Best New Artist (BNA)

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


The Best New Artist (BNA) award is presented to an outstanding emerging producer (or producers) who entered the audio field between February 2019 and May 2021.

Eligibility Information

  • Length: No length restrictions.
  • Publication: Must have been published between February 1, 2019 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.
  • Production: To qualify for this category, the entrant(s) must have recorded, written, and mixed the entry on their own; Individuals or teams may have worked with an editor or editors, as long as they contributed to the entry in an advisory capacity only. Co-productions between groups of Best New Artists, per the definition above, who are collaborating in recording, mixing, and editing are permitted. Co-productions involving a new producer but made up of more seasoned producers who are also recording, mixing, and editing are not eligible in this category.

Entry Fees

Entry Checklist

  • Audio file (mp3 preferred, WAV also accepted) with all ads removed
  • Total length of the entry (Minutes:Seconds)
  • Link to a published version of the story
  • Full credits (host, producer, sound designer, editor, etc.)
  • Description/summary of your entry
  • Transcript (optional for English-language entries, required for non-English)
  • New Artist Statement (for this category only): see below.

Best New Artist Statement

When entering the Best New Artist category, you'll need to include a brief, 1-2 paragraph narrative describing your (and/or your team’s) experience(s) thus far working with audio. Your answer to this section will help Third Coast learn about the maker(s) of this entry, and what brought them to audio. Judges will not consider this statement in their decision around the Best New Artist winner.

Note: in order to be eligible for the Best New Artist award, every member of your team must have produced your first audio story within the last 2 years. We leave it up to you to self-identify as such, with the knowledge that you may have used audio or done production as part of work in other disciplines and mediums.

Best New Artist FAQ

How do I enter this category?

If your entry meets the eligibility requirements above, you may select “Best New Artist” on the entry form.

Can I enter other categories too?

Yes. If you are entering the Best New Artist category, your entry is automatically considered for Directors’ Choice. It may also be eligible for any of the other categories, if it also meets the requirements of those categories.

Do I count as a New Artist?

We measure whether or not someone qualifies as a “Best New Artist” based on whether they published their first narrative audio story before or after February 1, 2019. If you published your first audio story before February 1, 2019, you do NOT qualify as a Best New Artist entrant. If you published your first audio story after February 1, 2019 , you DO qualify as a Best New Artist entrant. Answering the Best New Artist statement also helps us understand your journey into audio! We may ask you a few follow-ups, too.

What should I write for my New Artist Statement?

This is really to help Third Coast get to know you. We love meeting new makers, and want to hear about your audio path so far! You can tell us: what got you into audio in the first place; how did you make your first audio story; what have you been making since then; where did you learn?

Do you have a sample Best New Artist Statement?

Yes, here is a sample statement:

I fell in love with audio storytelling as a young camp counselor in Michigan, where a nightly ritual was to come around the fire and narrate our day’s adventures (the younger kids would add sound effects as a sort of interactive game, which added to the drama!). As I got older, my ears were always glued to podcasts and audiobooks. I’ve been a substitute teacher and gig economy worker, based in St. Louis for 8 years, with a bunch of jobs that keep me moving around the city so I have lots of time to listen.

Just over a year ago, I was talking to a friend who works in radio and she encouraged me to check out the Third Coast Pocket Conference and I taught myself how to record and edit audio, and finally worked up the courage to make something of my own. Since then, I’ve made 5 other short audio pieces just for myself and I definitely hope to keep learning and improving! My hope is to maybe even someday pitch a show a story that I’ve made (though I’m nervous about it!). I’m especially passionate about young people and education and last month I started working with another friend on a limited series that will be about COVID-19’s impact on Missouri elementary schools.

What is the prize for winning a Best New Artist award?

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