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BBC Sounds launches Audio Lab to amplify the next generation of podcasters

BBC Sounds launches Audio Lab to amplify the next generation of podcasters

Author: Wardah Sempa | Sunday 22nd August 2021

BBC Sounds launches Audio Lab to amplify the next generation of podcasters  Photograph

BBC Sounds announces Audio Lab, a new programme to accelerate grassroots podcasters and audio creatives with diverse stories and inspiring ideas from across the UK.

Audio Lab is the first initiative of its kind from the BBC and will provide a space for the next generation of podcasters, opening up the industry to a wider range of people by giving six audio creatives the opportunity to turn their ideas into a series of podcasts for BBC Sounds. The initiative is a paid development programme with a comprehensive package including bespoke training from the BBC Academy, mentoring and production support from BBC Audio, as well as marketing and promotion for the best ideas to help amplify unheard stories with new perspectives.

Audio Lab is open to all, and particularly welcomes ideas from audio creators from under-represented groups across the UK including Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic; LGBTQIA+, disabled and lower socio-economic backgrounds.

To guide applicants through their submissions, Audio Lab also presents a series of podcast masterclasses hosted by BBC Sounds Audio Lab producer Leanne Alie and supported by BBC Academy Fusion, with some of the scheme’s ambassadors as guests including broadcaster and journalist Mobeen Azhar, BBC Asian Network presenter and host of Brown Girls Do It Better podcast Poppy Jay and Radio 1Xtra’s Richie Brave. A new masterclass will be streamed on Zoom each week starting Wednesday 28 July for five weeks, and available to watch back on the Audio Lab site. They will explore essential podcasting skills from How To Be A Great Interviewer and Different Ways To Tell A Story to Bringing Your Story To Life Through Sound and Tech-ing your podcasts remotely, with some of the leading voices of the audio world.

Clara Amfo, Audio Lab ambassador says: “There is infinite creative potential in the UK and the harsh reality of the industry is that there are still lots of areas that need balanced representation through the voices we hear and who is making those voices heard. Initiatives like Audio Lab exist to help level the playing field and hearing from people who have a different lived experience can only educate, entertain and enrich our lives.”

Nadia Jae, Radio 1Xtra Breakfast host and Audio Lab Ambassador says:‘Speech radio and podcasting has come such a long way, redefining audio and radio. I was lucky to be able to develop my skills at community radio, but for presenters who are speech-based, Audio Lab is a great opportunity. I think it’s so important to hear from both subcultures that we know and understand, and those that we don’t. Having friends and family who you can get advice from is priceless but for those who don’t, podcasting is a great way to share information.”

Applicants must have at least one year of experience producing audio and making content. This can be self-published audio or video, creating audio in the voluntary sector or working with other podcast creatives. A passion for audio and podcasts is essential, along with a desire to create innovative conversations and stories that are not found elsewhere.

Ideas across all formats and styles are welcome that can be produced within 3 to 6 months. They can range from a monologue or spoken word or a conversation between two or more people to fact-based or documentary-style audio, soundscape, or a hybrid of styles. Further information and terms and conditions can be found on the Audio Lab website:

Applications for BBC Sounds Audio Lab open on Wednesday 14 July on the BBC Sounds Audio Lab website and close on 29 August 2021.