We’re thrilled to welcome Ashley Flowers to our esteemed Judging Academy! From a background in STEM, Flowers dove into the world of digital media in 2017 with her breakout podcast, “Crime Junkie”—the same year she founded her renowned podcast network audiochuck. The true-crime show was an instant hit, loved by audiences across the web for bone-chilling deep dives into cold cases.
Within a year, the podcast was named one of the best true crime podcasts of 2018 by Rolling Stone. In 2023, audiochuck was named Adweek’s Podcast Network of the Year. Flowers’ expertise in audio storytelling drives the production of audiochuck’s suite of crime podcasts, including “Anatomy of Murder,” “The Deck” and “Dark Arenas.”
As one of our newest jurors, we spoke with Flowers to get a closer look at the expertise she’s bringing to the Academy and what she’s expecting to see among entries in the 28th Annual Webby Awards. Read on for a peek at what’s on her rubric for this year’s competition.
For those who don’t know, tell us a little about your background.
I’ve changed course a few times in life already. After graduating from ASU with a degree in biological sciences, I went on to work at the University of Notre Dame doing genetics research.
I then worked for a medical device startup and eventually moved to the world of custom software before finding my home in media. I founded audiochuck in October of 2017 and launched the first episode of our first show (Crime Junkie) two months later. Since then, we’ve developed a slate of shows, a number of which I host including Crime Junkie, The Deck, and The Deck Investigates. As the Founder and CCO of our company, I help to guide major creative decisions across different mediums. I’ve been fortunate to find amazing people to work with and now our team of 50, based in Indianapolis, are leading the way in podcasting and the true crime genre.
What particular expertise are you bringing to the Academy?
I bring deep knowledge of the audio experience as a whole. An immersive audio-first experience is one that captivates through storytelling but appeals to every aspect of the sense–the soundscapes in the background, the intonation, and the production quality.
What are you most looking forward to about the 28th Annual Webby Awards? What are some new or fresh ways you’re excited to see entrants harness the Internet and technology?
I’m excited to see entrants who champion the underdogs. To me, this means supporting those who often go unnoticed by the mainstream media platform (e.g. social media platforms, news reporting, audio selection). As an independent company, I started audiochuck as the underdog myself, so I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help give recognition to other amazing independents.
What’s on your rubric for this year’s competition? What are you looking for among entries?
The Internet is known for being visual-first. In this year’s entries, I’m looking for content that leans into the other senses. Audio-first is of course the one I am the most interested in.
I want to see entries that think about innovative ways to solve problems. I am also keeping an eye out for those who are thinking about advocacy through a new lens.
If you had one tip, or a piece of advice for this year’s entrants, what would it be?
Let your ideas speak for themselves and tell your stories in a way that’s uniquely you. Your ingenuity and innovation will come through to us naturally. As long as you believe in what you’re submitting, we will too!
The Final Entry Deadline for the 28th Annual Webby Awards is Approaching!
If you’re crafting work in the podcast and audio space, even across the range of digital media, it belongs on the Webby stage. The Webby Awards has honored the best and most talented digital creatives since 1997. When you enter, you get the chance to show your network and the industry that your work is number one in its field. Participating is your opportunity to showcase that you’re ahead of the curve and shaping the Internet’s future.
Don’t miss the Final Entry Deadline! To shine a global spotlight on your projects, enter the 28th Annual Webby Awards by Friday, December 15th.