The Whicker’s World Foundation has launched a new radio award in memory of journalist Alan Whicker.
The RAFA – Radio & Audio Funding Award – goes live today with two winners getting recognised and prizes of £5,000, and £2,000 for the pitch for the best audio documentary idea that meets the Whicker’ World Foundation Criteria. The best five will be invited to a pitch event in March 2017.
The essence of the criteria for this is to be personal with emphasis on strong, original story telling and creative use of the medium. The panel of judges will be looking for imaginative storytelling, either breaking new ground or taking a familiar path in a new and innovative direction.
Valerie Kleeman, Whicker’s partner in life and work for over 40 years, said: “Alan was well aware that he had been lucky enough to start working at a time when serious journalism was respected and presenters given the freedom to fashion their own programmes. He and his colleagues were writing the grammar of what was to follow; they were given support and opportunities and often allowed to learn on the job. He was aware that this scenario is not replicated today; money is scarce and commissioners are reluctant to green light without a celebrity name fronting a subject with which they often have little connection. Alan, who felt the best shot of himself was the back of his head, abhorred this trend. He was apolitical; he sought to intrigue and stimulate but not to influence. He strived to uncover the unusual as well as entertain. Above all he was a writer and observer who wrote and filmed what he saw. At the Foundation we seek to use Alan’s legacy to further his vision and to help those with talent to take the first step up a ladder which is increasingly difficult to climb.”
Whicker’s broadcasting career began in radio and he went on to join Radio 2 in the late 1990s, adding what Jim Moir, the then Controller, described as “Great lustre to my network”. Alan was an avid fan of radio documentary and told the press he wanted to return to it because, unlike TV, it didn’t ‘dumb down’ – radio and ‘assumed an intelligent audience’. Alan Whicker’s passion continues into new generations with awards such as RAFA, created to empower emerging talent.
There’s no fee to enter with applications to be made online.