Google Podcasts creator program
Frequently Asked Questions
Google Podcasts creator program is an accelerator program developed to lower barriers to podcasting and increase the diversity of voices in the industry globally. Selected teams will receive seed funding and participate in an intensive 20-week training program.
What are you looking for?
We’re looking for creative, engaged producers who:
- Represent a range of geographies, backgrounds, views, voices and styles
- Either self-identify as marginalized in the podcasting landscape – whether due to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, economic background, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities or some other reason – or intend to reach an audience that self-identifies as marginalized in the podcasting landscape
- Have a fresh and compelling podcast idea
- Are interested in making their podcasts sustainable in terms of growing revenue and audience
What are you not looking for?
While we’re fans of many podcast formats out there, we’re not looking for unstructured conversations or live storytelling. Also, knowing that publishing podcast episodes on a regular, predictable basis is critical to building an audience and attracting sponsorship and donors, we’re not looking for short-run, terminal podcasts (e.g. six-episode terminal podcasts). Finally, we are not looking for branded content of any kind. Producers must have full editorial control over their work.
What is the criteria you will use to select the winning teams?
We will be looking at your application as a whole, with particular attention to the following:
- Does the team represent or intend to reach an audience currently marginalized in the podcasting landscape (see “what are you looking for” section)?
- Does this podcast demonstrate creativity and originality?
- Does this podcast offer insight into broader issues or the human condition?
- Does the team have a clear sense of the audience it wants to reach with the podcast, including why the audience has a need for the podcast?
- Does the team seem curious, authentic, flexible and honest?
- Does the team have a particularly interesting expertise or take on this idea?
- Is the team able to dedicate the time necessary to complete the 20-week training?
- Does the team seem to understand the time commitment necessary beyond the training to make a successful podcast?
- Does the team have rights to tell the stories in the podcast or a plan to obtain them?
Do I need to speak English to participate in the program?
Yes. While the creator program is a global effort and we are very open to, and excited about, teams producing content in languages other than English, proficiency in English will be essential for full participation in the training program.
When can I apply?
Applications for the first training (taking place between January - June 2019) are being accepted through Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The next application period is expected to begin in May 2019 (taking place in late July - December 2019).
What questions are on the application?
- Name of the primary contact for the team
- Email address for primary contact for the team
- Organization name (if applicable)
- What country do you live in?
- What is the primary language you speak? If other than English, what is your fluency level in English?
- Who is on your team?
- How does your team represent or intend to reach people who self-identify as marginalized in the podcasting landscape – whether due to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, economic background, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities or some other reason?
- Name three podcasts you listen to regularly, and tell us why. (200 words max, per podcast)
- What stage of production are you in? Existing podcast, idea for a podcast or somewhere in between.
- Do you have an existing website?
- What is the podcast name? It is OK if you only have a working title for now, just let us know.
- Elevator pitch: In a single sentence, tell us your idea.
- Extended elevator pitch: In a few more sentences, give us detail (200 words max).
- What is the format of your show? (length, structure)
- What does it sound like? (reported narrated, reported non-narrated, fiction, interview, chatcast, etc.)
- Who’s the audience for this podcast? Please be specific.
- Audio sample: Use .mp3 format, up to two minutes in length. In a 1-2 minute audio clip, give us a taste of the sound and format of your show, or introduce yourself and describe the show you want to make.
- Budget: Give us a sense of what your budget is for this show. See typical budget items at the end of this FAQ.
- What makes this podcast a good match for the program?
- How did you hear about the Google Podcasts creator program?
*Note for international teams outside of North America: travel expectations are to be determined upon acceptance to program and are subject to adjustments to above.
The onsite training days will start at 8:30 a.m. and end around 5 p.m. We will often plan dinners and other gatherings. Attendees will know the schedule in advance of each visit.
During the course of the training, you will be deeply engaged in thinking about the audience for your podcast, what it will sound like and how to develop a solid plan for launch and production. You will be working closely with the other teams in the training and supporting each other in the process.
Is there any difference between the two training programs? Should we apply now or wait?
There are no planned differences between the two trainings, though we learn in each training process and iterate based on what we learn. The first will start in January 2019 and the second in July 2019. With each training cohort, we strive for diversity across a wide range of categories, including geographic, cultural, racial, gender, experience level, etc. So, if you are ready to apply now, please do. If you are not chosen in this round, you may apply again in the next.
What do you mean by a 20-week training and where does it take place?
The 20-week training won't require you to uproot your life, though it will involve some time and travel. There is a week-long bootcamp in Boston, MA the first week of the program. Then, there will be three, two-day Creative Reviews–one each month–which will also take place in Boston (international teams can participate virtually). Your team will be expected to work on your podcast, and participate in online webinars, in-between creative reviews. Finally, in the last week, we’ll have a final showcase at a public theater to show off and celebrate the pilot episode from each team. The kick-off bootcamp and the final showcase will take place in Boston at the PRX Podcast Garage.
