It’s time to rebuild and restructure the People’s Choice Podcast Awards

When I founded the podcast awards, little did I know the passion podcasters would have about the People’s Choice Podcast Awards. Throughout the past 11 years, millions of podcast listeners have nominated and voted for their favorite shows each year.

The awards have been very much a project of passion. And while at times they were supported through financial injection of my personal company, I have remained committed to providing a transparent venue for podcasters to be honored by their audiences and peers.

While other awards have popped up and are special in their own way, the People’s Choice Podcast Awards is unique in that the fans drive the awards process.

As most know, I attempted to divest myself from the awards in 2014 by selling to the New Media Expo. As many witnessed there were serious issues with the transition, and the awards ceremony masters of ceremonies actions culminated into something not worthy of the fans and the awards itself. Little did we know that the New Media Expo would disappear and sadly not be able to complete the transaction for the podcast awards in 2015.

So here we are. I have never been one to walk away from something, and I am not going to do that now. I realize that Podcast Awards is going to need a serious re-work of the site itself, a complete revamp of the rules and awards processes. And I’m going to need your thoughts and ideas.

I have come to some decisions on how I will proceed. I will run the 11th annual Podcast Awards with the current site and infrastructure while at the same time we will run a GoFundMe campaign to raise the $25,000 needed to rebuild, restructure the site. I will also appreciate your thoughts and ideas as we rebuild Podcast Awards.

Before nominations open this year, I will completely restructure the rules and process of the awards with input from you, our trusted members of the podcast community. But I want to make one thing very clear: the People’s Choice Podcast Awards will remain in body and soul a podcast-listener event.

No awards process is perfect, to be honest a perfect process does not exist and whatever we come up with someone will bitch about it. That said the existing process can be improved significantly.

Things up for consideration:

  • Minimal Show Registration Fee
  • Rules
  • Categories
  • Listener Nomination Period
  • Peer Nomination Period
  • Nominated Shows Review Process
  • Slate Determination
  • Annual Podcast Legends Award
  • Steering Committee
  • Nominated Fairness Doctrine
  • Voting Process

I look forward to your input. And look forward to rolling out the new process by April 1 and opening Nominations by April 15.

Update, we have launched the GoFundMe Campaign.

17 thoughts on “It’s time to rebuild and restructure the People’s Choice Podcast Awards

  1. Consider changing the name of some of the categories to honor the shows that have won that award continually – for example, The Lou Mongello Travel Podcast Award. This way it opens up the possibility of another show actually winning the award while at the same time honoring the large and devoted audience WDW Radio has had for many years.

    • My initial thought was that no show could win, two years in a row and that we would involve the past year winner in the process. But I kinda like that idea. My thought is also to replace “best produced” with a Legacy Award and once you win a Legacy award a show would no longer be eligible to win in any category.

  2. For input, I’d like to see some new categories, I feel the traditional ones have been very limiting. I also really like the idea of a listener nomination period and then a peer nomination period. I think that helps a lot and would give a bit of depth to the awards.

    I think making it one vote per user is a good idea, far too often people cheat the system and while no system is perfect, having ip address and email confirmation doesn’t seem too hard.

    I don’t like the idea of a registration fee. I know that is expecting a lot, it costs money to host an award and all of that, but that will create a class system with show nominations and it could lock out people from different areas. That of course means that fundraising would have to come from other areas.

    • The challenge with more categories is that they cost about $1000 each if you look at overhead.. There will be changes, but we will have to find a way to pay for the new categories.

      So far as the minimal registration fee I was thinking 30-40 dollars.. The awards have to become sustainable trophies alone are close to $7500 and we have not been able to rely on sponsorships alone to pay for just the trophies.

  3. Thanks for all you do Todd. I know this is completely a labor of love for you and you don’t want to let it go. I hope you get the support you need from the rest of the community.

