The People’s Choice Podcast Awards will remain The People’s Choice!


Over the past 9 years the Podcast Awards has been a labor of love, with a lot of up’s and downs. The last couple of years have been great, as we have reached funding goals to pay for everything and cover basic expenses. The awards ceremony has really improved 100% because of the support of the New Media Expo team that have pulled out all the stops to book us a great master of ceremonies. Just think we would have had Dr. Drew this year if the weather would have cooperated.

The Podcast Awards process of how shows get nominated, selected, and voted on was my own invention for better or worse. Unlike most awards we are not pay to win, you have to work hard to earn a spot on the slate. We have a process that while not perfect is what I came up with to make sure that personal bias / favoritism / cronyism would not interlude.

There have been some vocal podcasters that want that process changed to a panel system, where as a panel selects the shows nominated, and the winners. My first question where will this panel meet are they willing to come to Hawaii and make this happen? The next question is will you get enough podcasters to volunteer 40-50 hours to develop and execute a process that would be fair and unbiased. My guess is that those shows that want change, would likely not want to participate in the panel, as they would then not be eligible to win. The second a panelist or a friend of the panelist was nominated heads would roll.

For those that don’t know the process we use now it’s pretty simple in a complicated way, and in my opinion as fair as any awards out there.

1. Listeners nominate their favorite shows over a 15 day period where they can only nominate once. In 2013 roughly 4400 or shows where nominated.

2. The Top 40-50 nominations in each category, is then sent to a panel of 48 podcast listeners who randomly can get as many as 4 separate categories to grade. This can typically take a volunteer listener as long as 16 hours to complete or about 4 hours per category. Each category is looked at by a minimum of 4 volunteer listeners each.

They are provided a standardized grading sheet with a grading guideline. If a show grades out perfect they will receive a minimum of 60 points plus a factored number for the total number of nominations. No show has ever scored a 100 ever! The grading sheet is made up of 40 total grading elements as listed below.

First they Qualify

  • Verify Podcast fits in Category Nominated
  • Verify that the Podcast has 10 Shows Produced
  • Verify the the Podcast has been creating shows on or before January 1st of Awards Year
  • Verify that the Podcast has a  RSS 2.0 feed.

Second they grade the show:

  • Number of Nominations 40%
  • Quality of Website Design 15% (25 Elements)
  • Quality of Sound 15% (5 Elements)
  • Quality of Podcast Delivery and Show Format 10% (5 Elements)
  • Relevance of Content 20% (5 Elements)

After we receive and process over 800 grade sheets, its a simple job to rack and stack em and come up with a slate of 220 shows.

3. The voting process is what makes most people mad, but here is the logic. We want shows to prove they can engage their audiences, thus they can vote daily. So while some would think the biggest shows would win, in about 80% of the cases they don’t.  Smaller shows often engage their audience better.  The winner is then selected by the show with the most votes.

At the same time this is going on, I have to raise about 6 to 7 thousand dollars to pay for the server, accounting firm, one technologies & the trophy’s which cost  $4719.60 this year.  Oh and do I mention I personally fly myself to Vegas, pay for my own hotel out of my own pocket, and probably put in a minimum of a 100 hours of work to make this happen every year..

So people wonder why I get pissy when they complain, and start saying the awards should be done by a panel of podcasters.. Yea right good luck on that one..  While I will be making some rule changes this year. I am not changing the process on how the awards work.  We should be grateful that we can find 48 listeners each year to do the grading, that is a monumental task they are the heroes here.

So while I will be happy to accept any idea and or suggestion. It better be backed with reason. Or better yet make me an offer I cannot refuse, and buy the podcast awards and you can deal with it all.

Todd Cochrane
Founder of the Podcast Awards

About Todd Cochrane

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.

12 thoughts on “The People’s Choice Podcast Awards will remain The People’s Choice!

  1. Todd, thanks for your efforts on this. While I do get a little tired of seeing the NPR shows win in our category, I am grateful for the exposure. I talked about the awards in our latest episode to explain to our listeners that the nomination is actually quite valuable even if we don’t win the big prize. I appreciate the explanation of your whole process — it’s much clearer to me now. We mention BluBrry in every episode and the fact that there are a lot of other good shows there, too.


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