The Google Podcasts creator program is back with an exciting opportunity for mid-career podcasters to take their podcast to the next level.
“This rigorous program fosters collaboration among peer creators resulting in vibrant global cohorts that learn to challenge each other, give constructive feedback, and grow together.” – (GPcp -2022)
The Google Podcasts creator program launched in 2018 with the goal of providing independent audio makers with the necessary resources, skills and creative communities. This year they are specifically looking for podcasters who have podcasts in place that are ready to be elevated from a passion project to a sustainable business venture.
From June to December, the chosen participants will be involved in a hands-on training period that includes mentoring, networking, skill development, collaboration and much much more. As a podcaster who has been putting in the work on a more creative level but hasn’t known how to tap into the business side of podcasting, this is a fantastic opportunity because this is more than just being monetized or being paid for ads. This program can help you build a business with connections and communities that will help you thrive in the future.
To apply for this amazing opportunity, you can visit the website – applications close on 24 April.
We recently had the privilege of being able to sit down and speak to the Project Manager of the Google Podcasts creator program, Alexandra Blair. We asked her a few questions to gain deeper insights into the program and the benefits of this initiative for African Podcasters.
- The Podcast Sessions (TPS): Why was the program launched and how has the vision changed or evolved since then?
Alexandra Blair (AB): The program was initially developed more than three years ago to help early stage podcasters address the pain points of conceptual development. At that time, we were seeing a lot of new podcasts pop up and not a ton of critical thought applied to whether these podcasts were meaningful additions to the directories–let alone how they might be serving the needs of their audiences. After working with more than 60 independent creators over the past three years, a lot has changed in the industry. We have more podcasts in the world than ever before and audio ecosystems are emerging across the world. There is a distinctive support gap in the audio space for creators who have been working on podcasts for a few years–those creators who are experiencing some success and some traction, but are having trouble turning that into a full-blown sustainable business. That’s who we are trying to support with this round of the Google Podcasts creator program.
- TPS: Why would you encourage people to apply?
AB: The application is free to submit and we are excited to train more African podcasters. This program is going to be an incredible opportunity for all mid-career podcasters who need help leveling up their podcast from side hustle to full-time, multifaceted business.
- TPS: How many African podcasters have been involved in the program since 2018? And which African podcasters have been involved?
AB: Throughout our training we’ve had several podcasters from and speaking to the African continent. Just under 10% of our podcasts have been African, including: Letters to Boys, Leading Ladies Zambia, and AfroQueer. We also have several mentors and guest speakers who speak specifically to podcasting concerns and the robust African podcast ecosystem!
- TPS: Will podcasters still have rights to their intellectual property?
AB: Yes, absolutely. Neither PRX nor Google assume rights to intellectual property at any stage in the process. We feel very passionately about that.
- TPS: Does the program prioritize marginalized communities like people living with disabilities, the LGBTQI community, etc.?
AB: PRX is deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in all that we do. We prioritize working with teams that support these goals through representation, community engagement, and/or content. Our cohorts, guest speakers, and the PRX Training Team itself represent(s) a range of geographies, backgrounds, views, voices, and styles. We’ve included space in the application for teams to self-identify and share how these goals may underscore their work, too.
- TPS: Is the stipend offered monthly and is it specifically for costs that may incur like new equipment?
AB: The $15,000 stipend is typically staggered in multiple payments throughout the training (usually of two or three occurrences), but we have worked with teams to navigate the intricacies of international banking systems and avoid unnecessary fees. PRX does not track how teams use the stipend.
- TPS: Will the independent podcasters still be able to run their new businesses independently and what is the expected outcome at the end of the program?
AB: Our training specifically supports self-determined goals set by teams at the beginning of the cohort–whether that is to sell their product to a large studio or to remain independent forever! The curriculum will reflect the pain points and goals of the participants who are chosen.
We hope teams graduate the program with an airtight concept, a strong business plan prioritizing long-term sustainability, and a strategy for authentic audience growth. Most of our alumni say the training has changed their life for the better and transformed their own relationship with their work. We love to hear that.
- TPS: Who are some of the big names / mentors that people will get mentorship from?
AB: It would be easy for me to impress your readers with a list of impressive audio-industry folks (and a list of some of our mentors is available here, on our website), but I am proud to say that our mentors and guest speakers change with each cohort to reflect the specific goals and needs of each individual team. Big names are fun–and we’ve got some of those–but it’s more meaningful to us when we can pair a team with a mentor who really keenly understands their challenges and can make connections and give feedback that supports a team’s goals for their project.
- TPS: What other initiatives, workshops etc. will you be running later this year? / What can people look forward to from you?
AB: We will be exhibiting at The Podcast Show in London this May; come say hi! We always have projects in the works! We recently wrapped up the Africa Podcast Lab which focused exclusively on health podcasts on the African continent. We are currently running several accelerators and consultancies which you can read about on our website, here.
- TPS: How do you hope to support more African podcasters in the future?
AB: We will continue to offer open and free resources to podcasters around the world through the Google Podcasts creator program and other initiatives. We also have an exciting regional partnership on the continent in the works that is under wraps for now. So, stay tuned!