Jenni Murray wins Gold Sony Radio Award in UK

The gold, silver and bronze winners of the Sony Radio Academy Awards, the UK’s most prestigious radio accolades, have been announced at a ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, hosted by Chris Evans.  In addition to the 36 Award categories, the Academy bestowed the Special Award to legendary Annie Nightingale and The Gold Award to the inimitable Jenni Murray.


This year’s ceremony, celebrating 30 years of excellence in radio, reflected a great year for talk radio, especially in the sporting arena.  talkSPORT scored its first ever win in the Station of the Year category. The station’s Controller Moz Dee was crowned Station Programmer of the Year and ‘FIFA World Cup 2010’ won gold for Best Promotional/Advertising Campaign. 

The judges observed: “Moz has shown exceptional leadership this year as talkSPORT has grown in stature and sound.” 

Sporting rival BBC Radio Five live also had lots to cheer about winning a total of six golds, the highest number for any BBC station.  Star strikers for Five live, were Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty carrying off the hotly contested Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus) with the judges commenting: “This is truly populist radio, created by Gold standard journalists”, Colin Murray’s ‘Fighting Talk’ making him number one for Best Sports Program and triple nominee, Victoria Derbyshire, taking the honours in Best News & Current Affairs Program.

The judges said of Special Award winner Annie Nightingale: “In recognition of more than 40 years of exceptional broadcasting including her breakthrough achievements, her championship of the new, and the inspiration she has given to music makers and broadcasters alike.”

Gold Award winner Jenni Murray was lauded “for a career of exemplary broadcasting, for her incisive yet sensitive interviewing skills, her championship of the woman’s perspective and the inspiration she has given to others.”

Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine was the evening’s sole double gold winner, topping the podium for both Speech Broadcaster of the Year and Best Interview of the Year, with the citation saying: “A broadcaster at the top of his trade, with intimate knowledge of his subject, he dissects Gordon Brown then uses the infamous ‘”She’s a bigot” tape to hammer home the final nail in the prime-ministerial coffin.”  

A Rolling Stone gathered a Gold with Absolute Radio’s Ronnie Wood’s winning riff as Music Radio Personality of the Year. Frank Skinner beat Moyles and Westwood to Best Entertainment Program, two of three Golds , three Silvers and a Bronze for a beaming Absolute Radio. And Radio 1’s Zane Lowe added ‘ record-breaker’ to his job description as he took his fourth Gold for Music Broadcaster of the Year.

One of the most popular winners on the night was BBC London 94.9’s and 5 live’s Danny Baker, who became Speech Radio Personality of the Year, for being “A true original.  A personality who’s found new and innovative ways to use the techniques of radio, whether he’s delivering a unique verbal barrage or creating an endless stream of compelling ideas….” Turning base metal into Gold was physicist Brian Cox for Radio 4 in Best Speech Program, and there was more excitement for the Station as Matthew Price got the nod for News Journalist of the Year.  

Others with that winning feeling were Absolute Radio’s Annabel Port, who became Best On-Air Contributor with the judges praising her as “A naturally funny storyteller whose contributions are hugely entertaining and perfectly pitched.” Also BBC Wiltshire’s Graham Mack, for Breakfast Show of the Year (under 10 million), Radio 2’s Simon Mayo for Best Music Program and Radio 3’s Jez Nelson for Best Specialist Music Program. BBC Radio 5 live presenter Robbie Savage walked away with this year’s Sony DAB Rising Star Award, the night’s only people’s choice award, with Robbie Savage rallying the support of listeners to receive thousands of votes – the most in the awards history – to secure him the title.

Radio stations the length and breadth of the country were honoured throughout the night, including an impressive win for Real Radio North East in the Best News Special for ‘Raoul Moat – The Final Hours’. Central FM (103.1) took Gold for Station of the Year (Under 300,000),  BBC Radio Derby triumphed in Station of the Year (300,000 – 1 million), Gold for Station of the Year (1 million plus)  was scooped by 105.4 Real Radio North West and Digital Station of the Year was awarded to Fun Kids.

Other golden moments included Kiss 100’s win for Best Station Imaging, ‘BBC Introducing’ for Best Use of Multiplatform, BBC 6 Music’s victory in Best Music Special with TBI’s ‘The John Bonham Story’, Best Internet Program went to Answer Me This Podcast, Classic FM won Best Use of Branded Content for Alex Masterly with Towry and ‘The Jason Byrne Comedy Show’ won Best Comedy for Radio 2.

The nominations for Best Community Programming all highlighted very powerful issues, such as mental illness, prison, serving in Afghanistan and HIV, but it was BBC Radio Berkshire’s  ‘Warning: May Contain Nuts” that most impressed the judges: ‘By bringing together those with mental illness alongside stand up comedians, the station showed real integration can be achieved through laughter.”

Tim Blackmore, Chairman of the Sony Radio Academy Awards said:
“In spite of the continuing emergence of new platforms and of video ubiquity, the creative use of sound continues to attract massive and regular support from the vast majority of the British public. This is entirely down to the skills and talents of radio professionals in all sectors of the audio business and it is these awards that continue to highlight their ever impressive levels of achievement.”

Judges for the 2011 Sony Radio Academy Awards included Richard Bacon, Moz Dee, Clive Dickens, Sue Lawley, Mary Anne Hobbs, Hardeep Singh Kohli and Miranda Sawyer.


See full winners’ list, with comments, at the link below.