The Charles Parker Prize 2020



DEADLINE MONDAY 23rd FEBRUARY 2020 - Details below:-

The FIVE winners will be announced at this year’s CHARLES PARKER DAY which takes place in Birmingham on FRIDAY 3rd APRIL at Birmingham City University.

The Charles Parker Day 2020

It’s 40 years since Charles Parker, one of radio’s greatest innovators and pioneers, died suddenly in Birmingham in December 1980 after rehearsing a new play with Banner Theatre. This year’s Charles Parker Day, a conference which examining the Radio Feature - past, present and future, will celebrate his life and achievements with some of the people who worked him and contemporary producers who have been influenced by his work. It will also explore audio archives with Tony Macaluso from the Studs Terkel Archive and now a trustee of the Charles Parker Archive in Birmingham. We also look into the future as BBC Radio 4 announce the winners of this year’s Charles Parker Prize for the Best Student Radio Feature. The day will also include a new commission from last year’s Charles Parker Prize Winner Sian Medford and in the evening there’s a chance to see a performance by Banner Theatre. For full details and to book tickets visit:

The Charles Parker Prize 2020
for the
Best Student Radio Feature

The competition is open to any student studying radio/audio in Further or Higher Education in the UK.

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.

The Trust is delighted to be able to announce that in 2020 BBC Radio 4 is again 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 judging panel chaired by Simon Elmes.

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.

Because of Radio 4’s slot requirements, 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 2020, 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.

The competition is now open for Entries with a final deadline of 2359 on Monday 24 February 2020.

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:- Each academic institution may submit a maximum of ten entries.

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 Annual Charles Parker Day which next year will take place at Birmingham City University on Friday 3 April 2020.

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

We look forward to hearing your entries.

For further information, terms and conditions and entry forms visit

The Charles Parker Day 2020 – Friday April 3rd – postponed

From the Charles Parker Archive Trustees:-

“It is with regret that we have made the difficult decision to postpone Charles Parker Day, due to take place on Friday 3 April at Birmingham City University (BCU), based on government advice with regards to COVID-19.

We very much hope to be able to reschedule for Autumn of this year and are working towards a securing a new date as soon as possible.

If you have already purchased your ticket your payment will be refunded by Eventbrite.

The Charles Parker Prize 2020 will still go ahead as planned with winners announced online on 3 April 2020, transmitted on BBC Radio 4 in August, and then celebrated at the rescheduled Charles Parker Day in the Autumn.”

Details of a new autumn date for the Charles Parker Day and how to access the online announcement of the winners of the Charles Parker Prize for the Best Student Radio Feature on April 3rd will be circulated soon.

Andy Cartwright

On behalf of the Charles Parker Archive Trust