Frequently asked

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 are paired with an experienced mentor, provided with professional recording equipment and access to software to help them realise their audio goals, and have the opportunity to 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! During the programme, between August and December, participants will be paid a stipend accounting for roughly one day per week – to enable them to make the time to focus on developing their skills or portfolio of experience. This may involve the participant working on their own project/s, or on audio projects with the Wheeler Centre that will contribute to the participant's record of paid, professional work and applied knowledge of podcast production.

How do I apply?

Applications for 2020 have now closed. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates and future opportunities.

In 2020, applicants were asked to 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 ‘public’ (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 20 May 2020, and closed at 5pm (AEST) Monday 22 June 2020.
  • Successful applicants will be announced in mid-July 2020.
  • The mentorship, workshops and development component of the 2020 Signal Boost programme will take place from July to December 2020.

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 local and international podcasters and audio makers. In 2020, our judges are Helen Zaltzman (The Allusionist, Answer Me This, Veronica Mars Investigations; UK), Daniel Browning (Awaye!), and Jess O’Callaghan (Audiocraft, The Party Room, Background Briefing, Radio National Fictions). The Wheeler Centre’s senior digital editor Jon Tjhia, and audio producer Beth Atkinson-Quinton, 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?

No.

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?

Signal Boost is supported by the Ian Potter Foundation.

I have another question you haven’t answered here!

Please contact us at reception@wheelercentre.com or on 03 9094 7800 to discuss your questions.