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Public Funding Opens Up New Areas of Creativity

The future of public funding and how important it is to podcasting 

Public funding for podcasts

Alexandra Hearth, Music Artist, DJ, Podcaster, Hot Girls Podcast, UK, Sam Bailey, MD, Audio Content Fund, UK, Bernard Achampong, Founder & Director, Unedited Podcast, UK Moderator:  Matt Hill, Rethink Audio

Sam gave a summary of the Audio Content Fund, why they funded the projects they did and the criteria each project had to hit.  He asked the room how many had received funding for a project from funders such as the BBC, ACF, Arts COUncil and National Lottery and introduced Bernard Achampong from We are Unedited who received 3 grants for the Arts Council Funding (ACF) and Lex Hearth who received Arts Council funding.

Bernard had produced for the BBC and Audible and wanted to branch out on his own, so created a slate of 23 original ideas and didn’t get a single commission.  The ACF funded a project about Black British footballers who wanted to play for their country and they were able to tell the story the way they wanted to.  This was the second We Are Unedited project funded and it wasn’t for the ACF, he believes We are Unedited wouldn’t exist.

Lex is a DJ and has a digital magazine that looks at the gender imbalance in C suite, and wanted to create a podcast that tackled gender imbalance in music approached the Arts Council,.  Created 2 seasons telling the stories of women in the music industry, and then applied to AC funding for the following 3 seasons.  Each season is 20 episodes.

Did funding change your approach?  Lex said that it's a huge relief as funding can pay for support from editors and producer, and it can be used to invest in press and marketing.  It became a much more professional set up, however the main set up of the podcast was already there and didn’t change.  There was no podcast category when applying you only needed demonstrate value. 

Bernard said he felt public funding opens up new areas of creativity and it's possible to start to find new, creative ways of creating and sharing content. 

Sam Bailey, from ACF noted that you often de-risk projects, as long as the criteria was reached, Bernard agreed with this. But this then throws up the question is there is less requirement for a hit if it is public funding? But what is the Art Council definition of success, how do you measure it.  

The speakers discussed how funding form ACF has now come to an end but why should public funding continue. They spoke about raising awareness of Arts Council funding and needing to know where to actually look for funding, there needs to be clearer information on this to allow new talent into the spacer. 

Bernard finished by saying that access, new access, that there needs to be a clearer route for different talent, podcasting is a new way of telling stories and audio is a good way of locking in IP cheaply and getting partnerships off the back of it. There is no way otherwise to authentically talk to Gen Z and there is no space to experiment, podcasting is the place to do it.




Written by
Rosie Smith

Tue 4th October 2022