Awards has announced The Ambies, which celebrates excellence in podcasting and elevated awareness and status of podcasts as a unique and personal medium for entertainment, information, storytelling and expression. These annual awards of merit are confirmed upon those deemed to be most worthy by their industry peers.

There are two types of award categories:

Show Recognition awards are presented to the creator or producer of the respective podcasts (an individual, or a company). For these category-specific podcast (eg Sports), submitters are invited to select the category most appropriate to their podcast, as generally understood by their peers.

Show Recognition categories are:

  • Podcast of The Year
  • Best Documentary Podcast
  • Best Interview Podcast
  • Best Comedy Podcast
  • Best News Podcast
  • Best Sports Podcasters
  • Best True Crime Podcast
  • Best Business Podcast
  • Best Fiction Podcast
  • Best History Podcast
  • Best Knowledge, Science or Tech Support
  • Best Society and Culture Podcast
  • Best Politics or Opinion Podcast
  • Best Entertainment Podcast
  • Best Wellness or Relationships Podcast

Talent Recognition awards are presented to individuals or teams, to recognize excellence.

Talent Recognition categories are:

  • Best Podcast Host
  • Best Reporting
  • Best Scriptwriting, Fiction
  • Best Production, Non-Fiction
  • Best Production and Sound Design
  • Best Original Score and Music Supervision
  • Best Performer in Audio Fiction
  • Governors’ Award – To be bestowed by the Governors of The Podcast Academy

The entry fee for members is $100. The entry fee for non-members is $175. Nominations are being accepted now. The entry period closes on December 15, 2020. Nominees will be announced in February of 2021. Awards ceremony will be held on March 28, 2021.

Apply to The Podcast Academy Through Podchaser

Podchaser announced that podcasters can now use their Podchaser creator profile to apply for membership in The Podcast Academy.

In order to join The Podcast Academy, podcasters will need to meet membership criteria depending on their role, including a minimum number of podcast credits and run time. Luckily, The Podcast Academy makes this super easy by allowing you to link to your Podchaser creator profile to verify your podcast credits.

Podchaser has provided instructions that will walk podcasters who have a Podchaser account through the process of applying for The Podcast Academy. The first step is to make sure your Podchaser creator profile is up-to-date with your latest credits.

The Podcast Academy began accepting members in June of 2020. Those that are interested in becoming a member must pay a membership fee. Those who sign up before September 30, 2020, can get 50% off their initial annual membership (meaning their membership fee will be $50). If you buy a membership after October 1, 2020, the price will be $100.

The Podcast Academy was formed to foster excellence and recognize outstanding creative achievement in podcasting.  To do this they will confer annual awards of merit upon those deemed to be most worthy by their industry peers. This awards program will bring the industry together, drive creativity, quality and excellence, and elevate the status of podcasts as an entertainment medium. The first awards ceremony will be held in 2021.

The Podcast Academy is Accepting Members

The Podcast Academy is now accepting members. Those that are interested must pay a membership fee. There are qualifications that you must meet in order to be considered for membership. Sign up on or before September 30, 2020, and get 50% off your initial annual membership. If you purchase a membership between June 22 and September 30, your fee is $50.00. If you buy a membership after October 1, your membership fee will be $100 ($75.00 for students).

Do you currently participate in the podcast industry? Then you are available for membership! All participants in the Podcast industry, whether professional or student, are welcomed as members.

Regular membership in The Podcast Academy is grouped into two categories. When applying for membership, individuals must select either “In Front of the Mic” or “Behind the Mic” peer group.

There are two Peer Groups to choose from. Members must pick one, but will have access to people in the other group through an online membership directory that The Podcast Academy will host.

In Front of the Mic: To join this peer group you must have credit as a Performer, Guest, Host or Co-Host on at least one (1) podcast program with a cumulative run time of three (3) hours or speaking on the microphone in at least three (3) episodes in the proceeding (2) years.

Behind the Mic: To join this peer group, you must be a Producer, Engineer, Writer, Researcher, Industry Consultant, Creative/Marketing/PR Executive, Professional Representative, or other Industry Professional.

No matter which one you choose, you must be prepared to show The Podcast Academy documentation that proves that you have met certain criteria. If you are unable to provide that documentation, it might be possible to be considered anyway, if you can get one (or more) letters of recommendation form Academy Members.

Student Membership is for actively enrolled students. A student must provide active enrollment in a college program by submitting a college ID card, college fee slip or semester mark sheet. Students may apply for Student Membership in The Podcast Academy, and their membership is offered at a discount. Student Members may not vote in the awards or for the Board of Governors.

Personally, I think the system set up to select members is exclusionary. The world is currently experiencing a pandemic. How will a student be able to provide a physical school ID while the school is closed, and telelearning is happening?

This month, WBUR and WBEZ had significant layoffs. There are likely other podcasters who had to stop creating and producing their shows because their lives have been affected by COVID-19. That’s a lot of people who are unlikely to be able to commit to giving The Podcast Academy $100 every year.

The Podcast Academy Announced their Board of Governors

The Podcast Academy has announced the people who are on its Board of Governors, along with a list of Officers. Previously to this, they posted on their website information about their Awards Program and its timing.

The Podcast Awards program will accept votes from members of The Podcast Academy who are in good standing. Members will be eligible to vote for the best of their peer group and the best of a general excellence category. Only members of The Podcast Academy can vote.

