Wednesday, 12 March 2008

"I'd like to thank my Mum and Dad..."

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same…”

...I mumbled to myself as they started reading out the winners of the category that my station was nominated in at The Sony Radio Academy Awards in 2004. Fortunately, that night I had scheduled an appointment with ‘Triumph’ and promptly staggered the stage and accepted the Sony Gold award from Claudia Winkleman (no less!!) and delivered a fairly drunken, but still somewhat comprehensible acceptance speech. Watching yourself projected onto a 30 foot wide screen is enough to keep any speech pretty quick and I departed with a flourish stage left, walking through the crowded auditorium shaking hands with people I’d never met before, to spend enormous amounts of my company’s money on champagne and cigars. Bravo!

This year, my role in proceedings is somewhat different but no less daunting. I’m a judge for the Sony Radio Academy Awards… an honour indeed. So last week the assorted judges for my particular category got together for several hours of heated debate.

Now of course, I cannot divulge who they were, where we met, or what category we were judging was, or even what we had for lunch. I can tell you we had 2 pots of coffee and still mineral water, but it’s all very ‘hush-hush’ you know. Careless talk costs lives and all that…

However, what was so enjoyable about the whole process was the opportunity to listen to some fantastic bits of radio from across the UK, and from across a whole range of stations. Big and small, BBC and commercial, well funded and under resourced… or did I cover that in the last comparison? UK radio may be going through a complex time and the politics and business of it all is taking centre stage, but behind that there continues to be brilliant stations with brilliant broadcasters on them, lest we forget.

Anyhow, back to the judging process… and the “big box” of entries was whittled down to a top 10… which in turn was whittled down to a top 5… which in turn was whittled down to a top 3… which in turn were placed Bronze, Silver and Gold.

The decision will remain a closely guarded secret until Monday 12th May at The Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, where inevitably Paul Gambaccini plus obligatory guest will “ the envelope please”.

I know we have a worthy winner and I’m sure they will manage a much more coherent speech than I did several years ago. But one more word of advice from Mr Kipling...

“Don’t look too good, nor talk too wise”

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