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WNYC Digital

Welcome to the WNYC Podcast Accelerator

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Podcast Accelerator

What it is:

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. 

The application period will run from June 25 until July 15. Five finalists will be paired with producers from top WNYC podcasts who will mentor and train the candidates, helping them hone their pitches. On September 25, at the Online News Association (ONA) conference – one of the biggest gatherings in the journalism field - the finalists will make their pitches to a panel of judges.  The winner gets the chance to produce a pilot episode with a WNYC producer.

Apply here


June 25: Call for submissions

July 15: Submissions close

Week of August 4: Finalists notified

August 10 -September 18: Virtual mentoring of finalists 

September 25: Live event in which finalists make their pitches in front of a panel of judges and a live audience at the Online News Association conference. Winner is announced the same night. 



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.



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. The winner will have a chance to create one pilot episode with a WNYC producer. See rules and restrictions here.


What we’re looking for in a pitch:

At WNYC, a national producer of chart-topping podcasts and the largest public radio station in the country, we represent a city at the frontline of an evolving America. Hundreds of languages, sounds and flavors make up New York City -- across a huge swath of cultures. As we develop new content, we’re looking for shows that reflect this diversity of people and ideas. As such, all eligible submissions will be evaluated on the following five criteria:

  1. Creativity: Provokes honest, surprising and even uncomfortable conversations.
  2. Diversity: Introduces listeners to people and/or ideas they haven’t heard before.
  3. Originality: Does not duplicate something already in our feeds. Surprise us!
  4. Durability: Can be reproduced for at least 5 episodes.
  5. Viability: Has potential to reach large audiences and deeply engage them.


How to enter:

Submit a pitch that answers each of the following questions. Answers can’t exceed 200 words.

  1. What’s the one-line elevator pitch?
  2. Who is the intended audience? Be as specific as possible—when you picture a listener, who is she? What does he do for a living? When is she listening and how is she first discovering it? What other media does he consume?
  3. What are the main features or elements of the show? In other words, how many segments? Guests or reported? How many voices? Is there a host? And if so, describe him or her. Is it a real person? Is it Cher?
  4. What does the show sound and feel like?
  5. Are there comparable shows? If so, where do you see the overlapping audience?  Did a particular show(s) inspire your idea?  Which one?
  6. What experiences and skills do you bring to the project?
  7. Please submit a sample of your work, and if you’re suggesting a host, a sample of his/her work, too. Samples can take any form, including text, video or audio.

 Support for WNYC's Podcast Accelerator comes from MailChimp.