Thursday, October 6, 2016


Public radio used to have several competitions to recognize its best work. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) sponsored an annual awards presentation at the Public Radio Conference (PRC) and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) had the annual Golden Reels competition. CPB’s event disappeared when the PRC went away in the early 2000’s. NFCB ended the Golden Reels a couple of years later.

These days the Public Radio News Directors (PRNDI) sponsor the only system-wide competition – the PRNDI Awards – which focuses exclusively on newsroom output.

There is another competition with a wider view: The Third Coast International Audio Festival, {link] conducted each year in Chicago. Third Coast invites entries from folks outside the US, podcasters and audio storytellers, in addition to producers at US noncom stations. The result is an eclectic mix of topics that provide a feast for the ears. 2016 is no exception. 


Anna Sale

Third Coast just announced the finalists for this year’s Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition with a twist.  All of the announced entries are already “winners” but no one knows who won what category.  That will be known at the November 13th Awards Ceremony in Chicago. The host will be Anna Sale, host and managing editor of WNYC’s Death, Sex & Money.

According to a press release from Third Coast, there were 552 entries from 17 countries, a record high. Third Coast has made audio of all of the finalists/winners available at [link].

Here is the list of the winners:

Samantha Broun

 A Life Sentence: Victims, Offenders, Justice, and My Mother 
Country: USA
Produced by Samantha Broun and Jay Allison for

Dead Mom Talking
Country: Canada
Produced by Rachel Matlow for CBC Radio One

Country: France
Produced by Jamil for Jungala Radio

Country: USA
Produced by Kaitlin Prest & Mitra Kaboli for The Heart 

Lindsey Smith

Not Safe To Drink
Country: USA
Produced by Lindsey Smith for Michigan Radio

Sentencing Hearing
Country: USA
Produced by Emily Forman for WNOV and WUWM

Country: Denmark
Produced by Thomas Arent Anderson for Third Ear X Politiken

Violación de un Sueño: Jornada Nocturna 
Country: USA
Produced by Bernice Yeung, Sasha Khokha & Daffodil Altan for Reveal, KQED, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Frontline, and Univision

Hillary Frank

W. Kamau Bell Talks to His Mom About Sex
Country: USA
Produced by Hillary Frank with Abigail Keel for The Longest Shortest Time

Why Do I Stay? 
Country: USA
Produced by Rainy and Courtney Stein for Radio Rookies

The Third Coast International Audio Festival is a non-profit arts organization that was founded by WBEZ, Chicago in 2000.


Yesterday’s post about the decline of weekly cumulative listeners between March 2016 and September 2016 by several NPR News stations caused a stir in some quarters. 

Ten of the 13 news stations (77%) with the largest number of weekly listeners declined during this period.  WBEZ lost 22% of its weekly listeners. Almost 600,000 weekly listeners were lost by WBEZ and three other stations: KPCC, KCRW and WBUR.

The losses appear to challenge the narrative of NPR News stations getting a bump in listeners during a hot political season.

We contacted Ben Calhoun, Heidi Goldfein and Jake Fenske at WBEZ for comments.  We had not heard from them at the time this story was posted.  If/when we hear from them, we will update this story.

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