I already have a podcast. Can I still apply?
We’re looking for fresh ideas that need some retooling, refining and a fresh start. Our main criteria are that all teams be flexible about all ideas and open to feedback and change. In other words, either an existing podcast or a new idea for a podcast is fine to submit.
I don’t have a lot of production experience. Can I still enter?
If you’re totally new to podcasting but have a stellar idea and the drive and motivation to bring it to life, we will consider your pitch. We recommend starting to get familiar with basic equipment and digital editing software the minute you finish reading this.
How many ideas can I submit?
Entrants may submit one idea each. Please send us your absolute best.
Is the two-minute limit for the audio sample a hard limit?
Yes; the audio can be shorter than two minutes but not longer.
What are you listening for in my audio clip?
We’re looking for an original idea expressed clearly either through example or description. This can be an example of your work or an audio introduction to you as a host. We’re open to exploring new forms; here’s your chance to get—and hold—our attention.
If I haven’t settled on a title, can I apply with a working title?
A working title is fine. Please note that in the application.
TEAMS AND THE TRAINING
How many people should my team plan to send?
We have budgeted for teams to send no more than three people. Many podcasts are done by one and two person teams, so any number below three is also fine. Reminder, each member of the team needs to be avaialable during the 20-week program to travel every month to the Podcast Garage in Boston, MA.
What do you mean when you say you’ll provide mentorship and podcast-relevant skill building?
Depending on needs per finalist, PRX will provide support in the form of editorial input, technical assistance and workshops on marketing, promoting, budgeting, visual branding and best social media practices in starting up a podcast. If needed, general oversight will be available throughout the pilot production season.
What is the advisory committee?
The Google Podcasts creator program will have an advisory committee of approximately 20 members. Our co-chairs are Jenna Weiss-Berman, co-founder, Pineapple Street Media in New York City and Amit Doshi, founder and CEO of IVM Podcasts in Mumbai, India. The advisory committee members are leaders in podcasting, both globally and here in the United States. Select members of the advisory committee will assist PRX in selecting the winning teams and participate in program events and trainings throughout the 20 weeks.
CONTENT AND DISTRIBUTION
What are the production expectations?
During the 20-week intensive training, teams will produce a pilot episode. This pilot will be developed in a way that focuses heavily on understanding and defining an audience, creating prototypes and getting feedback from listeners. The teams will work in a rapid and focused way. The training is often compared to a sustained sprint.
At the final showcase, the teams will present the pilot. From there, each team will be expected to continue releasing episodes on a regular schedule, adding up to at least 20 episodes in the following 12 months. The exact release schedule will be determined for each team during the training process.
What kind of support will PRX provide?
PRX will provide up to $40,000 in financial support for teams to participate in the 20-week training program. We will also create a cohort for the Google Podcasts creator program teams to promote and otherwise support one another. Furthermore, PRX will provide editorial guidance for show content and production, training around marketing and sponsorship and access to PRX’s technical distribution and hosting infrastructure as needed.
Regarding intellectual property, are there any strings attached for PRX and Google supporting these podcasts?
PRX and Google do not assume any rights to your intellectual property in this process. PRX will ask each team to sign a simple letter of agreement covering payment terms, services and program expectations.
The application mentions third-party distribution. What does that mean?
PRX will submit the willing shows to well-known third party distributors such as Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, NPR One, PRX Remix, Spotify and RadioPublic.
BUDGETS AND FUNDING
How much funding is available?
PRX will provide funding up to $40,000 to selected teams to offset the cost of participating in the 20-week training. The budget section of the application is intended to give us a sense of how much you will need. That being said, we may discuss the budget with you.
What should we put in the budget?
The idea is to invest in the team and show. If you aren’t sure whether something is covered, please ask. Your budget sample does not need to add up to $40,000. This is sample list of line items you might include in your budget:
- Time related to show production and oversight
- Studio time
- Tape syncs
- Field recording equipment
- Audio editing software
- Office space
- Supporting website
- Music clearance, archival footage, other expenses in support of show production
- Live local shows
*Note: Travel between your location and the Podcast Garage in Boston will be covered directly by PRX and does not need to be part of your budget.
What type of budget responsibility will participants have?
Everyone involved in the project should have a good understanding of what’s in the budget, how money is going to be spent, etc. It is also helpful to have transparent ways of communicating and managing the budget. The team should identify a financial point person who is prepared to organize contracts, reports, receipts, prepare reimbursement invoices and track costs over the course of the training period.
What time frame should our budget reflect?
Please plan your budget around what it will take to produce the show each year.