  4. Thank you, Todd, for returning to the ownership and agreeing to once again oversee the administration of the People’s Choice Podcast Awards.
    Though I am amenable to Jay’s suggestion above, I am more inclined towards having a sponsor being able to place the name of their company in the award: for example, AnyCorp sponsoring the Travel Award would become the AnyCorp Travel Award. I am hopeful that this would assist in attracting and sustaining sponsorship commitments year-over-year, thereby at least lessening the minimum registration fee if not outright removing its need for award sustainability.
    Above all though, I am as curious as I am concerned about the notion of replacing the “Best Produced” category with a “Legacy” award mentioned above. To confirm a show winning the latter would suspend its future eligibility in perpetuity, correct? If so I support that and indeed the general concept of “Legacy” outright. But what has led you to considering removing the “Best Produced” award?

    • The Best Produced has been subjective, as has been Best Video so there will need to be some changes. By keeping People’s choice and having a new Legacy Award, removing best video and best produced we end up having room for another category, out years after we update the site it will be easier to add categories.

      I know there will be resistance to the registration fee, but maybe a small nominal fee will reduce the number of no shows during the awards ceremony as those shows that snub the awards will no longer be eligible to even be nominated.

      Plus we will get podcasters to focus their audience on the correct category submission versus what happens and shows audiences get nominated in every category.

  5. I understand and follow what you are saying with respect to the subjectivity of “Best Produced” (and “Best Video”), but I find that is inherent with all the categories — including “People’s Choice” — as it’s a selection based on individual preference. It’s not about one podcast being good and another not in a given category, but about which one is better than the rest in one’s assessment. This applies at both the nomination and voting stages. The only difference I see is “Best Produced” and “Best Video” have “Best” in the award title.

    Relatedly on podcast categories, what qualification(s) is/are you considering for the “Legacy Award”? For example, would a podcast have had to won at least one award in previous years?

  6. If you charge a fee (which I’m *not* in favor of), you should still at least give an “Honorable Mention” to anyone who would have otherwise been nominated.

    I’m for having to pass a treshold (say 2000 ballots?) to have a nomination pass, and have a reduced list if there are not enough votes in a catagory.

    I’m for instant run off balloting (with the website preventing undervotes with some good code)

    If I think of anything else, I’ll post again

    • We have had as many as 5000 shows nominated with more than 2000 nominations each in the past.. So not sure how we would be able to accommodate an honorable mention. While the registration fee would be a last resort we need a way to sustain the awards. Typically we have had as many as 50 volunteers supporting the review process for free.. That may not be sustainable.

  7. I love that you have such elegant trophies. But it might be worth considering going to a more “off the shelf” design if that will save $$$.

  8. Clinton, this is true but the design is so incredible I would hate to abandon the look.. I am exploring to see if we can get them done somewhere cheaper.

  9. I am not in favour of a minimum nomination threshold as gauged by a set value: I strongly believe the number should remain relative to those received by other nominated podcasts in a given category. This way you would still have ten nominees per category with no category being penalized simply because the size of the audience within — at least as measured through this process — is not as large as compared to some, most or even all of the others. If the top ten nominees in a given category have more than X number of ballots in nomination each than that is incidental. That said I have always liked how for nominations to The People’s Choice Podcast Awards, the number of ballots cast for a given show weighed as a substantial minority but not a majority over other factors in determining their placement or not in a category’s slate: I find this works well towards an equitable balance between audience size and engagement in practice.

  10. Todd, LOVE the fact that this returns to the hands that fostered it in the past. It’s always been a great institution in the podcasting world, and I hope it never goes away.

    Instead of adding categories, which you mention would be a big cost, what about mirroring more closely the categories that iTunes has established?

    • They did mirror iTunes exactly at one time.. I will likely go back and re-align. We will still want to be inclusive and have a separate category for LGBTQ as it is not a specific iTunes category.

  11. Drop the payment fee. Get sponsors. That’s one of the things you do for a living. I have sponsors that are more then willing to contribute. Like all sponsors, they just want to be mentioned. Drop the $300.00 trophy. Do a nice Harvard style Diploma. Let the winner frame it to meet their own layout. A back drop is a back drop.

    As far as volunteers, give me the word, they will be beating down your door. You set the parameters, everyone abides by them. Majority Rules. The communities you post in, are more then willing to pitch in.

    Charge me $40.00 to pay for someone else, good luck.

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