call for pitches from Making Contact

Call for pitches from the fine folks at Making Contact. Details below!

We Want Your Stories: Call for Pitches

Making Contact an award-winning public radio project, heard on over 150 radio stations and via podcast, is accepting pitches for 7-10 minute segments or 29-minute documentaries for upcoming shows in our winter schedule.

We’re interested in receiving pitches that explore the less obvious facets of these topics. Our aim is to provide the listener with strong analysis of critical issues not often explored and showcase grassroots solutions. We are particularly interested in working with reporters whose work is underrepresented in the media. Below are some initial topics we’re considering but feel free to pitch us something that isn’t listed as a topic of interest.

Topics of Interest:

Prisons and People in Prison

The modern prison system isn't just a physical space – these days it’s virtual. What sorts of digital prisons exist and how are they affecting people? Examples could be Breathalysers used in DUI cases; surveillance or predictive policing.  How do we grapple with these new technologies and how are people fighting them?


In addition to digital prisons we're seeking stories on “re-entry” and the issues people face when released from prison. How are people organizing to support those recently released? How do classes and programs inside impact one’s ability to smoothly re-enter society? We’re interested in segment pitches related to post-release monitoring or surveillance – such as changes to the parole process in more progressive states, an exploration of monitoring and the use of algorithms, Life Without Parole, women in prison, and plea bargains. We're also interested in pitches on the practice of cash bail and efforts to end it.


Immigrants’ human rights and dignity: Where are we now, and where are we going from here? What have been some of the most bold push backs to the criminalization of immigrants? Tell us about collective actions from immigrant communities. We’re looking for illustrative, character-driven, myth-busting stories. Myth: most undocumented immigrants cross the southern border and thus a wall is needed. Fact: most immigrants travel by air or overstay their visas. Take a look at the Netflix series, Adam Ruins Everything, immigration episode for creative ways to illustrate the who, how, and why. The larger historical context in that piece is very Making Contact-ish, so bring on the historical, political, and economic context.

We’re also seeking stories on climate refugees, how rising seas and temperatures have forced people to move and how the world is responding to such an unprecedented mass migration.

Cannabis Capital

Pre-Legalization of Marijuana, millions were sentenced. What should happen to those who have drug convictions now that it’s legal in several states?  How are folks organizing to provide former convicted dealers access to the growing marijuana industry, and how are individuals organizing to challenge racial exclusion within the cannabis industry? How has the growth of the marijuana industry isolated disenfranchised communities and forced displacement? Also we're looking for segments that explore the benefits of medical cannabis and how cannabis is used to assist individuals suffering from conditions that have not responded to conventional medicine.

Finally, how will legalization change the conditions of people growing, harvesting and cutting marijuana. For instance, how will legalization make it safer for women harvesting in remote areas? Or, how will it impact people who currently sell marijuana illegally but turn a profit in areas where other jobs are not easily accessible?

LGBTQ – Queer Resistance

  • The Stonewall rebellion – 50 years later, how far have we really come?

  • Black Queer Resistance & Leadership. (Two of the three founders of Black Live Matters are queer-identified, as an example)

  • How do queer and trans issues correlate with organizing and resistance?

  • How does state violence specifically impact queer folks of color?

We’re interested in segment pitches that explore the negotiation of gender and performance. A sound-rich piece that examines societal norms and gender roles that suggest a person is either masculine looking/acting or feminine versus being allowed to just be.


We’re also interested in exploring the complex and intersectional nature of queer marginalization in rural or urban spaces.  How do people involved in the envisioning and planning of cities contribute to the social movements still fighting for change and justice? FIERCE's campaign for a queer youth center in the West Village and the Audre Lorde Project’s Safe Neighborhood Campaign in Bedford-Stuyvesant are examples.


More than 50 countries carry maximum sentences for homosexuality or homosexual behavior. Another LGBTQ topic of interest is exploring countries that criminalize homosexuality and the various ways queer people in those spaces navigate the law and organize to challenge homophobia. Take a look at The Guardian article, “Brazil’s fearful LGBT community prepares for a “proud homophobe,” for examples of resistance against anti-gay fundamentalism.



