Here they are! The 2022 winners of KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race

On Saturday November 12 at 10 a.m. PST, hundreds of producers from around the world — from Berlin to Burbank, Manchester to Manhattan — received a theme that launched the start of  KCRW’s 10th Annual 24-Hour Radio Race. The 214 teams who entered the race, now had until Sunday at 10 a.m. PST to brainstorm, write, interview, record, edit and submit their audio story based on the theme they just received. It was “Your Secret is Safe with Me.”

They all went fast to work. Then at 5 p.m. they received a “bonus challenge” of adding in an element after they had already been hard at work on their story for 7 hours. That element was “Egg” (to use as a sound, word or concept). 117 teams completed the task.

Our expert crew of pro radio judges spent the next week listening to all the stories; laughing, crying, re-listening again. Our internal panel of judges, made up of KCRW Producers, narrowed the pool of 117 down to the Top 10 and these fine judges below took those 10 to the finish line:

All pieces were judged on creativity, storytelling, technical skill, and incorporation of this year’s theme and bonus challenge. And the results are in!!! 

Congrats to our winners! You can hear them aired on KCRW at these times:

• Wednesday, November 23 on Press Play - 1st Place winner

• Wednesday, November 23 on Greater LA - LA Award winner

• Wednesday, November 23 at 8PM - 2nd + 3rd Place winners
(special feature before Freaks Only)

Drum roll please…

First Place

Team: Phantom Thread
Story:  Liftoff
Prize: $1,000 contract for the piece to air on KCRW, plus other incredible sponsor prizes

“There was one better executed piece with the best performance and most creative use of audio and yet, that's not the one I picked as my favorite. And that's because the story of PHANTOM THREAD makes up for the imperfections like a slow start, some dry delivery, and some rough sound design. It makes up for all that thanks to the power of a personal and emotional story with a clear arc. You feel this man's pain and rejoice in his healing. And that kind of visceral impact is the best of what storytelling can do, no matter what the medium." – Mark Ramsey, Judge

Second Place

Team: Team Piggy
Story: Pig Emoji
Prize: $500 contract for the pieces to air on KCRW, plus other incredible sponsor prizes 

“A reluctant heroine revels in a role-playing DM exchange in this wry, elegantly composed piece on the tests and limits of internet anonymity.” – Vanessa de la Torre, Judge

Third Place

Team:  Dan Burdman
Story:  "A/S/L"
Prize: $300 contract for their piece to air on KCRW, plus other incredible sponsor prizes

“You wouldn't think that the world needed another story about straight cis teenage boys pranking one another on the internet. And you'd be perfectly within your rights to say that it doesn't. But "A/S/L" pulls off a neat trick: it fully invests in the moronic mindset of its young antagonists while also depicting their (very) fleeting moments of moral clarity. The producers clearly drew on their real-life experiences in early-'00s AIM chat culture to depict a sense of brinkmanship perpetually threatening to escalate out of control. The sound design brilliantly captures both the online exchange and the boys' running commentary as they jostle for dominance over the narrative of the prank. It's a hilarious rapid-fire depiction of adolescent sexual anxiety that ends, as these stories inevitably do, with a deeply unresolved stalemate, as both sides recede into the doctrine of mutually-agreed-upon silence. Perfectly attenuated, smartly produced, and utterly evocative of its time and place. (With content warnings, perhaps, for sexism and homophobia, which are endemic to the story but nonetheless present.)” – Myke Dodge Weiskopf, Judge


LA Award

Best radio story with a strong sense of LA

Story:  Heaven By a Highway
Prize: $100 contract to air on KCRW’s Greater LA, chosen by the GLA Team of producers; Featured on; One-year KCRW Membership for each team member; Consideration for placement on PRX Remix 

“This story started off like a journey to a speakeasy, which made for a fun, mini adventure to a place where one could escape the digital prisons we often find ourselves in and meet interesting Los Angelenos.”  – Anyel Z. Fields, Judge

Newbie Award

Best piece from a team of first-time audio producers

Team: A Mass of Kugel
Story: Burning
Prize: Featured on; One-year KCRW Membership for each team member; Consideration for placement on PRX Remix 

“Jay Kugs storytelling transported me into the Uber that night and on the journey with him. A fun and personal drama, brought to life with excellent pacing, sound design, mini reveals along the way, and playful references to being stoned while suffering through an embarrassing injury. All set on the eve of our global pandemic. Well done.” – Scott Newman, Judge

Social Butterfly Award

Team with the most compelling social engagement throughout the race

Team:  The Gay Village
Story:  The Little Box
Prize: $100 cash; KCRW swag and a one-year KCRW Membership for each team member

Runners Up 

Prize: Featured on; One-year KCRW Membership for each team member; Consideration for placement on PRX Remix

Team:  Trent Kay Maverick & Susan Rzepka
Story:  Pictures of the Kids

Team:  Maria Wurttele

Story:  The Secret Keeper

Team:  Myka Kielbon and Sara McCrea

Story:  Leave Me a Message

Team: Scott Wen and David Gonzalez
Story: Everyday

Team:  Get 'em, Tiger
Story:  Secret’s Safe!

Thank you to our sponsors: AIR, Apogee Electronics, Descript and PRX.

Calling all Radio and Podcast Makers- mark your calendars! Whether you’re a pro or a newbie, there is a place for you in KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race. On Saturday, November 12th the race begins!

On November 13, hundreds of producers from around the world — from India to Ireland, London to Las Vegas, Sydney to Santa Monica — revved up their recorders to make an audio story…

It’s a chaotic time but that doesn’t mean we should stop creating art.

Where the sun don't shine.