Nominations will be accepted in Fall of 2020. Finalists will be announced in early 2021. The first annual awards ceremony will be held in Lost Angeles in early 2021.

The Officers of the Board of Governors are:

  • Chairperson Rob Greenlee – VP, Content and Partnerships, Libsyn
  • Secretary Kerri Hoffman – President and CEO, PRX
  • Vice-Chairperson Donald Albright – President & Co-Founder, Tenderfoot TV
  • Treasurer Christy Mirabal – SonyMusic Entertainment

The Governors on the Board of Governors are:

  • Conal Byrne – President, iHeartMedia
  • Ben Cave – Global Head of Podcasts, Apple
  • Erik Deihn – CEO, Stitcher
  • Ayan Grundmann – SVP, Programming and Audience Development, NPR
  • Courtney Holt, Head of Studios and Video, Spotify
  • Hernan Lopez – Founder & CEO, Wondery
  • Christina Moore – Founder, Don’t Skip Media
  • Rekha Murthy – Independent Podcast Strategist
  • Liliana Maria Percy Ruiz – Executive Producer, On Being Studios
  • Oren Rosenbaum – Agent, Emerging Platforms, United Talent Agency
  • Lauren Spoher – Co-creator of Criminal and This is Love Podcasts
  • Alia Tavakolian – EVP of Content, Spoke Media
  • Jenna Weiss-Berman – Co-Founder, Pineapple Street

It is nice to see The Podcast Academy being transparent about who is on their Board of Governors. Many of the people on it are part of well known podcasting companies. I think that’s a good sign. It is worth noting that many of the people on the Board of Governors are the same ones who were listed as “supporters of the Podcast Academy’s launch” in a press release that led to controversy.

The Podcast Academy Golden Mics Controversy

The Podcast Academy was recently launched, and it included mention of an annual awards program called The Golden Mics. Personally, I think things could have been handled better than they were. The announcement led to some controversy.

On February 14, 2020, posted a press release on its website titled: “The Podcast Academy Launched; Annual Awards Program Announced”. Towards the top of the press release, it said: “Annual peer-based awards of merit called The Golden Mics planned for 2021.” Here is a portion of the press release:

Leaders across the podcasting community today jointly announced the formation of The Podcast Academy, a new membership-driven not-for-profit organization of independent podcasters and industry professionals dedicated to elevating awareness and excitement for podcasts as a major category and advancing knowledge and relationships in and around the business.

Supporters of the Podcast Academy’s launch include many of the world’s top producers and independents, led by founding members Donald Albright (Tenderfoot TV), Erik Diehn (Stitcher), Anya Grundman (NPR), Kerri Hoffman (PRX), Courtney Holt (Spotify), Hernan Lopez (Wondery), Christy Mirabal (Sony Music), Rekha Murthy (Independent), Lauren Spohrer (Criminal), and Alia Tavakolian (Spoke Media).

Why did this cause controversy? Here are a few reasons:

  •  Nick Quah, from Hot Pod, noted that The Podcast Academy has the same name as an Australian resource for podcasts. To me, it appears that The Podcast Academy didn’t do any research on the name they selected before announcing it.
  • Nick Quah also pointed to the Variety article about “The Oscars of Podcasting”, and pointed out that some major podcast publishers haven’t joined The Podcast Academy, including The New York Times, Entercom (which owns Cadence13 and Pineapple Street), Westwood One, Luminary, and iHeartMedia – which operates its own podcast awards.
  • Dave Jackson wrote “Did Wondery Kill The Podcaster Hall of Fame?” on Podcast Business Journal. In it, he points out that The Podcast Academy is a very similar name (and idea) to Academy of Podcasters, which began in 2015. The Academy of Podcasters would select people for the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame. In addition, Dave Jackson wrote: “The biggest outrage came from the announcement from Lopez via a tweet to Rob Usdin that the old Academy and Hall of Fame had been shut down.”
  • Jessica Kupferman, CEO of ShePodcasts tweeted: “I’d love to hear from @hernanlopez and @prx and @npr how they will acknowledge, if at all, the previous academy inductees. Does it just no longer exist and now we start fresh? Are they grandfathered in? All of them had over 10+ years in podcasting and achieved AMAZING things.”
  • Hernan Lopez responded with a tweet: “Hi Jessica! The new Podcast Academy has no connection with the former Academy Of Podcasters which was discontinued – just a similar name. I checked with them before moving forward with this initiative. At this point, we haven’t yet decided whether there will be a Hall of Fame /1”

Naturally, that led to some confusion about what happened to the Academy of Podcasters. Podcaster Business Journal posted an article with some explanation about that.

  •  Dan Franks, of Podcast Movement, said: “The other big question about the awards element of the new Academy. Hernan did come to use very early in the process to make sure these awards did not conflict with anything we did or were doing.” Dan Franks said “within the next 12 months we’ll have already had our next round of Hall of Famers inducted.” This makes it clear that the Hall of Fame will not be erased or ended.

Personally, I think the controversy could have been avoided if the Podcast Academy had done a few things differently. They should have spent more time making sure their choice of a name was not already being used. Someone in their group should have take a few seconds to use Google it.

I also think that Podcast Academy feels a bit rushed, but that perception could be due to what felt like a sudden announcement without any build up behind it.  I also think there is reason to be concerned that Podcast Academy didn’t understand how beloved the Hall of Fame is. What else are they going to miss the mark on?