Growing Fascism

Fascism is a term thrown about a lot these days, especially with the rise of white nationalism. But, what does fascism mean and how is it affecting our lives, and our government? We're seeking pitches that can talk about the rise in fascism in the US and why it’s happening. Does Trump play a role? Is it the internet? Or, are the answers more complex? What's the link between what's happening here in the US and what's been happening in Europe? What can we learn from how organizers have fought fascism in the past, and how they're currently fighting across the globe? Finally, how have governments tried to limit or even criminalize protest as a way to stifle dissent?


Medicare for All

As it stands in the United States, health care is a privilege and not a right. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders presented the idea of a single national health insurance program for all Americans. Now, with several Democrats pushing the conversation forward how far are we from having health care for all? Should it be framed as a political issue debated among party-lines or as a basic human right? We’d be interested in hearing from people who are struggling to pay for unexpected medical bills and provide health care for their families.



Positive Resilience, Domestically and Internationally

We’re looking for stories that break out of the gloom and doom, make policy discussions accessible, and give us a glimpse of people coming together to take steps now.  Pitch us stories about various bottom-up and grassroots organizing methods and tactics against privatization, land grabs, military presence, economic experiments.



Please submit a pitch to by Thursday, January 31, 2019. All submissions will be viewed, but due to the number of submissions, it may take as long as 2 to 3 weeks for a response. Be sure to include a short bio/description of your journalistic experience and a link to 1-2 long-form audio pieces or written articles.

Please see our submission guidelines for more info and pay rates. A reminder: we are happy to review already produced radio pieces or podcast episodes and we don’t require exclusives.

upcoming courses from @WritingPadUS

Hey FC folks – happy new year! Here's the latest from Writing Pad – check it out!





David Weinberg is a Los Angeles based journalist and radio producer. His stories have been featured on 99% Invisible, Radiolab, The World, Love and Radio the BBC. He was a staff reporter at Marketplace and is currently a reporter at KCRW and host of the podcast Welcome to LA. His story "Grace of the Sea" was named "One of the 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2015" by The Atlantic and his feature about an underground french fry maverick won a national Edward R. Murrow for best feature reporting in 2017. His print work has been published in The New York Times.


Through informative craft lectures, in-class writing exercises, deconstructing successful podcasts and hands-on technical training you will learn how top tier shows are developed, researched, written, and produced. In addition, you will explore tools of the trade such as interviewing techniques, audio editing basics, use of archival audio, miking and field recording techniques. By the end of the class you will have thoroughly developed an idea for your own podcast and have at least a solid outline of your pilot episode plus a recording of a short teaser. Pulitzer not included.


Class deets:


PODCASTING w/ David Weinberg (99% Invisible, Radiolab, KCRW)–Wed. 1/30 1 SPOT!
Jan 30, Feb 6, Feb 13, Feb 20, Feb 27 (5 Wednesdays, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM) LA – East




David's an a-list journalist and podcaster. He hosts & produces the Murrow-award winning The Intersection Podcast. He is a Managing Editor at KALW, supervising journalists and manages the fellows. He cut his teeth as a KALW Fellow & prolific journalist who has contributed pieces to NY TimesSalon & Might. Most recently, he's a finalist in Current’s Local That Works contest and received grants from California Humanities and the San Francisco Arts Commission. It's a rare opportunity to learn radio journalism & tech from a pro (who could help you get hired or get a fellowship)!


In this class, you'll take your podcast from a teaser & pilot script to a launched series. Topics include: season and episode structure, advanced interviewing methods, next-level tape management & recording skills & tightening episodes. By the end of the class you will have thoroughly developed an idea for your own podcast and have a solid rough cut of an episode by the end of class and the tools to finish many more.

10 students got on the radioon Unfictional1 on All Things Considered from our radio journalism classes. After taking podcasting classes, 3 students were recently hired as podcast producers: 1 for Pandora, 1 on The RFK Tapes and Freakonomics, 1 on NPR's Unfictional!

Class deets:

PODCASTING 2 w/ David Boyer (KALW, award-winning podcast)–Wed. 1/30/19. 1 SPOT!
Jan 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27 (5 Wed.) 7-10pm.

Prerequisites: Podcasting 1 at Writing Pad or elsewhere (if you haven't taken Podcasting 1, please email a sample to for review).