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Podcast Lab

Podcast Lab 2024 - Online

Start date:
Aug 24, 2024
Ability Level:
Intermediate to Advanced

Lab Overview & Structure

This fascinating programme will provide participants with the knowledge, resources, and mentor support for developing their project both creatively—through story development and sound editing workshops—and strategically, with discussions on industry landscape, pitching, marketing, and releasing their project in today’s audio landscape.

In this course, participants will learn the basics of audio storytelling, the art of creating and producing distinctive audio podcasts. They will gain hands-on experience recording and editing with direction from industry experts. Participants will leave with an enriched understanding of the global podcasting landscape and its key players. They will receive invaluable tips on tools, funding models, audience development, distribution, and gain insights on how they will measure their success.

Dates: 24 – 31 August 2024
Hours: Daily session of 4 hours (4 to 8 PM Doha time)
Language: English
Lab Fee: 1,100 QAR
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Group Size: 6 projects will be selected with a maximum of two attendees per project
Deadline: 1 Aug 2024

Lab Objectives

Participants will learn:

  • About the main global players in the podcast industry
    • Platforms like Apple, YouTube, Spotify, Google Podcast etc.
      • Their strengths and weaknesses for creators (especially metrics)
      • Their significance and role in the industry
    • Regional podcast networks like Kerning Cultures, Sowt, etc.
    • An overview of the general podcasting landscape, distribution, and terminology
  • To define their audience and podcast with a purpose
  • To write scripts, map narrative arcs, and generate immersive stories for audio
  • Planning, team roles, and workflow mapping
  • How to choose (and use) the right equipment for their podcast
  • Best practices for sound editing
  • Business models for podcasters
  • How to brand, market, and pitch their podcasts


The workshop is designed for audio storytellers and producers or anyone interested in entering the Podcast Industry. A total of six to eight participants will be selected for the workshop.

  • Applicants from Qatar and the MENA region including the diaspora, as well as DFI grantees (from any region), are prioritized for participation.
  • Applicants from emerging countries and regions are also encouraged to apply.
  • No previous podcasting or audio editing experience is required, but participants should arrive with a strong idea about the type of podcast they would like to make.
  • The Lab is open to serialized and story-driven audio projects. Fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid style projects are eligible, and projects can be either short-form or long-form series.

Who Can Apply?

  • Participants in later stages of development must have a pilot script, show trailer, or sample audio. Participants in early stages of development should have a comparable proof of concept detailing their ideas.
  • Participants must have a project presentation with essential information about their intended show, including potential hosts, guests, and topics. Serial narrative projects should detail their full narrative arc and all relevant backstory.
  • Long-format, short-format, limited series, in fiction and non-fiction are eligible.

Submission Requirements
Project information should be extensive enough to give reviewers the fullest idea possible of your audio project.

  1. Project dossier, including:
    • Synopsis
    • Creator’s note detailing intentions and goals
    • Visual concept or pitch deck, if applicable
    • Script and treatment, if applicable
    • Any preliminary topical research and a list of interviews, voice actors, or sources you have contacted or might approach to participate
    • Biography of the creative team and key crew members
    • Production company information
    • Supplementary materials as desired (audio trailer, etc.)
  2. A letter outlining your motivation to participate in the lab, describing the project’s current stage and its needs—and sample questions you would like to discuss in the workshop.
  3. Link(s) to producer’s previous work
  4. Copy of passport or government-issued ID.

Please submit your materials before 1 August in Word or PDF format to including your full name, project title, email and phone contact in all text documents.

Course Overview

Day One: Introductions

  • Introductions
    • Participants, DFI staff, and lab producers will gather to introduce themselves and their projects
    • Lab producer Alexandra Blair will run participants through an overview of the lab schedule
    • Then, get an introduction to the Podcasting landscape in the MENA region + Q&A with Kerning Cultures’ Al Shaibani
    • One on one meetings with Al Shaibani and Alexandra Blair to follow

Day Two: Foundations

  • Participants will learn how to define your audience
  • Then, learn how to produce a non-fiction narrative podcast from the ground up + Q&A with Snap Judgment’s Marisa Dodge
  • One on one meetings with Marisa Dodge to follow

Day Three: Sound Editing

  • Participants will learn how to create a workflow map to help guide their creation process
  • Then, learn the best practices of sound editing and recording + Q&A with Descript’s Kevin O’Connell
  • One on one meetings with Kevin O’Connell and Al Shaibani to follow

