The Oscars of Podcasting? First ‘Golden Mics’ Awards to Debut in 2021

The burgeoning podcast biz is looking for its own version of the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys.

On Friday, a group of podcast publishers and producers including Spotify, NPR, PRX, Sony Music Entertainment and Wondery announced the formation of the Podcast Academy, a membership-based organization dedicated to promoting the medium.

As part of its charter, the Podcast Academy plans to bestow annual awards of merit – dubbed the Golden Mics – for outstanding achievements in podcasting. The first Golden Mics ceremony is targeted for early 2021 in Los Angeles.

The companies didn’t say how much membership in the Podcast Academy would cost. A spokesman for the new organization said the board of governors has yet to determine fees but said their aim is to keep costs low and accessible for all industry participants.

Podcast Academy members will be eligible to vote in different categories, including one for general excellence, for Golden Mics contenders. The org said it would begin accepting nominations for the awards in the fall of 2020.

Some notable podcast publishers and distributors are not among the organization’s founding members. Those absent from the roster include iHeartRadio, the New York Times Co., Luminary, Entercom Communications and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One.

Popular on Variety

It’s worth noting that iHeartRadio, the second-biggest podcast network in the U.S. after NPR, has its own podcast awards program and held the second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards in January.

Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network, said his company was asked to participate in the formation of the Podcast Academy. While iHeartMedia will evaluate joining the org, Byrne said, “the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards was built as an industry show with industry participation and has already had two successful seasons, so we want to make sure this is something additive. We will of course listen to the pitch.”

Initial supporters of the Podcast Academy include Courtney Holt (Spotify), Anya Grundman (NPR), Kerri Hoffman (PRX), Donald Albright (Tenderfoot TV), Erik Diehn (Stitcher),  Hernan Lopez (Wondery), Christy Mirabal (Sony Music), Rekha Murthy (independent), Lauren Spohrer (Criminal), Alia Tavakolian (Spoke Media) and Oren Rosenbaum (UTA’s head of emerging platforms).

“Film, television, music – all other major forms of art have long-ago established a member-based academy with the goal of fostering and celebrating creative excellence. It’s time for Podcasts to establish their own,” Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez, one of the founding members of the organization, said in a statement.”

Kerri Hoffman, CEO of PRX, the non-profit that manages digital distribution of public media, added, “I welcome the opportunity to celebrate the excellence throughout podcasting — at the mic and the amazing talent behind the scenes.”

In addition to the awards program, the Podcast Academy expects to host monthly webinars on industry topics and networking events in L.A. and New York City, as well as publish whitepapers on best practices. It also expects to compile a searchable directory of members.

The org provides more info at thepodcastacademy.com. The Podcast Academy expects to start accepting membership applications later this spring.

More Digital

  • Disney Plus - Vizio

    Disney Plus Is Now on Vizio Smart TVs in Native App

    Disney Plus is available on Vizio’s SmartCast TV platform as a built-in app, making the Mouse House’s subscription-streaming service accessible directly to users of the manufacturer’s 13 million SmartCast-enabled televisions. Previously, Vizio users have been able to stream Disney Plus on SmartCast TVs through Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. But with the Disney Plus update, [...]

  • Best Picture Black Panther

    'Black Panther' Is Leaving Netflix to Come to Disney Plus

    Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther” is rolling off Netflix in the U.S. on March 3, 2020 — after which Wakanda fans will be able to stream the movie the next day on Disney Plus. The migration of “Black Panther,” one of the top-grossing superhero films to date, from Netflix to Disney Plus comes as Disney winds [...]

  • GoNoodle I Used a Comma

    Can GoNoodle Climb to the Kid-Media Big Leagues?

    If you’re a parent of grade-school kids in America, the odds are good your tykes know about GoNoodle’s upbeat music and exercise videos, designed to get them up on their feet and moving around. But GoNoodle doesn’t have the same brand recognition as, say, Disney or Nickelodeon — and KC Estenson wants to change that. [...]

  • Friends TV Series

    'Friends' DVD, Digital Sales Soar as It Takes a Break From Streaming

    They’re on a streaming break — but “Friends” will still be there for you. WarnerMedia’s home entertainment division is aiming to capitalize on the brief disappearance of the hit sitcom from streaming video on demand, as fans look for other ways to get their “Friends” fix. Repeats of the wildly popular laffer, which ran for [...]

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul Launches Self-Help Internet Class Teaching You How to 'Work the Runway of Life'

    Legendary drag performer and TV star RuPaul is leading a self-help online course to teach you how to find your identity — and live your best life. The 16-lesson course, offered through online-education platform MasterClass, costs $90 for unlimited access. In RuPaul’s class on “self-expression and authenticity,” he shares experiences from his journey to self-love [...]

  • Spotify and Resident Advisor Announce Ticketing

    Spotify Unveils Ticketing Partnership With Dance Music Platform Resident Advisor

    Spotify today announced a ticketing partnership with influential dance-music website Resident Advisor with the goal of “supporting music communities around the world by increasing attendance to thousands of local venues and parties.” The program will connect Spotify users to events by artists via localized event listings promoted within the application. The program is similar to [...]

  • charlie hunnam TIFF 2019 Kelly Gang

    Apple TV’s 'Shantaram' Halts Production Amid Search for New Showrunner, Weather Problems

    Production of Apple TV Plus’ Charlie Hunnam-starring “Shantaram” has been halted in Australia due to a writing backlog. Only two of 10 episodes shot so far, Variety has confirmed. Though all episodes had been outlined in the writers’ room, it is understood that showrunner and high-profile screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (“Top Gun: Maverick,” “American Hustle”) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content