BBC Sounds has announced the names of the new creators that have won the opportunity to join this year’s Audio Lab Class of 2023, an annual podcast incubator programme by the network.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural programme - which led to one of its alumni, Tommy Dixon, winning Best New Podcast at the 2023 ARIAS for his podcast Colouring in Britain - the Audio Lab programme aims to support candidates in transforming their podcast ideas into a reality.
“This time last year I said I couldn’t wait to hear what our first year Creators would do and they didn’t disappoint one bit,” said BBC Sounds Audio Lab commissioning editor Khaliq Meer. “For Tommy Dixon to go on and win the ARIA Gold award for Best New Podcast at the UK’s biggest audio awards is a fantastic endorsement of his vision and the creative innovation of Colouring in Britain. Huge congratulations to Tommy and all our first-year trailblazers.
“I’m also thrilled we’re back with a new Audio Lab programme doing even more to amplify and nurture new grassroots talent. Plus, we’re working with more BBC teams across the UK as well as awarding first-time BBC podcast production commissions to two indies, so we can support more growth and stronger collaboration in the audio sector. I’m super-excited about what’s to come!”
Each of the successful candidates have also been appointed to work at BBC Sounds as assistant producers and will be receiving a full-time salary with an eight-month contract and gain access to production, funding, promotion, design and more.
This year’s winners of the Audio Lab programme include George Powell, who’ll be working with BBC News Long Form Audio in Salford to create a podcast titled This Field Remains, which explores the impact of Stanlow Oil Refinery at Ellesmere Port on the Wirral; May Robson, who’ll work with BBC Scotland Productions to create The Commons, on people embracing “collective ownership” and taking personal responsibility to improve their lives; and Taqwa Sadiq, who’ll work with BBC Audio Speech & Music Podcasts in London to create Sacred Money, which explores the concept of Zakat, a compulsory charity by Muslims, in a cost-of-living crisis.
This year’s Audio Lab programme has also partnered with two independent podcast production companies who will work with the creators, including Mags Creative in London, who will work with Anouska Lewis to produce Hometown Boring on the towns and cities branded unattractive or boring, and Three Arrows Media, who will work with Seun Matiluko in Salford to create Talking Drum,which pays homage to the West African instrument.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the opportunity to bring Anouska's idea to life as part of this year’s BBC Sounds Audio Lab scheme!” said Mags Creative head of production James Norman-Fyfe. “With our firm commitment to showcasing exciting, innovative, women-centred stories in our work, it couldn’t be a more perfect fit for our team.”