Impact

The Impact award recognizes an audio story that has made a significant impact on an individual or community, broadly defined.

We are looking for work in the audio field that has directly resulted in a change to a place, community, law, or culture; this can be an investigative report that influenced public debate, a radio story that changed the course of an individual’s life, or a piece of audio that affected the awareness or understanding of a community in a new way. To this end, we require each entry to this category be accompanied by a supporting statement outlining the precise details of the impact, and how it was measured. This award is judged by both the craft of the audio entry, and the strength of the written argument of its impact.

Excited to enter the Impact category? Get prepared by reviewing the information below.

About this Category

Background

The Impact category (originally called Radio Impact) is one of the original categories of the Third Coast/RHDF Competition. There is one Award-Winner in this category, honored with a cash prize, unique physical award, and recognition around the world, including a public showcase of comments by the judges. We now offer a list of Third Coast Finalists in this category, announced alongside Award-Winners. Learn more about all of our Competition Offerings, and share your input to help us expand them in the future.

Eligibility Information
  • Length: Standalone pieces between 0-75 minutes, as well as serialized stories containing multiple episodes that, in combination, add up to between 75 minutes-15 hours. Pieces eligible for Audio Unbound may also be considered in this category.
  • Publication: Must have been published between September 1, 2020 - March 10, 2023.
  • 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 Rates

For the cheapest rates, enter before our Early Deadline of January 13. Check out our complete breakdown of sliding scale rates across all categories. (Don’t worry, the entry form will also guide you through the process of determining your rate!)

Note: As a Pilot Offering this year, we're honoring our Early Deadline rates through the Final Deadline for all non-English Language entries in any category.

Rates are shaped by our Collective Pricing philosophy, which distributes cost according to entrants’ access to resources.

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 of 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:

  • What specific impact was made by your piece, and to whom?
  • 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?

The 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 2022, an audio piece can have an impact on a life, a community, a culture, even a digital space. Please see the sample statement and find 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.


Missing something? Check the General FAQ or read through the Competition Entry Guide.

Past Recipients

2020 Dat Rona

Dat Rona, a Black colloquialism to describe the coronavirus, was produced in 3 days to disseminate ‘Rona’ knowledge after harmful media stories began to circulate that Black people were immune to the virus.

2019 Change Intolerance

In 2014, the province of British Columbia switched nearly 15,000 methadone patients to a new formulation of the drug called Methadose.

2018 Hidden Problems of Silicon Valley

Since its founding 15 years ago, Tesla has become one of the most valuable car companies in the country. Tesla is worth tens of billions of dollars, and its all-electric cars have achieved cult status among enthusiasts.