The BBC World Service has kicked off a competition to discover new podcast talents in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

The International Podcast Competition, the first of its kind by the BBC World Service kicked off on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, and will close on Friday, January 22.

The winning entry from the competition will be turned into a new podcast, hopefully, to be launched later in 2021.

Speaking to Pulse about the competition, Jon Manel, the podcast commissioning editor for the BBC World Service said the competition is an opportunity for people with great ideas to turn them into fantastic podcast content.

"This is an opportunity for people. If you have been sitting on an idea for an amazing podcast; I think we've all done it, we've all had great ideas and we just think about it and dream about it and not doing anything about it, largely because we don't have the opportunity. What I would say if you have this incredible story for whatever podcast it might be, it's so easy to enter this competition," Manel said.

Emerging podcasters with this competition-if they win-will have the opportunity to work with a BBC World Service world-class crew that will turn the idea into a podcast.

"There are so many competitions out there but I am incredibly excited about this one," Manel also said.

"The prize is just amazing. We will fix you up with a BBC Production team, with all the full weight of the BBC World Service behind you and your idea will be turned into a BBC World Service podcast.

"All we are asking for is for an idea which appeals to listeners in Africa and listeners around the world in particular to women and if you put your idea in this competition, you will have the opportunity hopefully to win it and to actually make that podcast."

Manel is also excited about the novelty of the ideas he will come across during the competition.

"That's one of the exciting things about this competition. I and all the other judges, we have nothing in mind about what to expect," he also said.

"The winning podcast could something that makes us laugh; it could be something that makes us cry; it could be a podcast that takes us on an incredible journey. It could be anything, and that's the amazing thing about this."

The competition is open to aspiring audio hosts and producers who are not broadcast professionals and don't already have a credit on a commercial podcast.

The BBC is very particular about this restriction, limiting eligibility to just emerging podcast talents, not professionals in the broadcast media industry or someone with credit on a commercial podcast.

"The great thing about this competition is for people who aren't in the industry already. It's for hopefully new talent," Manel also told Pulse.

"The intention of that is that the winner will be truly new talent.

"This is for somebody who is brand new really. They might have experimented with podcast itself, but they haven't got a commercial podcast yet."

The other notable restriction is that this competition is not for scripted comedy or drama. Applicants also have to be at least 18 to be eligible.

From the Nigerian perspective, Odudu Efe popularly known as FayFay, the founder of the Naija Podcast Hub, is excited at the opportunity that this competition offers emerging podcasters in Nigeria and the whole podcast industry.

"Nigerians are waiting for something to validate what they are doing. Because most of the times, what they struggle with is when they tell someone, they are doing a podcast, the person is 'what is a podcast, why are you wasting your time'. So what they have been waiting for, for the longest is something that will validate that thing they do which is podcasting," FayFay who is also one of the judges in the competition told Pulse.

"They all been waiting, in various groups that I have been over time, they are all waiting for that big moment when maybe one big podcast network comes to Nigeria and maybe put more Nigerian podcast on the spotlight."

"I'm looking forward to what they come up with because I know that some of the challenges that they have spoken about is more with the production side of things and not about the idea," FayFay also said.

"I was looking forward to what podcasters were going to do in 2021 in terms of content. Kicking off the year with something like this is going to not just inspire podcasters who would want to do it but also those that have been sitting on ideas for the longest."

BBC launches new podcast

Aside from the competition, the BBC World Service also announced a brand new daily news podcast for Africa called Africa Daily and more episodes of The Comb podcast,

In Africa Daily, host Alan Kasujja, a Ugandan journalist will dive deep into the news stories shaping Africa, one question at a time.

Released on each weekday morning, Africa Daily will zoom in on one single story, providing context and depth to the issues shaping the continent.

Africa Daily is produced by the team behind Newsday – the BBC World Service's flagship breakfast news radio show.

The new daily podcast follows the launch in 2020 of BBC's weekly podcast for Africa, The Comb which is also back after a short break.

Alongside the two new podcasts, each weekday, Africa Today will continue to summarise all the top news stories from the BBC Africa radio programme, Focus on Africa.

Manel also shared some insight with Pulse on BBC World Service's podcast audience in Africa.

"The Podcast audience in Africa is really important to us as all our audiences in Africa. Nigeria is where we have our biggest overall audience for the BBC across audio, TV and online," Manel said.

"It's the biggest in Africa and the second biggest in the world. It's really important to us. With podcasting, it is really important to the BBC world services in terms of growing our audiences around the world."

"The three countries where we tend to have the biggest audiences for our podcast are Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa and it's no coincidence that these are the three countries that this country this competition is open to."

Get more information on BBC's International Podcast Competition on this website

The competition will have a three-stage judging process.

Judges will include:

Paula Rogo, Founder of Africa Podfest, Africa's first podcast festival and Kali Media, an African women-focused podcast network (based in Kenya)

Kim Chakanetsa, Host of The Comb, the BBC World Service weekly podcast for audiences in Africa

Odudu Efe (FayFay), Founder of the Naija Podcast Hub (based in Nigeria)

Sharon Machira, BBC TV & Radio Presenter based in Nairobi, Kenya

Jedi Ramalapa, Editor-in-Chief, Sound Africa, in South Africa

Jon Manel, BBC World Service Podcast Commissioning Editor

Full information on the application process, criteria, judging process and terms and conditions are available here: