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Audio Lab winners, raft of new commissions and Spotify tie-in announced as BBC Sounds goes podcast crazy

The Audio Lab winner: (l-r) Anouska Lewis, George Powell, Seun Matiluko, May Robson, Taqwa Sadiq

BBC Sounds has named the next group of creators who will transform their ideas into world class podcasts with Audio Lab at The Podcast Show, including two new podcasts from the BBC’s Salford HQ.

In total five winners were chosen to join the accelerator, and will now benefit from a comprehensive package of practical and professional training while embedded with one of Audio Lab’s five production partners located across the UK, with the other succesful entrants due to be based at BBC Scotland Production in Glasgow and BBC Audio Pop & Speech podcasts in London.

Locally, Three Arrows Media’s Seun Matiluko will pay homage to the much-loved West African instrument used to accompany and share stories and soundtrack the lives; legacies and experiences of Africans in Britain today in Talking Drum. Manchester indie Three Arrows Media was co-founded in 2015 by BAFTA-winning executive Jon Hancock and creates video and audio content for multiple platforms in Children’s, Education and Factual.

Second, George Powell will be working with the Long Form Audio Department at MediaCityUK on This Field Remains, which explores the impact of Stanlow Oil Refinery at Ellesmere Port on the Wirral. Was it an essential local lifeline or simply a failed industrial project?

Khaliq Meer, Commissioning Executive, Audio Lab says: “This time last year I said I couldn’t wait to hear what our first year creators would do and they didn’t disappoint one bit. For Tommy Dixon to go on and win the ARIA Gold award for Best New Podcast at the UK’s biggest audio awards is a fantastic endorsement of his vision and the creative innovation of Colouring in Britain. Huge congratulations to Tommy and all our first-year trailblazers.

“I’m thrilled we’re back with a new Audio Lab programme doing even more to amplify and nurture new grassroots talent. Plus, we’re working with more BBC teams across the UK as well as awarding first-time BBC podcast production commissions to two indies so we can support more growth and stronger collaboration in the audio sector. I’m super excited about what’s to come.”

Elsewhere, the BBC will announce a raft of new podcast commissions via The Podcast Show, ranging from investigations of the future of tech in Silicon Valley (The Gatekeepers) to the spooky past in Haunted History, and taking in conspiracy theories about “the late” Avril Lavigne having been played by a body double for most of her career following her tragic early death and a healthy dose of ranting from Jonathan Pie on the way.

BBC Sounds has also announced it has joined Spotify’s Megaphone, an industry leading podcast publishing and monetisation platform which will allow it to dynamically recommend relevant content to audiences on other podcast platforms in the UK.

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