Last night’s Sony Radio Awards at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel had a “blokeish” feel to them, according to one sniffy media website, as TalkSport took the national station of the year prize and sports broadcasting figures such as Robbie Savage, Danny Baker and Moz Dee all scooped major gongs.
BBC Radio 5’s anarchic Saturday morning knockabout, Fighting Talk, which regularly features sports journalists and SJA members such as Will Buckley, Martin Kelner and John Rawling among its panellists, won the best sports programme award, the Colin Murray-fronted show described by the judges as “Brilliantly produced and expertly presented by a host completely at home in this format. Like a modern version of old-fashioned Music Hall with a winning mix of sport and comedy.”
Fighting Talk beat BBC World Service’s Sportsworld, with BBC Radio Humberside taking the “bronze medal” for its programme about the relegation of Grimsby Town, finishing ahead of other nominees BBC 5 Live’s World Cup Breakfast and TalkSport’s Drive with Darren Gough and Adrian Durham.
TalkSport‘s station of the year award capped a triumphant year for the 11-year-old station in which it has surged to its biggest-ever audience of more than 3 million listeners. TalkSport beat BBC Radio 4 to the title, the judges saying the station had a “direction and a passion and excitement for sport that other stations often lack”.
TalkSport’s Moz Dee was praised for “exceptional leadership” when named station programmer of the year. Dee made the controversial moves by signing Russell Brand after he had been discarded by the BBC and, following their sexism row, Andy Gray and Richard Keys soon after they were dropped from Sky Sports, where they had worked as presenters and commentators for two decades.
The judges commended Dee’s work by stating, “TalkSport has grown in stature and sound. There is strong evidence of a clear strategic vision ensuring that TalkSport sounds confident and consistent at all times”.
The live sports coverage award went to another SJA member, Ian Carter, and the Radio 5 Live team for its work on the Ryder Cup triump at Celtic Manor.
The “rising star award” went to Robbie Savage, who ended his playing career on Saturday, for his punditry and hosting of Radio 5Liver’s 606, and was voted for by listeners (although it is unlikely that Daily Mail columnist Charlie Sale would have been voting along with them).
One of 606‘s first, and many still argue the Saturday night football phone-in’s best, hosts, Danny Baker, took the speech radio personality of the year prize for his work on 5 Love and BBC Radio London, where he needed to take some time out during the past year after being diagnosed with cancer.
BBC Radio 5 Live, which will move from London to Salford later this year, took home more top prizes than any other station with six wins, including best breakfast show for its programme hosted by Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty.
UPCOMING SJA DATES
Mon Sep 12: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Click here for more details and to book yourself in for the day.
Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – note the date in your diary now.
All details subject to alteration. Keep checking sportsjournalists.co.uk for updates