Best Documentary (BD)

The call for 2021 Best Documentary (BD) entries & all 2021 Categories are now open. Ready to send in your work? Enter now.


Best Documentary (BD) is one of the founding categories of the TC/RHDF Competition. This category awards narrative audio stories grounded in documentary and non-fiction storytelling. These often include, but are not limited to: longform journalism, investigation, documentary, personal essay, and audio portrait. We welcome work that blur styles, including the lines between “fact” and “fiction.” We’re interested in stories that innovate, inform, and inspire; we’re interested in stories that haven’t been told before — or are now being told in a new way.

There are three awards in this category: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Eligibility Information

  • Length: 10-75 minutes
  • Publication: Must have been published between February 1, 2017 and May 18th, 2021.
  • Format: One single audio file. All advertisements or sponsorship segments must be removed from the audio file — this includes previews for upcoming episodes of this or other programs.
  • Language: There are no language requirements for this category. If you are entering work in a non-English language, you must provide a translated transcript.

Entry Fees

Entry Checklist

  • Audio file (mp3 preferred, WAV also accepted) with all ads removed
  • Total length of the entry (Minutes:Seconds)
  • Full credits (host, producer, sound designer, editor, etc.)
  • Description/summary of your entry
  • Transcript (optional for English-language series, required for non-English)

Best Documentary FAQ

How do I enter this category?

If your entry meets the eligibility requirements above, you may select “Best Documentary” on the entry form. You will automatically be considered for all three Best Documentary awards.

Can I enter other categories, too?

Yes. If you are entering the Best Documentary category, your entry is automatically considered for Directors’ Choice. It may also be eligible for Best New Artist, Impact, Best Documentary in a Non-English Language, or Best News Feature. It is not eligible for Best Documentary: Short or Best Serialized Story.

Can I enter a piece that includes fictional elements?

The Third Coast/RHDF Competition is aimed to award the best works in non-fiction, and featuring documentary technique. (We know—a person could write a thesis on what that means.) If your non-fiction work contains elements of fiction, or plays along the fuzzy line of fact/fiction, we do encourage you to enter it. (Past winners have included several works that played with the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction, listen here to some examples from 2019!)

What are the prizes for winning a Best Documentary award?

See the complete list of Prizes + Why Enter? including other reasons why you might consider entering our Competition.