The nominations for the 2006 Sony Radio Academy Awards were announced live this evening at a launch party held at The Vinyl Factory in central London. The winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards for the 29 categories will be announced on the evening of Monday 8 May from Grosvenor House, Park Lane.
The 2006 nominations were selected from over 1400 entries across all sectors of UK radio, and caused much surprise and excitement, as new faces from local and commercial radio pipped more established names to secure those sought after nominations.
Nowhere was this more apparent than in the blue riband category of The Breakfast Show Award which was dominated by commercial radio, the five nominations being MacDonald & Maguire – Magic 1152, Nick Ferrari – LBC 97.3, Toolan in the Morning – Key 103, Wes at Breakfast – Galaxy Manchester and the only national station, The Today Programme – Radio 4.
Organisers and judges of the Sony?s commented on the rude good health and sheer diversity of UK radio, as illustrated by the entries received from both the commercial sector and the BBC, and from a wide geographical spread: from Isle of Wight Radio, to Radio Clyde, and Beacon Radio to local BBC stations in Norfolk, Oxford, Shropshire, Wales and Ulster.
The battle for The Entertainment Award is a heavyweight contest between ?comeback kid? Chris Evans – Radio 2, Chris Moyles – Radio 1, who is yet to win Sony Gold, Danny Baker – BBC London 94.9, Radio 2?s Jonathan Ross and Ugly Phil – Kerrang!105.2 West Midlands.
Lauren Laverne at XFM has proved to be a formidable broadcaster and takes on the boys for the highly prized Music Radio Personality of the Year. Challenging her for Gold are Chris Evans, receiving his second 2006 nomination, Jamie Theakston London?s Heart 106.2, Marc Riley – BBC 6 Music and Virgin Radio?s Tim Lovejoy.
This year?s Sony nominations have once again shown the strength, quality and popularity of local radio. Kerrang! 105.2 and XFM gain an impressive six nominations each, with Galaxy, Real Radio Yorkshire and BBC Radio Ulster all receiving four.
This year commercial radio has shown that they are achieving success in a wide range of award categories, for example Viking FM and Real Radio Yorkshire contest both The News & Current Affairs Programme Award and The News Feature Award.
Despite 2006 being the year of the newcomer, former BBC Sony award winners such as Andy Kershaw – Radio 3 and Tim Westwood ? Radio 1 also picked up nominations, along with Zane Lowe – Radio 1 and Eddie Mair – Radio 4, both of whom gained two, along with Scott Mills from Radio 1.
Radio showed its power as a medium for reporting hard news with The Breaking News Award, contested by GCap Media News for Capital Radio for its report The London Bombings, The Death & Funeral of Pope John Paul II – Radio 4, The Demise of Rover at Longbridge – Radio 4, Glazer and Manchester United – Key 103 and The Death of The Pope – Radio Five Live.
The five Station of the Year categories have produced some intriguing and diverse contests, with Coast 96.3, Isle of Wight Radio and The New Fire 107.6FM fighting for coastal supremacy in the category ?with a potential audience of under 300,000.? In the ?potential audience of 1 million plus,? BBC Radio Ulster are pitted against Choice FM London and Kerrang! 105.2 West Midlands. The Digital Terrestrial category has last year?s winner, Capital Disney against 1Xtra and Planet Rock. As this was the first year that radio ?brands? could be considered in the mighty UK Station of the Year category, all eyes will be on XFM, as they enter their ?David and Goliath? battle with BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2.
Tim Blackmore, Chairman of the Sony Radio Academy Awards Committee, said: “The accelerating rate of change within our industry is reflected in the way these awards have kept pace across almost a quarter of a century. The enthusiastic support for ?The Sony?s? from all sectors of UK radio is evidenced by an outstanding year in which the overall number of entries has increased, alongside a significant increase in support from our local and regional broadcasters.”
The 2006 Sony Radio Academy Awards were judged by over 100 industry professionals, each chosen for their broadcasting expertise. Considering radio from across the whole of the UK, the judges were required to reach their decisions based solely on the content of the entry actually submitted, and not on the basis of any wider knowledge they may have. One of the enduring appeals of the Sony Radio Academy Awards is that they evaluate local radio against network radio, ensuring that every level of professional radio has an opportunity to shine.
The 2006 Gold Award and the Special Award are in the gift of the Committee and will be presented at the awards ceremony on 8 May.