Official Rules for the 2019 Werk It Podcast Accelerator Contest
Conducted by New York Public Radio


The Accelerator is open to anyone 18 years of age and older who has purchased a ticket and will attend Werk It: A Women’s Podcast Festival at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, who is NOT a current employee of New York Public Radio, their immediate family members, or anyone living in their household, and who agrees to these official rules. Familiarity with audio equipment isn’t required but is recommended.


Submit a pitch by midnight September 20, 2019. You must answer all of the following questions and submit a sample as outlined below. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Before submitting your application, be prepared to consider the following:

  1. What’s the one-line elevator pitch for your podcast?

  2. Is this a show you're already making, or that you hope to put into production?

  3. What’s the format of the show?

  4. What does the show sound and feel like?

  5. What are the comparable shows? Where do you see the overlapping audience?

  6. What shows have inspired this idea?

  7. Please submit a short audio sample (5 minutes or less) via a link (e.g., to Dropbox or Google Drive). If you don’t have anything yet for the show you’re pitching, then submit an example of your work or your host’s work.



A committee of WNYC staff will pick 5-12 finalists 5-12 finalists from the pool of eligible applications, based on the criteria below to advance to the next stage on October 3 and 4, 2019, at the Werk It Festival at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Finalists will be notified via email on September 24, 2019. If a finalist doesn’t confirm participation within 48 hours, an alternate finalist will be chosen. Finalists are responsible for their own travel and lodging to and from the Werk It Festival. A grand prize winner will be chosen based on the criteria below by a panel of judges comprised of WNYC staff. Please see below for exclusivity restrictions applicable to Finalists and the Grand Prize Winner.

All eligible submissions will be evaluated on the following five criteria:

1) Creativity: Provokes honest, surprising and even uncomfortable conversations.

2) Diversity: Introduces listeners to people and/or ideas they haven’t heard before.

3) Originality: Does not duplicate something already in existence. Surprise us!

4) Durability: Can be reproduced for at least five episodes.

5) Viability: Has potential to reach large audiences and deeply engage them.



One grand prize winner will have an opportunity to produce a pilot episode based on their pitch with WNYC Studios. The pilot process will provide the winner with tools and professional guidance to bring their ideas to life. The prize will include the following:

  • The winner will be invited to meet with a team of leading producers from WNYC Studios for a two-hour session to further hone their podcast idea. (This may be in person or may be done remotely if the winner is not in the NYC area.)

  • The winner will be able to work with a WNYC Studios producer to collaborate on the production of the pilot episode, for a period of time not to exceed four weeks.

  • The winner will be given access to WNYC’s recording studios (winner is responsible for their own travel/lodging if they are not in the NYC area) and the support of our engineering staff to record their pilot, subject to scheduling availability and with total studio time not to exceed two business days (if the winner has access to their own studio, the winner may use their studio at their own cost if they prefer).

  • The winner will be able to work with a WNYC Studios sound designer to collaborate on the pilot, for a period of time not to exceed one week.

All scheduling will be subject to reasonable WNYC availability, and all resources will be available to the winner only through June 30, 2020, with completion of the pilot anticipated by or before that date.

The winner will not receive lodging or travel costs to New York or elsewhere. It also doesn’t include broadcast or other distribution. The total value of this prize is valued at an estimated $10,000.


All Submissions

Copyright ownership of the entries will remain solely with the entrants. By entering the contest, you acknowledge that there may be multiple submissions that are similar in nature to yours, and you understand and acknowledge that New York Public Radio and participants in the Werk It Festival may currently be working on ideas or materials similar or identical to your pitch. No contract or obligation of any kind is implied by your submission of your pitch or its inclusion in the Werk It Festival, except as specifically set forth in these rules.

You understand that your pitch submission (including any audio) will not be considered confidential and may be disclosed by the Werk It Festival, participants in the Festival, or any of the organizations affiliated with the Werk It Festival or the participants.

By entering, you are giving New York Public Radio permission to use your entry (including materials included as part of your entry) for all purposes associated with this contest and the WerkIt Festival, and in the Werk It conference venue.

Each entrant (including all members of each entrant that is a group) grants permission to NYPR and those acting under its authority to use their name, photograph, voice and/or likeness, for advertising and/or publicity purposes, as well as all submissions and performances in any and all media now known or hereinafter invented without territorial or time limitations.

Each entrant acknowledges that any rights and permissions granted to NYPR in accordance with these rules will not give rise to any right to receive any compensation whatsoever.


You agree that if you are chosen as a finalist, during the period after notification that you have been selected as a finalist and for 90 days after the Werk It Festival pitch presentation session on October 4, 2019, you will not discuss your podcast idea (or those of other finalists) with any producers, distributors, agents, or other third parties involved in the production or distribution of audio, other than New York Public Radio.

Grand Prize Winner

You agree that if you are chosen as the grand prize winner, you will not discuss your podcast idea in any manner with any third parties, including any producers, distributors, agents, or other third parties involved in the production or distribution of audio, other than New York Public Radio, until 90 days after the sooner of (a) the date that a pilot episode is completed and delivered to WNYC Studios, and (b) June 30, 2020 (such period, the “Exclusive Negotiation Period”).

After the Exclusive Negotiation Period, or in the event that WNYC Studios notifies the grand prize winner that it does not wish to negotiate an arrangement to produce or distribute a podcast based on the pilot, the winner owes no further exclusivity obligations to WNYC Studios.

You hereby grant New York Public Radio the following license and permissions in the case that you are chosen as the grand prize winner and produce a pilot episode with WNYC Studios: New York Public Radio may use the pilot produced with you, as well as any materials produced in connection with the pilot in between the date that the winner is chosen and June 30, 2020, in any and all media now known or hereinafter invented without territorial or time limitations, which license is non-exclusive, sublicensable, and transferable, and without any additional consideration payable to you whatsoever. In addition, you grant permission to NYPR and those acting under its authority to use your name, photograph, voice and/or likeness for advertising and/or publicity purposes or otherwise in connection with the pilot or related material created prior to June 30, 2020 as described in the previous sentence.

By participating in WNYC’s Podcast Accelerator, participants agree that NYPR, its agents and employees will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind resulting from their participation in the Podcast Accelerator, the selection of finalists or the grand prize winner, or the awarding of any prize. All prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged for cash. There will be no substitutions for any prize.

WNYC and WNYC Studios are a part of New York Public Radio, a New York not-for-profit organization. This contest and the Werk It festival are organized and conducted by New York Public Radio.

Restrictions may apply. By participating in this contest, you agree to be bound by these official rules, and all decisions of New York Public Radio staff and contest judges.