Entry Level Audio Network to host pre-ceremony mixer for Audio Production Awards newcomers

Podcasters still have time to apply to ELAN’s peer to peer mentor scheme

The Entry Level Audio Network (ELAN), an organisation dedicated to supporting new podcasters and producers, has partnered with the Audio Production Awards to host a pre-ceremony mixer for creators who are new to the industry. 

Broccoli Productions producer Bea Duncan, who co-founded ELAN with audio producer Tess Davidson, told PodPod that the event is aimed at people in the industry who are still in the early stages of their podcasting careers, such as anyone nominated for Best New Voice or Best New Producer, as well as anyone that gets overwhelmed at the idea of networking with people at large-scale industry events. 

“With award ceremonies, it’s a very public demonstration of the infrastructure of where people are, and you see all these big ‘kingpins’, to put it mildly, in this space - and it’s intimidating,” added Davidson. “We were keen to create an environment where people would have someone to go with into that, and then if they want to do their own thing after, that's fine, but it's always good to have that sense of solidarity.”

The pre-ceremony mixer will take place just before the ceremony, from 5-6pm at the BFI, the same venue in which the awards are being held. Interested parties can register for a free ticket now, although spaces are limited, and the exact location of the mixer will be revealed to ticket holders only. 

Nominees for this year’s 13th-annual Audio Production Awards, hosted by trade association Audio UK, were announced yesterday, and include teams and individuals from podcast companies such as Reduced Listening, BBC Asian Network, and more. The awards ceremony, sponsored by Audible, will be hosted by comedian Nish Kumar and journalist Coco Khan, co-hosts of Crooked Media’s political podcast Pod Save the UK.

In addition to partnering with the Audio Production Awards, ELAN recently relaunched its Peer to Peer Mentor Scheme - now in its third year - with applications open from now until 27 October at 5pm. The programme connects two entry-level audio creators at similar stages in their career in order to help them build long-term relationships.

Duncan told PodPod that ELAN first launched in 2019, growing out of her own experience of being an entry-level person in the podcasting industry and finding it difficult to connect and network with other people in the same position. It initially started as a Facebook group, which has since grown to nearly 600 members.

“I have been mentored before in schemes and I have mentored in those schemes, where it's someone higher up and somebody more entry level, and I've never found them to be as useful for long-term support,” said Duncan, “I thought it would be really nice to just pair people who are on the same level and interested in similar things.”

“Tess is one of my greatest friends and I can rely on her for support if I need to moan about something at work, if I need advice on a company, if I want her to look over my CV, and vice versa. You've got that support and so I think it's such a valuable scheme.” 

Anyone who signs up will be accepted and will receive a mentor, although Duncan said that anyone whose partner turns out to be unresponsive can go back to be paired with someone else. There’s no restriction about who counts as ‘entry-level’, but ELAN advises that applicants have no more than five years of professional experience in the audio industry.