NPR partners with AIR to surface new storytelling

NPR logoNPR and AIR are throwing open the gates to a new audio storytelling competition and looking for independent talent to step up and pitch. NPR wants to surface producers working in teams of two or three with amazing ideas for a podcast pilot, a new show, an in-depth story, a radio series, a social media experiment or … what have you got?

If you are ready to break traditional formats, reach new audiences, and pioneer new forms of audio journalism, this is for you. Indie producers can apply here. The deadline to submit an application is Feb. 29 at 11:59 p.m. ET. NPR will announce decisions April 4.

NPR’s selection committee will choose a mix of station-based and indie productions. This means you can pitch as a freelance team or, if you have a strong relationship with producers working at station, send a text, make a call, get the ball rolling with them.

Here are some guidelines:

Focus: Pitch something well-defined – the more specific the idea, the better;

Purpose: How is it going to be meaningful to the audience(s) you want to reach;

Diverse and distinct: Tackle a new topic, experiment with new formats, take listeners to new places;

Collaboration: We want ideas conceived in teams of 2 or 3 producers who represent diverse skills and background. The application must be filled out by committed collaborators;

Support: AIR will offer creative guidance to the indie teams selected by NPR.

The teams tapped by NPR will have an all-expense-paid trip to NPR HQ in Washington, D.C., June 1-3. Teams will be paired with a mentor to shape their ideas, there will be hands-on training sessions, inspirational presentations and opportunity to connect with other public media creators. Each group will develop a project roadmap, which they’ll present to a panel for feedback at the end of the workshop.

Often times the hardest part of a project is knowing where to start. The goal of the workshop is to move producers from idea phase to execution, and then continue to support producers through the launch of the project and with promotion and distribution.

Questions? Email Eric Athas at