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What is Signal Boost?
Signal Boost is a development programme for aspiring Australian podcasters, offering tailored mentorship, practical support, and professional development.
Who is Signal Boost for?
Signal Boost is for anyone who is interested in developing their audio or podcasting skills, regardless of prior experience or knowledge of podcasting. Our aim is to contribute to the diversity and creativity of Australian audio storytelling; to offer people a chance to develop their artistic and critical skills with the support of experienced mentors – and without having to rush their work into the public arena.
Signal Boost participants must permanently reside in Australia, but do not have to be an Australian citizen. People who came to Australia as a refugee are encouraged to apply.
What will I receive if I’m selected?
Recipients will be paired with an experienced mentor, provided with professional recording equipment and access to software to help them realise their audio goals, and will attend a series of intensive workshops led by some of Australia’s leading podcast, radio industry and sonic arts professionals.
The Wheeler Centre works with each Signal Boost participant to support their creative growth and develop their audio skills, and also assists them with building a network of peers, gaining insight into the industry and accessing a range of professional development opportunities.
Will I receive any money?
Yes! Throughout the programme, participants will be commissioned to complete 3 audio works to be showcased on the Wheeler Centre’s platforms. There may be further paid opportunities available throughout the programme.
Who owns the content that I make during Signal Boost?
Participants will retain all intellectual property ownership and copyright of any audio works or content that they create as a result of the Signal Boost. This includes paid works commissioned by the Wheeler Centre.
How do I apply?
Applications for 2021 opened on 7 July 2021 and closed at 11pm on 8 August 2021.
To apply, you must submit the following:
A 300-word statement about what you hope to get out of this programme and how you will personally benefit from the opportunity;
A short audio pitch (up to three minutes) responding to the prompt of ‘space’ (note: this pitch is for the application purposes only – you don’t need to work on or develop it further if you are selected for the Signal Boost programme);
A short written explanation (up to 400 words) of your idea and approach.
What are the selection criteria?
The selection criteria are:
Capacity: the applicant’s personal and creative potential, their commitment to the programme, and their willingness to learn
Connection: the applicant’s clear interest in and enthusiasm for the craft of audio storytelling
Vision: the applicant’s ability to clearly articulate their ideas and creatively engage with the medium
Impact: the impact that Signal Boost would have on the development of the applicant’s artistic/audio practice and career, and the potential impact they and their work could have on the podcasting landscape. This includes considering ways in which the podcasting industry was previously inaccessible to the applicant.
What are the key dates?
Signal Boost entries opened on Wednesday 7 July 2021, and closed at 11pm (AEST) Sunday 8 August 2021.
Successful applicants will be announced in early September 2021.
The mentorship, workshops and development component of the 2020 Signal Boost programme will take place from September 2021 to March 2022.
Successful applicants will need to be available on Tuesday evenings to attend Signal Boost workshops.
Will I find out if my application was unsuccessful?
All applicants will be contacted about the outcome of their application prior to the announcement of the successful recipients.
Can I apply with my collaborator/s?
No. Unlike 'podcast incubator' programmes, Signal Boost's focus is on investing in the craft of working with sound – rather than working to bring a specific project to fruition. Collaborators are welcome to apply individually.
How are the recipients chosen?
Signal Boost recipients are selected by an experienced judging panel of podcasters and audio makers. In 2021, our judges are Michelle Macklem (7am, Constellations), Daren Lake (Pod Paste), Mike Williams (ABC, Mike Williams and Friends) and Allison Chan (Guardian, UTS Impact Studios). The Wheeler Centre’s senior audio producer Maddy Macquine will assist with the judging process.
Is there an application fee?
No, it’s free to apply.
Can I enter more than once per year?
Will I receive feedback on my application?
Unfortunately we are unable to offer personalised feedback. The judges will provide general feedback on the pool of applications.
Can I apply with my existing podcast idea?
Applicants will be assessed against the selection criteria listed above – based on your application form as well as your creative response to the prompt. This pitch is intended to demonstrate your ability and interest in thinking broadly. Signal Boost is primarily focussed on developing your skills, not your specific projects – while starting your own podcast and hurrying to put it out into the world may be one way to learn, it shouldn't be the only option.
If my application is successful, how will my mentor be selected?
Mentors will be selected on the basis of an initial consultation with, and input from, each participant. All mentors will be chosen based on a combination of: 1) their prior teaching, podcasting or mentorship experience, 2) their suitability and expertise as it pertains to the participant’s work, and 3) their availability.
Can I request my own mentor to work with over the six-month period?
We will certainly invite your input on the best mentor for you, but the final match will be our decision to make, based on suitability and availability.
What if I don’t like my assigned mentor?
We will consult with you over the choice of your mentor and endeavour to match you with someone you feel comfortable with – even if they’re not always your first choice.
How often will I meet with my mentor?
Your available mentorship hours may vary according to your particular needs. You will meet with your mentor, either in person or online, as many times as mutually agreed across the six months of the programme. We will endeavour to arrange for you to meet your mentor at least once in person, depending on your location and theirs.
Are there any individuals who won’t be considered for the scheme?
All applicants will be considered – bearing in mind Signal Boost aims to elevate producers and creative approaches that are not widely represented in Australian audio storytelling and podcasting, and to offer opportunities to writers from marginalised communities. As such, Signal Boost places in any given year will be distributed amongst artists from a diversity of backgrounds.
What do you mean by 'diverse'?
We recognise all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to): First Nations people; refugees and asylum seekers; people with disability*; sexually diverse people; people of any gender, including non-binary or genderqueer; people from regional and remote areas; and people from socio-economically, culturally, and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
* We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction).
How is Signal Boost funded?
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Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 03 9094 7800 to discuss your questions.