From India to Santa Monica, see the winners of the 2021 KCRW radio race


On November 13, hundreds of producers from around the world – from India to Ireland, London to Las Vegas, Sydney to Santa Monica – pitched their recorders to create an overnight audio story for the 9th KCRW’s annual 24 hour radio race. In the end, we received 101 nominations and narrowed those down to ten finalists and three specialty awards.

Our expert team of professional radio judges ranked their favorites and the results are in. The top winners featured here were determined based on their creativity, storytelling, technical skills, and integration of this year’s theme: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Additional points were awarded for including the 5 hour bonus challenge of adding the sound of knocking on a door.

This year’s judges included:

Scott Newman – Founder and Creative Director, work x work & On-Air Fest

Julie shapiro – Executive producer, Radiotopia / PRX

Nick quah – Podcast review, Vulture / New York Magazine

Sean rameswaram – Host of “Today, explained” / VOX

Sam sanders – Host of “It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders” / NPR

The sisters of the kitchen (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) – “The Sisters of the Kitchen present…” / Radiotopia

Congratulations to our winners! The top spot will air on KCRW’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered on Thursday, December 2; second place airs on All Things Considered on Wednesday, December 1; third place airs on All Things Considered on Tuesday, November 30; and this year’s LA Award winner will air on KCRW’s Greater LA on Tuesday, November 30.

To hear all submissions from this year’s KCRW radio race, check out KCRW Soundcloud Playlist.

First place

Team: Jude Brasseur
Story: “Buzzy”
Price: $ 1,000 contract to air the piece on KCRW, plus other amazing sponsor prizes

Smell is said to be the strongest sense associated with memory, but here producer Jude Brewer argues for the evocative emotional power of sound. Instead of voicemails, letters, or other tangible memories, the sound of a skateboard remains Brewer’s only connection to his childhood best friend and neighbor, Buzzy. Beyond the piece’s beautifully crafted audio design and editing, Brewer uses sound as a character in its own right, leading the listener into his ability to trigger – and hold – memories of beautiful days spent at perfecting kickflips after school and reveling in the unwritten possibilities and potential of youth. .

“The immersive sound design draws you straight in and propels you through the room (essential, given the skating credentials). The narrative offers as much speculation as it does history, and it feels natural and comfortable to share this track. of his past. The dynamic that he is exploring is relatable, and no doubt leaves listeners (or at least that listener) thinking of old friends who passed out, where they are now, etc. together this sounds nostalgic but not sentimental, and retains a sense of humor so doesn’t come off as too valuable. Excellent use of the medium! “Julie shapiro, Executive Producer, Radiotopia / PRX & Ear Hustle

“I was really impressed with Jude’s piece. It really captured a particular vibe or feeling, and while some aspects of the sound design were literal, the way this sound design reached its headspace was pleasantly. off-center, and I really enjoyed that. “Nick quah, podcast reviewer, Vulture / New York Magazine

“There was a mood, a meaning and a soundscape that hooked me right from the second number one.”Sean rameswaram, Host of “Today, Explained”

“BUZZY stood out with its eye-catching overall production, unusual storytelling and delivery style, fine and original sound design, and the heart of the story. A captivating piece and a beautiful take on the theme. I love the way it looks. whose Jude tells the story and rhythm of his mix. “The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva)

Second place

Team: Anonymous Hot Dog Slices
Story: “Porch light”
Price: $ 500 deal for parts to stream on KCRW, plus other amazing sponsor prizes

A playful piano score and seamless sound design bring this delicious cold war tale to life on a burning light between neighbors and their unexpected path to common ground.

“The porch light story was just a joy! What a delight. Such a fascinating and unique story with a twist AND a great reward. Wonderfully paced and ultimately very rewarding!”Sam sanders, host, “It’s been a minute with Sam Sanders” / NPR

“I was [compelled] by the evolution of the relationship with the neighbor. It’s both a simple negotiation between literal neighbors, at the same time a broader view of perspectives, mutual understanding and a fun ending. “Scott Newman, founder and creative director, work x work & On-Air Fest

Third place

Team: Chris Attaway
Story: “Blow Blow Blow”
Price: $ 300 deal for parts to stream on KCRW, plus other amazing sponsor prizes

In a weird, real-life version of ‘the call is from inside the house’, producer Chris Attaway uses stunning score and sound design to document a woman’s story about the eerie noises coming from the sub. supposedly unoccupied floor of his new apartment. , and the neighbor who never was – or was he?

Beginner’s price

Best track from a team of audio producers for the first time

Team: Boen Wang and Susan Peterson
Story: “Think of me when you see the stars”
Price: Featured on; One year KCRW membership for each team member; Consideration for placement on Remix PRX

Neighbors are more than the people you live with, and how newcomers Boen Wang and Susan Peterson remind us with the story of an astronomer’s dream to locate herself – physically and spiritually – in our galaxy, and how she helps the new generations and humble communities to our twinkling neighbors in the sky.

LA price

Best radio story with a strong sense of LA

Team: Augusta Chapman
Story: “Suburban Coyote Golf League”
Price: $ 100 contract to broadcast on KCRW’s Greater LA, chosen by the GLA team of producers; Featured on; One year KCRW membership for each team member; Consideration for placement on Remix PRX

We in Los Angeles are no strangers to the coyotes that lurk in our neighborhoods. Sometimes they stay in the shadows, but sometimes they are much more present. Augusta Chapman comes face to face with one of her most intrusive neighbors.

Papillon Social Award

Team with the most convincing social commitment throughout the race

Team: DO Say
Story: Untitled
Price: $ 100 in cash; KCRW swag and a one-year KCRW membership for each team member

Producer and storyteller Diana Opong embarks on her first KCRW radio race. In her piece, she reflects on the experience of feeling otherness (Seattle Freeze) and how she seeks warmth when she doesn’t feel welcome in the spaces where she lives or creates.


Price: Featured on; One year KCRW membership for each team member; Consideration for placement on Remix PRX

Sonja Cho Swanson
Story: “Shit people throw from the roof”

Ten years ago in New York City, Christine Hyung-Oak Lee discovered that her balcony had the seemingly magical ability to catch trash thrown from the roof of her apartment building.

ARN team
Story: “My white whale is a ferret”

It takes more than a biting ferret to redeem a heinous Facebook group.

Tired bone
Story: “Neighbors’ pasta and pies”

In a Los Angeles suburb, a pan of lasagna brings a neighborhood together.

Shrikant Joshi
Story: “Do you want to be my neighbor?” ”

The only context in which the metaphorical question posed by Mr. Rogers – “Won’t you be my neighbor?” – takes on an absolutely literal meaning…. when you are looking for accommodation.

Team: Scott Wen and David Gonzalez
Story: “The persimmon tree”

Some people really take the risk for the cookie… but in this case, the cookie is a hanging persimmon, and the risk is that the 70-year-old will climb the tree to grab it.

Snack club
Story: “The fruit shop next door”

New York producer Dylan Heuer investigates the relationship between two Greek fruit markets in Queens that reside side by side, to find that, even in business, you need your neighbors to survive (even if they are your biggest competitors!).

Thank you to our sponsors: AIR, Pinnacle Electronics, Describe and PRX.


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