Best of the Best 2019 (Part 3: Investigations)

Best of the Best is Third Coast’s annual ode to audio storytelling, taking listeners on a journey through the full breadth of what’s possible in stories made from sound. 

This episode showcases three of the winning stories from the 19th annual Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. These stories all won different awards (Skylarking, Best News Feature, and Radio Impact), but they all share a theme: investigations.

Punks, produced by Kathy Tu, co-produced by Tobin Low and Matt Collette, sound designed by Jeremy Bloom, edited by Jenny Lawton, and executive produced by Paula Szuchman for Nancy from WNYC Studios.

Winner of the 2019 Skylarking Award

A mystery story about a man, a movie, and a mad-cap adventure to unite the two.

Death in Illinois Prisons: He Didn’t Have The Death Penalty But That’s What He Got, produced by Shannon Heffernan and edited by Rob Wildeboer for WBEZ.

Winner of the 2019 Best News Feature Award

Every year, people die in Illinois prisons. Reporter Shannon Heffernan uncovered that the state hasn’t been keeping detailed records of these deaths, meaning that families couldn’t learn even the simplest details about how and why their loved one died.  

Change Intolerance, produced by Sam Fenn and Garth Mullins, co-produced by Lisa Hale, Alexander Kim, and Ryan McNeil for the podcast Crackdown, with editorial support from Laura Shaver and Chereece Keewatin.

Winner of the 2019 Radio Impact Award

In 2014, the province of British Columbia suddenly switched nearly 15,000 methadone patients to a new formulation of the drug called Methadose. Led by a team of Vancouver’s most experienced drug user activists, this story is an investigation into what happened afterwards.

You can hear all the winning stories from the 2019 Competition at

The program is made possible with support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and distributed to public radio stations by PRX.

Music in this hour by pine voc (“Let Your Household Objects Sing”), Jeevs (“Anesthesia”), VicthorA3 (“Semi Cold Night”), Niteffect (“Selfie”), and Genx Beats.

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