• Third Coast Festival
  • Navy Pier
  • 848 East Grand
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • 60611-3509

2014 Competition Judges

Daniel Alarcón is the author of War by Candlelight, Lost City Radio (which made the year-end “best of” lists of the San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post), and most recently, At Night We Walk in Circles. Alarcón is a co-founder and Executive Producer of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish-language storytelling podcast, and his writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, n+1, and Harper’s. He was one of The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” and one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists." (Final round)

Michelle Boyd
is an award-winning writer, ethnographer, and audio producer. She is an Associate Professor in the African American Studies department at the University of Illinois, Chicago, working to harness the power of sound and story to communicate scholarly ideas. Boyd's research and creative work examine how racial identities and inequalities are maintained, especially through conflicts over urban space, and has appeared most recently in Public, Lux/Lumina, and RadioDoc Review. (Radio Impact) 

Mira Burt-Wintonick
produces the award-winning WireTap on CBC Radio. In 2006, she won the Best New Artist Award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival for her audio documentary, Muriel's Message. In 2009, Burt-Wintonick co-directed the feature documentary PilgrIMAGE with her dad, Peter Wintonick. (First round)

Ben Calhoun
is a producer and reporter at This American Life. He joined the show in 2010. Before that, he contributed to most every major public radio news entity in the country. Calhoun worked in WBEZ, Chicago's newsroom for eight years, where he reported on politics and produced documentaries. His work has been honored with a Peabody Award, two Third Coast Awards, and an Edward R. Murrow Award, among others. (Final round)

Zoe Chace
is a reporter with NPR’s Planet Money team. She started as an intern with NPR in 2008, and has since worked as news producer, arts producer and business reporter. (First round)

Nate DiMeo
is the creator of the Memory Palace, a podcast and public radio segment. He's been around public radio for, like, ever, having done work for NPR, Marketplace, WBUR, and the station in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. DiMeo has written for Parks and Recreation and is currently a writer for a forthcoming ABC miniseries about the space program. He was a finalist for the Thurber Prize in American Humor. (Final round)

Cathy FitzGerald is a writer and radio producer. She made her first documentary – The Magic Carpet Flight Manual – in 2010, and has since won Prix Marulic, Third Coast Festival and Radio Academy Production awards for programmes on topics including angry Vietnamese ghosts, blue sky, and a museum of broken hearts. She has a DPhil in the work of Charles Dickens. (Final round)

Karen Frillman 
Karen Frillmann is WNYC’s Enterprise Editor. As a reporter, producer and editor for the past 35 years she’s also contributed to NPR, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, the BBC and Simon and Schuster Audio. Awards for her reporting, producing and editing include the Armstrong Award, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award a Grammy nomination and recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, The Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Association, The AP and Third Coast. (Final round).

Ira Glass
started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR's headquarters in DC. Over the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He spent a year in a high school for NPR, and a year in an elementary school, filing stories for All Things Considered. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in 1995. (The Little Mermaid) 

Delaney Hall is a radio producer, multimedia reporter, and recently dipped her toe into interactive documentary design. She currently works with NPR’s State of the Re:Union. Before that, she co-created the Austin Music Map, worked with the Third Coast International Audio Festival, and taught audio production to high school and college students. (First round)

Shannon Heffernan is a reporter at WBEZ, where her work has earned awards from the Chicago Headline Club and Illinois Associated Press, as well as a regional Murrow Award. She is co-founder of Life of the Law and in 2009 received a Soros Media Fellowship to create multimedia documentaries about the impact of incarceration on families. Heffernan also writes short fiction and has been published in Annalemma and the Indiana Review. (Radio Impact)

Kirsti Melville presents 360documentaries for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and is based in the most remote city in the world - Perth. Her documentaries have been broadcast internationally and won many awards. Her love for radio is driven by an insatiable need to hear and share people’s stories, a strong sense of social justice and a desire to pick apart the complexities of human relationships. (First round)

Viki Merrick 
is an independent radio producer and editor. She began as a radio stringer for ABC News in Rome, Italy, while working as a location/production manager for film documentaries. Since the founding of Atlantic Public Media in 1995, she has been producing features for national broadcast and for the Cape and Island public radio stations. Merrick is the Senior Editor for Transom, and a collaborator on four Peabody Award-winning series, Lost & Found Sound andThe Sonic Memorial Project, Transom.org and The Moth Radio Hour. (Final round)

Lulu Miller was lucky enough in timing and fate to get her start in radio as a producer on Radiolab. These days, she is a reporter on the NPR Science Desk, where she is creating a new series on Human Behavior with NPR's Alix Spiegel, due out in fall 2014. (First round)

Liam O'Brien
is the Series Producer of RTE Ireland's Documentary on One.  He has won numerous national and international awards in both radio documentaries and radio drama, and is the first Irish representative to tutor at the European Broadcasting Union Masterschool. (First round)

Ben Shapiro
 has been producing radio, television and film documentaries for over 20 years. His work has aired on many NPR programs, PBS, CBC, HBO, The Sundance Channel, National Geographic TV, and internationally at major festivals, theaters and museums. His productions and collaborations have received two Peabody’s, the Columbia duPont, multiple Emmys, Foreign Press, and the AFI Documentary Award. (Final round)

A.C. Valdez is a senior producer for LatinoUSA. He got there by way of shows including America Abroad, The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU-FM’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and Tell Me More. He’s worked with reporters from around the world, coordinated performances with groups like The Noisettes, and done in-depth reporting on the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. (First round)

Soren Wheeler
is the Senior Producer at the Peabody Award-winning show Radiolab, where he he plays a variety of roles, including producer, editor, and reporter. He also manages the production staff, and oversees the development of show content. Wheeler has won awards for production on radio pieces about statistics and randomness, the periodic table, and the story of a woman waking up from a coma. (Radio Impact)

is a national-award-winning public media news organization in Miami, operating in partnership with the Miami Herald. It focuses on telling the stories of South Florida’s varied and complex communities, from the Palm Beaches to Key West, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. Last year WLRN took home the Third Coast Bronze Award for its documentary, Remembering Andrew. WLRN also won two national Murrows in 2013. Editorial Director Alicia Zuckerman, News Director Terence Shepherd and reporter/producer Kenny Malone will represent WLRN. (Best News Feature)



Call for Entries announced: May 6

Early deadline: 
June 12, noon PDT

Late deadline: 
July 10, noon PDT

Winners notified:
late August

Winners announced:
October 8

Awards Ceremony:
November 9 (Chicago, IL)

The 2014 Awards Ceremony is sponsored by:

Each winner will receive a license for Hindenburg Journalist Pro editing software.


Entry Guidelines



Email us or call 312-948-4682.


Looking for inspiration? Listen to some winners of past TC/RHDF Competitions.

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