“Work, work, work, work, work,” Rihanna once famously sang.
That’s the idea behind the podcast that won the Queen City PodQuest, a months-long search for Charlotte’s next great podcast held by WFAE. Work It, created by Kevin Young, Jill Bjers and Stephanie Hale, focuses on its subjects’ professional lives and how their work shapes peoples’ existences and worldviews — highlighting triumphs and discussing setbacks.
Out of more than 400 entries, Work It advanced past the public voting round to the mentorship portion with four other teams: Next Door Docs by Sean Fox and Bryant Allen; Choose Your Own Adventure by Darryl Mansel, Lesley Elsworth, Jermone Jackson and Brian Martin; Bicycling in the Queen City and Beyond by Ann Groninger and Jeff Viscount; and Teachable Moments by Jennifer Chaffman and Sara Behnke.
During the mentorship portion of the PodQuest, showrunners learned about intellectual property, audio recording, marketing, project management and other topics. At the end of the mentoring stage, each team produced a trailer for their podcast to present to a panel of judges.
While Work It won first place and Next Door Docs and Choose Your Own Adventure won second and third, respectively. Fox and Allen took home $1,200 in cash prizes for winning second place ($700) and fan favorites ($500). The Choose Your Own Adventure team took home $500 as third-place winners, and all four finalists received one year of podcast editing software, a Yeti microphone and a one-year membership to the Association of Independents in Radio.
As grand prize winners, Young, Bjers and Hale won $1,000 and will work with WFAE’s production team to create a six- to eight-episode season of Work It. WFAE’s chief content officer, Ju-Don Marshall stated in a press release that there were a lot of great ideas, but only one could be brought into WFAE’s fold.
“Although we could only produce one of the hundreds of great podcasts ideas we received, WFAE is committed to providing access to resources to help the podcast community grow,” Marshall wrote. “We believe that everyone has a story worth telling, and podcasting is one way to empower more people in this community to tell those stories.”
One advantage that the Work It team of Bjers, Young and Hale had may be inherent in its connection to the people of Charlotte. After all, the Queen City is a large melting pot of different people and their careers.
“They have a passion for storytelling and connecting people that is evident when you talk to them, and they have expressed their commitment to finding the untold stories of Charlotte workers from all walks of life,” Marshall stated. “I believe it’s going to be a really interesting podcast.”