Visual breakdown of the 2014 Third Coast competition winners


Congratulations to all the winners of the Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation competition. There's some great audio stories there (some I remember listening too) others I haven't heard yet which I'm looking forward to devouring over the next few weeks.

There are are some interesting things I think we can learn from listening to the winning stories and also by looking at the data behind the winners.  I hope you find this helpful or at least interesting. 

When I first quickly scanned the winners of the 2014 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation competition my first thought was, "Gee where are all the women?!"

BUT my eyes deceived me!

On breaking down the data, you can see that he percentage of female to male producers is almost equal (male 53%, female 47%). Isn't that great! 

Gender Breakdowns Third Coast Festival Competition

If only there was a more equal gender representation among hosts of radio shows and podcasts (but, let's save that thought for another day). 

As if we didn't already know that America is the place to be if you want to make amazing radio stories, I feel like this map rubs it in a little bit especially if you aren't, like me, from the US.

I still haven't been able to make an audio story over 10 minutes. Does anyone else have this problem? Perhaps I need to use music more, string out the story a bit more to get it to the sweet spot of 10-20 minutes in length. But, I must say, I'm happy that half of the winners were 10-20 minutes in length, it seems like an achievable length to aim for to me.  

Sexuality, memory, the body and the mind are the category subjects that were the most popular. Each subject was featured in 3 pieces. Perhaps we should all make our next audio stories based on one of these themes, is anyone else up for the challenge?


I love that Emily Hsiao and Annie McEwen made the list as independent producers. I loved reading about the development of Annie's story on PRX's Second Ear so it's great to see her get a win for all her hard work. And Emily is another successful graduate of the Transom Story workshop, they sure know how to breed winning-radio-makers there, don't they?!

I also find it reassuring to see that 3 of the winners were made by producers working alone which is how I like to make my audio. 

Lastly, I also made note of how the first 10 seconds sounded for each piece (because the first 10 seconds are so important!)

  • 100 Songs in a Day: narration
  • Arthur's Story : field sound, subject, interviewer
  • Burroughs at 100: archival tape
  • Chicago to Mexico by Bus: field sound, narration
  • Fault Line: field sound, narration, subject
  • Help Wanted: narration
  • Here I Am and Here Be Danger: field sound, SX, narration
  • The Hospital Always Wins: host
  • Lance and Nina An Unlikely Story of Recovery and Redemption: field sound, narration
  • Leaving a Mark: field sound
  • The Real Tom Banks: actor (could be a computer not an actor)
  • Teenage Diaries Revisited - Melissa's Story: field sound, subject

I don't think the first 10 seconds of any of the stories surprised me which was disappointing. But perhaps I'll be more surprised when I hear the entirety of the pieces.

Some notes on this data. You can look at how I got to these figures by downloading this excel spreadsheet (please correct me if I got anything wrong). 

As far as "team members" go, I didn't include the subjects or actors as part of the team when I calculated the gender breakdowns.

I made the infographics using excel and adobe illustrator (for my first attempt I used which was easy to use but them all the data got messed up and was showing up in different charts- nightmare, avoid it!)