KCRW’s 2020 Radio Race Winners!

Arlie Adlington completing a mobile interview on bikes over the London Bridge. Photo by Jess Lawson.

Hundreds of producers all over the world — from Russia to the United Kingdom and the United States — made an audio story overnight as a part of KCRW’s 8th Annual 24-Hour Radio Race. In the end, we received 140 total submissions and narrowed those down to 11 finalists. 

Our industry judges have ranked their favorites, and the results are in. The top winners featured here were determined based on creativity, storytelling, technical skill and incorporation of the theme: Time Warp. 

This year's judges included Yowei Shaw, senior producer and correspondent at NPR’s Invisibilia; Bob Carlson, host and creator of KCRW’s UnFictional; Jane Marie, host of The Dream; John Asante, managing producer at Neon Hum Media; and Benjamin Riskin, director of business development for audio at Endeavor Content.

Thank you to our sponsors: the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), PRX, Blue Microphones, Otter.ai and Descript

Congrats to our winners! We’ll broadcast all of these at 11 a.m. PT Sunday, July 19 on KCRW.

**Warning: The following audio contains sensitive content.**

First Place 

Team: Raggamuffin
Prize: $1000 plus prizes from our sponsors 

Producer Monique Laborde rose to the top for this brave story that captures a day in the life of her family as they try to make sense of a tragedy. Her brother-in-law is on life support, and they don’t know if he will recover. The tape is raw, and the piece is beautifully edited and sound designed to give listeners a feel for the controlled chaos as it unfolds. 

Second Place 

Team: west philly radioheads
Prize: $500 plus prizes from our sponsors 

It was 1985 and police were about to drop a bomb on a residential Black neighborhood in Philadelphia. Producers Alex Lewis, Mooj Zadie and John Myers take us back to that very moment. Their composition of tape and original scoring is powerful, and the whole piece embodies the cyclical nature of the historic time we’re living through. 

Third Place  

Team: Prospect Road
Prize: $300 plus prizes from our sponsors 

Producers Sarah Mashman and Lea Redfern deliver rich sound and non-narrated structure that is elegant and effective as it transports us through generations of American Creole cooking. It’s a meaningful piece that feels specific and universal at the same time. 

Honorable Mention  

Team: The Nissen Brothers

A love story that begins in the World of Warcraft: As the two women go from storming castles to dating IRL, producers Dano Nissen and Teddy Nissen guide us with delightful writing that’s not afraid to be itself. This is an enchanting coming of age story, and that final music choice is just right. 

We’re giving it an honorable mention and airing it on KCRW because the voting was close, and this piece is definitely worth your listen. 

The L.A. Award 

Team: MaLi
Prize: $100 plus KCRW swag 

Host of KCRW’s Welcome to LA, David Weinberg, chose his favorite piece about an L.A. person or place. Producer Shaka Mali took the prize for this audio story about being Black in America. He incorporated the idea of time being warped in a brilliant way. It’s a hauntingly vivid picture of his mother’s assault on the boardwalk in 1992.

Social Butterfly 

Team: The Pallaborators
Prize: $100 plus KCRW swag 

At the start of the Race, producers Arlie Adlington and Jess Lawson hit the streets of London on their bicycles to find out the meaning of life. An impressive feat for 24 hours. The result is an audio essay that’s totally lovable. It’s slightly longer than 4 minutes, but our judges saw that as an interpretation of time. They documented their ambitious excursion on Twitter, including a mobile audio interview. Check it out: 

Thanks to all the producers who played a part this year! Everyone who completed a piece will receive a KCRW membership.

Click here to listen to our official Radio Race playlist with all 140 submissions.



Kristen Lepore