Wednesday, 14 May 2008

"If Winning isn't Everything, Why do they Keep Score?" - Sony Awards 2008

The starter was a nice warm vegetarian tart of some description… the main course was lamb… (I think) … and frankly the desert could have been anything, as by that stage a good quantity of the ‘table wine’ had been consumed!

I’m of course referring to the obligatory meal that accompanies UK radio’s annual back-slapping fiesta, otherwise known as the Sony Radio Academy Awards, or Sonys… or as most of the newspapers like to call them, the ‘Radio Oscars’! (It helps people understand it’s an awards ceremony I believe!)

The BBC traditionally does very well in these awards for 2 reasons. First, they make really good programmes and second, they don’t have much competition in areas such as drama and features and their news output is plentiful to say the least. This year didn’t disappoint for them, with the Beeb picking up around twice as many Gold Awards than the commercial sector.

A glut of famous names picked up some top awards, Jonathan Ross (who’d obviously been tipped off because he doesn’t turn up if he doesn’t win!) for Music Radio Personality, Russell Brand (who’s show I’m now warming to) for Entertainment Award… and Chris Moyles for Breakfast Show. His speech was a little like his show… very funny in parts, but there was no-one there to say ‘enough… move on!’ Even host Paul Gambaccini was unnaturally lenient in allowing the ceremony to drag on endlessly as Chris introduced his team one by one. Mind you, as he said himself, he’s unlikely to be there again, so he’ll make the most of it. The presentation of the award by his Mum and Dad was either really quite a sweet moment that brought a tear to the eye, or a hideously naff stunt designed to create a very crass ‘This Is Your Life’ moment onstage. You can watch it again and make your own mind up!

Commercial Radio did well in categories more suited to it’s natural home, like The Competition Award, Promo Award and Community Award which was picked up by Capital’s rather wonderful ‘Lights Out London’ initiative. Two awards that are normally very dominated by the BBC are Music Broadcaster of the Year and Specialist Music Award… but it was nice to see that the former went to Andi Durrant of the Galaxy Network, and the later to Krystle, a DJ I had the natural foresight and wisdom (!!!) to put on the air several year ago when I was PD at Forth. Being mentioned in her acceptance speech was really lovely and I have no doubt she’ll move on to bigger and better things in the years ahead. Well done Krystle. And beating Zane Lowe is no mean feat either!!

The list of guest presenters was varied as ever ranging from Joan Collins to Christopher Biggins… Boris Johnson to Tony Benn… and a genuinely moving appearance on stage by Edwin Collins, who’s still recovering from a cerebral haemorrhage he suffered several years ago. It kinda put the whole thing into perspective for me.

Needless to say, the merriment continued after the ceremony. Why the resident DJ feels that by playing the cheesiest 70’s disco records the dance floor will fill up is still beyond me, however he persisted with ‘Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel’ and ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ until some poor 'Tape Op' wearing a rather ill-fitting dinner jacket was dragged onto the floor by a tanked up Sales Exec to begin what, at best, could be described as “shit dancing”!

And as the strains of ‘Rock the Boat’ wafted through the barmy May night, and the queue of cabs lined up hoping for an expenses funded fare to Reading, we left it for another year, safe in the knowledge that we’ll all be back again in 12 months time.

Ghandi once said that there are two kinds of people… those who work and those who take the credit. He suggested being in the first group, as there was less competition there. On the evidence of Monday night, there are plenty of people who work, and work very hard… and it was nice to see them actually get the credit for a change.

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