2022-23 Offerings


What are Competition Offerings?

Every competition offers something to those who enter. Or, perhaps, every competition offers the potential for something, and typically, that turns out to be a handful of honors or prizes awarded to a very small number of the many entries. But to us, that’s just not enough.

Over the next few years, we want to increase our Competition Offerings to include many more resources, opportunities, and honors for all entrants. At Third Coast, we are insistent that the notion of competition “winners” and “losers” is a false dichotomy; one that doesn’t benefit the medium of audio, or its laborers, and that overlooks the expansive amount of exceptional work being made right now. Our Offerings are meant to expand the possibilities for honoring standout works, as well as to benefit all entrants, audio makers, and listeners through connection and collaboration.


We want your input!

Take our Pilot Offerings: Community Input Survey.


Annual Offerings

Okay, let’s get specific about this: Click below to see our breakdown of 2022-23 Annual Offerings — these are all of the honors, prizes, resources, and opportunities that we’ve committed to bringing entrants each year:

Nine Competition Categories

We once again offer the opportunity to enter any of the nine categories, which we encourage you to explore! Over the years, we’ve added a number of new categories – most recently, Audio Unbound and Best Documentary: Short – and we continue to expand eligibility across categories.
These categories, at first glance, may not perfectly encapsulate the range of narrative audio being made right now — but we think about these categories expansively, and encourage you to do so as well. Note that all entries are eligible for honors in the Directors’ Choice category, which we’ve dedicated to work that breaks the rules of our own Competition. We are excited to continue expanding and reimagining these categories in the years to come!

Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award-Winners

The Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards are the historic backbone of our annual Call for Entries, honoring 11 winning stories across all nine entry categories. Every year, these award-winners are widely known as some of the most groundbreaking and influential works of the year. They receive a slew of rewards and public recognition, thanks to the generous support of our founding supporter, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, including a cash prize, industry-wide recognition through public showcases and live at the 2023 Awards Celebration, as well as a unique physical award in the form of a vintage "radio" that plays the award-winning work. To explore past winners, explore our 2021 Showcase, or explore the complete audio archive of winners since 2000: a living body archive of work that has pushed the medium forward for over 20 years. For more on our comprehensive judging, and our values as listeners, read more about our process.

Third Coast Finalists

In addition to Award-Winners, Third Coast publicly recognizes Finalists in every category. We first introduced Finalists in 2021 to acknowledge the truly astonishing amount of urgent work being made in audio. We’re excited to continue expanding how we honor Finalists (in terms of the number, and how we recognize the work) in the coming years.

Awards Celebration

Each year, we bring together an international audience of peers, fans, and audio appreciators to celebrate the year’s winners of the Competition. In the summer of 2023, we’ll host a virtual convening for the international audio community to celebrate this competition cycle’s honorees, as well as one another. The event features acceptance speeches and excerpts of all Award-winners.

Competition Showcase

Since 2020, we’ve been experimenting with virtual showcases that engage listeners in new ways, inspired by art galleries, immersive digital experiences, and the need for more depth and wonderment in celebrations of narrative audio. This year’s showcase will feature winners, finalists & standout works from the 2022-23 Call for Entries. Check out last year's Competition Showcase, inspired by the need to deepen critical discourse around narrative audio, and a response to the classic end-of-year-Best-Of list.

As of 2021, we also use this as a platform to feature comments from the Judges for all Award-Winners, a peek into the behind-the-scenes of the judging process. We’re excited to continue innovating on showcase formats!

Collective Pricing

A fundamental conviction we hold at Third Coast is that everyone should not only have the opportunity to access our programming, but should feel actively invited into it. Collective Pricing is what we call our philosophy for making all Third Coast programming as financially accessible as possible.

For this year’s Call for Entries, that means a breakdown of entry rates that distribute cost according to entrants’ access to resources, and ability to contribute.

Peer Judging

As a Third Coast staff, we listen to every single entry that comes through the competition. For the final round of judging, Third Coast works with peers from the audio industry as judges in a series of facilitated, in-depth conversations about the work and its context within today’s audio field Over the years, we’ve built out our judging program to be even more immersive and collaborative for Judges.

We see this stage of our Competition cycle as a rich program unto itself: as a practice in deep listening and collaborative decision-making, s a unique professional development experience for audio makers not through producing stories, but through listening to them, and as a way to honor the rich landscape of work being made in audio

In recognition of the power and potential of this program, we pay our judges an honorarium commensurate with their time spent listening, reflecting, and collaborating in judging conversations. We see this program, and the process of thinking and conversing deeply around audio, as essential to the field.

Office Hours

In 2021, we introduced virtual Office Hours to offer more support to our entrants. These 1-1 meetings give entrants the opportunity to meet with Third Coast staff individually in order to answer questions about their entries or the entry process.

As always, entrants can receive this same kind of dedicated support over email. Please get in touch for any and all questions by emailing us at competition[at]thirdcoastfestival.org.

Pilot Offerings

We’re thrilled to announce the following…

Feedback Program for BNA Finalists

We are committed to offering more opportunities for constructive and useful feedback through our annual Call for Entries & Competition Cycle. To kick off this initiative, we’re offering dedicated feedback to all Best New Artist entrants selected as Third Coast Finalists. To pilot this project, we decided to focus on standout entrants in the BNA category, with the hope that this can provide some additional inspiration for emerging makers! Anyone entering the category can opt-in for the chance to receive feedback by following instructions on the Entry Form.

Our Lowest Rates for Non-English Language Entries

We recognize that some makers may encounter specific obstacles to accessing the Call for Entries, and this is especially true for those entering work made in a language other than English... We’ve heard your feedback on how costly and time-consuming it can be to produce English-language translations for work published in other languages, so this year we’re keeping rates lower for all non-English language entries throughout the Competition!

We’ll be honoring the Early Deadline Rate for all works not made in English through the Final Deadline of March 10. In other words, if you are entering work that requires a translated transcript, you’ll have access to our lowest entry rates throughout the entire Call for Entries. We hope this provides more time to provide accurate translated transcripts, and reduces the burden on entrants’ financial resources.

Note: If the Call for Entries is still cost prohibitive for you, please reach out to us and we will offer you a rate that works for you. You can reach us at competition@thirdcoastfestival.org

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The Future of Offerings

We will be rolling out additional offerings in the months to come, before the Call for Entries closes! For now, we invite you to share your input to help us finalize the other pilot programs & experimental offerings by taking this Pilot Offerings: Community Input Survey. Dive into our vision for the future of the Competition to learn more about the potential and power of this program.