The call for 2021 Impact entries & all 2021 Categories are now open. Ready to send in your work? Enter now.


The Impact award recognizes a single audio story that has significantly impacted an individual, group or community. We are looking for work that has directly created definable change. This can be an investigative report that influenced public debate or a radio story that changed the course of an individual’s life, or something else entirely.

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 bilingual (original language and English language) translated transcript.

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)
  • Impact Statement (for this category only): see below.

Impact Statement (3000 characters max)

When entering the Impact category, you'll need to include an advocacy statement for the demonstrated impact of your piece. What does that mean, exactly? The Impact statement should provide a robust argument for the ways in which your work had demonstrated impact on a community, a culture, a digital space — even on the life on a single person. Impact, broadly defined, could take the form of: adopted legislation, cultural awareness, substantial change in a community or a person’s life. In your Impact statement, consider responding to some or all of the following questions:

  • How is the impact of this work critical to the success of the work overall?
  • How did your process contribute to the overall impact of the work?
  • What role does community play in your notion of impact, and how do you define community?
  • How was the impact of your work measured, and who measured the impact of your piece?

Note: This statement will be used in the judging room as a part of awarding a winner in the category.

Impact FAQ

What should I write for my Impact Statement?

This Competition seeks compelling storytelling, and boundary-pushing work, but the strength of your Impact Statement is a key part of how the piece is evaluated, so tangible examples are helpful. Your Impact statement should take into consideration the many ways, in 2021, an audio piece can have an impact on a life, a community, a culture, even a digital space. Please see the sample statement & more information, above.

Do you have an example of an Impact Statement?

Here is a sample impact statement from the 2016 winner, Not Safe to Drink.

Not Safe to Drink is a documentary that asked the question: How did the contamination of an entire US city’s water happen, in 2015? Michigan Radio was the first news outlet to cover the Flint Water Crisis in depth, and this documentary was instrumental in getting national coverage of the issue. Days after it aired and was published on our website, large portions of it were picked up by the Rachel Maddow Show and it became a national story. And while the Governor’s administration and the Department of Environmental Quality went on a public relations blitz to blame this disaster on “local officials,” Not Safe To Drink linked the actions that caused this disaster back to state officials.

Since the documentary aired, the Governor apologized to the people of Michigan in his State of the State address, declared a state of emergency and activated National Guard troops to assist in distributing free water to the residents of Flint. The state also switched Flint back to its original water source.

The Region 5 Director of the EPA, the director of the MDEQ, the spokesperson for the MDEQ and the press secretary for the Governor all resigned. Criminal charges have been filed against two state employees and one city employee for misleading officials and tampering with data. The state attorney general filed civil suits against the two companies that assisted Flint with the water switch. The Department of Justice and FBI continue to investigate the decisions that created this disaster. The EPA has also tightened its lead and copper testing rules for municipalities.

The water in Flint, still, however, is not safe to drink.

What is the prize for winning an Impact award?

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