Day Four: Storytelling

  • Participants will learn how to create a concise thesis statement for their podcast to guide their work
  • Then, join the team behind Kerning Cultures’ Aizen podcast for a case study in storytelling and Q&A
  • One on one meetings with the Aizen team to follow

Day Five: Business & Monetization

  • Participants will look at case studies for successful monetization in podcasting
  • Then, join SOWT’s Ramsey Tesdell to learn about monetization and business in podcasting in the MENA region with a Q&A
  • One on One Meetings with Ramsey Tesdell to follow

Day Six: Talking About Your Show

  • Participants will give a brief presentation pitching their show to the group with feedback
  • Then, learn best practices for pitching your show to strategic partners, funders, and collaborators.
  • One on one meetings with Alexandra Blair and Al Shaibani to follow.

Lab Mentors

Project Manager at PRX
Lab Programme Producer

My work lives at the intersection of transformative problem solving, agile project management, and product methodologies. My goal: to empower all makers to nimbly address 21st century demands with confidence and empathy. I am a design thinking subject matter expert and highly experienced project manager with hundreds of hours of experience helping creatives across the world develop delightful solutions to their product and project needs. I have worked in media for nearly a decade and have partnered with PRX, The New School, The Gotham, DFI, and more. I am a proud first generation college graduate and received my BFA from Parsons School of Design with highest honors and a curricular focus on journalistic practices and memory in art and design. Find me riding through the desert in my Jeep with a backseat full of camping gear.

Al Shaibani
Podcast producer
Kerning Cultures Network

Al is a producer for branded projects at Kerning Cultures Network. With a background in film production, brand strategy, copywriting and event logistics, he is passionate about bringing a narrative to life in different formats. The thread that connects his diverse career (including many Netflix productions) is his drive to make “sticky” content: the type that lingers in your mind and lives in conversation. He enjoys storytelling, cycling, and an unhealthy amount of chocolate. Iraqi by birth, Canadian by education, Czech by blood, Swiss by upbringing, South African by adolescence, and Londoner by work experience, Al is currently based in London.

Guest Speakers

Alex Atack
Journalist And Audio Producer

Alex Atack is a journalist and audio producer. A founding producer at Kerning Cultures, Alex has helped bring in-depth and nuanced stories from the Middle East and its diaspora to a global audience through collaborations with the likes of Radiolab, 99% Invisible, TED, NPR, PRIʼs The World and more. He is currently a producer at The Guardianʼs award-winning podcast Today in Focus, where he produces investigative series and in-depth current affairs stories.

Kevin O’Connell
Audio engineer/producer

Kevin is a professional musician, audio engineer/producer, educator, and arts advocate with a focus in creative development, mentorship, and production. As an educator and arts advocate, he founded the West Suburban YMCA Center for the Creative Arts (YCCA) – a 360-degree youth music and media program serving youth and teens in the MetroWest suburbs of Boston. 

As an engineer and producer, he has worked with a number of local, regional and international artists and musicians including Grammy Recording Artist Alex Torres y Sú Orquestra.

As a musician, Kevin performs and records with Boston-based rock band Coral Moons, releasing their debut full-length LP ‘Fieldcrest’. Kevin can be seen taking the stage with other New England artists including the Ballroom Thieves, Hawthorn, Kaiti Jones, and Tory Silver.

Formerly the Studio + Operations Manager at the PRX Podcast Garage in Allston, MA, Kevin has recently joined the team at Descript as a Product Specialist, working with and training audio teams around the world.

Ramsey Tesdell
CEO, Sowt Media

Ramsey G. Tesdell is the CEO and co-founder of, a leading digital audio media company producing high-quality and premium content focusing on Arabic-speaking audiences. He is also a founding partner of, a leading independent news magazine from Jordan.

Ramsey was selected as a fellow of the Ford Global Fellowship in 2021 and is an advisory board member to the Google/PRX Podcast Creators Program, and a judge for the Third Coast Audio Festival held in Chicago. Ramsey also spends time mentoring and working with new media startups and focuses specifically on media strategy and business development with ICFJ. Ramsey originally moved to Amman as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He has a B.S. in rhetoric and communication and an M.S. in technical communication. He lives in Amman with his partner and two children.

Marisa Dodge – USA
Snap Judgment & Spooked | Director of Production

Marisa is the Director of Production for Snap Judgment & Spooked. Before joining Snap Studios, she worked at the San Francisco Chronicle, KPFA Radio, and CBS Radio. She was also the Station Director of her college’s radio station, producing a weekly French music show called ‘Le Meilleur Radio’.