WNYC Search Ends: Two Podcasts Win Podcast Accelerator Competition

Sneha Antony
ONA Newsroom

In a surprise turn of events, the judges of WNYC’s Podcast Accelerator competition picked two winners Friday evening for its podcast search competition. Kathy Tu and Tobin Low’s podcast “Gaydio” and Robin Amer’s podcast “The City” won WNYC’s search for the next great podcast.

The winners beat out three other finalists to win top honors.

Amer, a reporter with an investigative reporting background, said she hopes to find the stories that drive a city.

“We will dive deep into one American metropolis every season. We will unfold one story that unfolds chapter by chapter,” Amer said of her podcast.

Low, when describing Gaydio, joked, “it is exactly what it sounds like.”

Low and Tu said they want to explore LGBTQ stories in their show.

“While a lot of these stories have to do with gender and sexuality, when you get down to it, these stories are about very basic things: wanting to find love, facing rejection, and wanting to find acceptance,” Low said. “We think these stories deserve space and specificity.”

Kathy Tu and Tobin Low's podcast "Gaydio" was one of the winners of WNYC's Podcast Accelerator competition. Robin Amer's "The City" also won.Kathy Tu and Tobin Low’s podcast “Gaydio” was one of the winners of WNYC’s Podcast Accelerator competition. Robin Amer’s “The City” also won.IMG_2297

The Podcast Accelerator session also included a panel discussion with personalities in the podcast industry. Actress and comedian Lauren Lapkus; Al Letson, host of “Reveal” and “Errthang;” Sean Raweswaram, host of “Sideshow” and Manoush Zomordi, host of “Note to Self” spoke to the audience about their own starts in the industry.

Anna Sale, host and managing editor of “Death, Sex and Money,” hosted the WNYC Podcast Accelerator competition and moderated the panel.

Sean Rameshwara reacts to listening to his early work.
Sean Raweswaram (far right) reacts after listening to his early work. Al Letson, Mannish Zomordi, Lauren Lapkus and Anna Sale (right to left) gave advice to aspiring radio podcast creators.

Raweswaram slid down his chair and covered his face in embarrassment as a laughing crowd listened to his early work. His advice to podcast makers is to be natural.

Letson advised newbie podcast makers to be authentic.

“I think the best storytelling comes from a place of vulnerability. I think everyone connects to that really sincerely,” Letson said.

The winners of the Podcast Accelerator competition will have the opportunity to produce a pilot podcast season with WNYC, a public radio station in New York City.