Best Fancast: Awarded for any non-professional audio- or video-casting with at least four (4) episodes that had at least one (1) episode released in the previous calendar year.
As with the previous two categories, Best Fancast relies heavily on the interpretation of the definition of Professional:
Some Hugo categories (Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Artist, Best Semiprozine, and Best Fanzine) are defined by whether the work done was professional, semi-professional, or fannish. The definition of what is a “professional” publication is somewhat technical. A professional publication either (1) provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or, (2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.
Essentially, this award is the media equivalent of the Best Fan Artist and Best Fan Writer awards, with the provision that it actually be episodic (apparently one-off items produced by people who don’t meet the definition have to compete with the big money that’s usually behind the creators of the Best Dramatic Presentation (Long and Short Form) awards. Well, nobody said award categories had to meet my standards of logical.
(I should mention I’m typing this on my backup system without any of my bookmarks, saved logins, regularly open tabs or anything like that. Thank you main system for making a nasty noise and dying yesterday. I really wanted a replacement computer. Not.)
So. What counts? If you watched it on TV it almost certainly doesn’t. If you watched it on YouTube or any of the similar sites, it might or might not. It’s not clear if a massively popular YouTube series funded by advertising or a series funded by multiple donations (or, for that matter, an indie game series funded by donations) would be considered professional or not. I lean to “not” unless the thing is paying its creator(s) a decent amount. Decent still being rather subjective, but I ain’t asking anyone if they’re making more than a quarter their annual income from their YouTube video series or from their audio series.
I’ll note here that “non-professional” does not and should not mean “low production standards”. That said, this category is rather more forgiving of flaky participant audio than the professional categories would be.
Some examples I like: Honey Badger Radio have what sounds like an open discussion format but is rather more structured behind the scenes to ensure that all their participants get a chance to have their say (yes, I’ve been a participant – that doesn’t mean I’d consider the episodes I was in are necessarily their best ones). WrongFun has nice production values and a humorous look at the issues in SF. And some awesome guests.
Sadly, I haven’t had the time to go looking for more potential nominees, but I’m sure everyone here has their personal favorites that they can add. Just go to the Sad Puppies 4 Recommendations Page and add your entry. It might be a few days before I get your additions out of moderation prison (thank you ever so much soon-to-be-former-main-computer) but it will happen.