The Centenary Charles Parker Prize 2019

for the Best Student Radio Feature
The competition is open to any student studying radio/audio in Further or Higher Education in the UK – there is a Facebook page with the latest news.

Over the past decade and a half, the Charles Parker Awards – named in honour of one of radio’s greatest documentary pioneers – have established an unparalleled reputation for excellence in radio and audio feature production by young people, and many of our winners have gone on to carve out successful professional careers in radio and audio production.

2019 is Charles Parker’s centenary and, to mark the milestone, the prize is taking a slightly different – and rather special – form compared with past years.

We are particularly delighted to be able to announce that – in honour of Charles’s birthday – BBC Radio 4 is joining with the Charles Parker Awards to offer a broadcast slot on the network to each of the five entrants adjudged to have most successfully used the radio feature medium. Each winning student producer will be invited to collaborate with a coach drawn from some of the very best feature-makers working in radio in order to adapt their features, as necessary, for network transmission. These special prize commissions will be selected by a panel led by Radio 4’s Factual Commissioning Editor, Mohit Bakaya.

In addition, the programme judged to be overall winner will receive the Charles Parker Gold Award (and a prize consisting of a BBC-standard SADiE6 editing system worth over £2,000). However, in view of the five special commission and coaching prizes, exceptionally this year, no formal Silver or Bronze Awards will be conferred.

Important Change to Entry Conditions for CPA 2019: Required Duration

Because of Radio 4’s slot requirements, very short programmes will not be eligible for entry this year. All entries MUST have a minimum duration of 10 minutes, and a maximum duration of 15 minutes.

What we’re looking for…

Our awards seek to capture some of the timeless originality that Charles Parker brought to his programmes, and especially to his legendary music-based documentation of working men’s and women’s lives, the Radio Ballads, such as The Ballad of John Axon and Singing the Fishing.

For CPA 2019, we’re looking for programmes that innovatively capture the spirit of ordinary lives, their voices and their tunes, reinvented for the digital, multiplatform age. Your entry will have a sparklingly original idea, use the medium of radio feature to explore it to the full with humanity and imagination and, of course, make for a riveting audio presentation with storytelling at its heart.

This year the Judges of this special centenary Charles Parker Prize will be:
Jane Anderson – Radio Editor, Radio Times
Mohit Bakaya – Commissioning Editor, Factual, BBC Radio 4
Simon Elmes – Former Creative Director, BBC Radio Features
Sara Parker – Award-winning Radio Producer and Charles’s daughter
Philip Sellars – Editor, BBC Radio Documentaries Unit

The competition will be open for Entries from 1000 on Monday 19th November 2018 with a final deadline of 2359 on Monday 25th February 2019.

This year we are asking that students complete the Entry Form and submit this (along with a WAV copy of their feature) to their tutor for verification. Entries must then be uploaded via by the FE or HE institution using the email address:-

A shortlist of features will be announced in Mid-March with the nominees being invited to the award ceremony which will take place during the Centenary Charles Parker Day at Bournemouth University on April 5th 2019.  Charles Parker was born in Bournemouth on April 5th 1919.

The Gold Award winner and the four other winning features will be commissioned through the independent radio production company (co-ordinators of the Charles Parker Prize since 2010) – Soundscape Productions.

For full Terms and Conditions click here

We look forward to hearing your entries.

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