BBC Sounds renews Audio Labs accelerator to champion new generation of podcasters

Successful candidates will gain new title as Assistant Producer and full-time salary for eight months

The BBC has announced that its in-house training and development program, Audio Lab, will be returning for its second year. 

Audio Lab is a program under BBC Sounds - a subsidiary of the national broadcaster which distributes podcasts, music, and live radio - which launched last year as an initiative to amplify the voices of new podcast and audio producers by giving them the platform to turn their ideas into a podcast. 

“We set out to create an immersive space where emerging talent can hone their skills and ideas,” said BBC Sounds Audio Lab commissioning executive Khaliq Meer. “I’m incredibly proud of the podcasts our first year creators produced, some of which were broadcast alongside world class programmes on BBC radio.

“More people are listening to podcasts than ever before and we’re passionate about helping the next generation access the right support and resources, achieve next-level ambition and reach new audiences on BBC Sounds.”

Podcasters that have some experience in content-making - either through self-published work or previous junior level work experience in production - and a passion for audio and podcasts are eligible to apply for the program. Special encouragement is given to applicants from under-represented groups. 

Successful candidates for the 2023 Audio Labs programme will be appointed to work at BBC Sounds as assistant producers and receive a full-time salary with an eight-month contract. They will also receive dedicated support for their podcast from BBC teams across London, Salford and Glasgow as well as assistance in commissioning, production funding, promotion, and artwork design to help develop their website. 

Additionally, each candidate will be working with one of Audio Lab’s production partners across the UK - which will include a UK independent production company for the first time - who will lead the development and production of the projects and help choose the best ideas for this year’s Audio Lab class. 

Applications are open now on the BBC Sounds Audio Lab website as well as the BBC Careers Hub and will close on 12 February. Interested applicants can also sign up for an Audio Lab webinar held on 25 January with the BBC Academy Fusion to help with their applications and give them the opportunity to ask questions. 

Last year’s winning Audio Lab team included Hamza Salmi who worked on documentary podcast Who Was Michael X, Hanna Adan with culture and history podcast The Museum of Bad Vibes, Adam Zmith on sound archive podcast The Film We Can’t See, Tomi Dixon on Colouring in Britain podcast highlighting the lives of POC Brits, Talia Randall on gardening podcast Blossom Trees and Burnt Out Cars, and Jade Scott on The Reset which explores the transition into adulthood. 

“I wanted a place to help me realise my idea and Audio Lab has heightened the quality of my podcast. Having constant support from the team enabled me to add dimensions to this podcast that would have previously been impossible,” said Salmi. “The team around me have always been supportive and I’m extremely grateful for their unshaking belief in me as a creator.”

This year’s Audio Labs programme is also championed by some of the BBC’s in-house podcast talent including co-host of the award-winning sex & relationships podcast Brown Girls Do It Too, Poppy Jay.

"What I find incredibly satisfying is just how diverse and super niche podcasting is, it's opened up our worlds and quite literally changed lives (Serial’s Adnan Sayed),” said Jay on the website. “Doing my podcast has changed my life so I cannot gas about it enough! The world of podcasting can be quite daunting though, as everyone’s nan and next door neighbour seems to have one so I think if I had gone in now I would've felt a bit overwhelmed. Having a programme like Audio Lab would have given me the road map and the tools to boost my confidence and to help amplify my voice."