A community radio producer is urging fellow community and non-commercial radio stations to boycott the Sony Radio Academy Awards in the future, ahead of tonight's event, saying they are not a true reflection of the industry.
Debbie Bridge, a radio producer for Radio Reverb in Brighton says the entry fee for the Sony Awards discourages some of the smaller radio stations from participating which in itself makes the Awards biased towards the larger stations.
For those smaller radio stations who have entered, Debbie feels the Awards have 'taken the money and run', concentrating solely on commercial, BBC and larger radio stations which pull in bigger audiences and give the Awards a stronger marketing position.
'Given the talent at a non-commercial level, it is very surprising and disappointing that not one non-commercial or community radio station has made it to the finals,' comments Debbie. 'Contrary to the Sony Awards claim, smaller radio stations do not appear to get a look in at these awards, and I would advise anyone from a community or non-commercial radio station not to waste their money with the entrance fee.'
However, Tim Blackmore, chairman of the Awards committee said: "I certainly sympathise with Debbie’s point and recognise that stations with small budgets must plan their expenditure even more strategically than their larger colleagues.
"In 1983 The Sonys were established to celebrate the work of professional broadcasters but over the years not only has the range of UK radio expanded, but as they’ve come into being so people involved in Community stations and student stations for instance have asked that their work be eligible for inclusion."
Tim continues: "In 2006, Resonance FM were nominated in the Community category but in an awards scheme that regularly pits David against Goliath, the general outcome is as Debbie observes. As it happens, the Awards Secretariat are currently involved in discussions to see what possibilities exist for a greater involvement by smaller stations."
The awards take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London this evening when special celebrity guests and nominated stations are expected to attend.
RadioToday.co.uk will be live from the venue with updates throughout the evening, and special photos galleries.