Sony pulls out as sponsor of radio awards after 32 years


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The Independent Culture

Technology firm Sony has pulled out of the annual radio awards after more than three decades sponsoring the event.

Organisers of the event, regarded as the Oscars of the UK radio industry, said it will be renamed The Radio Academy Awards and a new sponsor will be announced soon.

Chairman of The Radio Academy Ben Cooper said: "The Radio Academy would like to thank Sony for their magnificent 32 year support of what has become the UK's gold standard radio awards.

"The Radio Academy Awards will continue to celebrate the very best of the UK radio industry, but the media landscape has changed radically from when the awards first launched in the 1980s offering the Academy great potential for some exciting new partnerships and ideas."

This year's event saw two awards for Radio 4's Today programme after it was named the best breakfast show and host John Humphrys won a prize in the wake of his grilling of George Entwistle which led to him quitting as BBC director-general.

Chris Bowen, from Sony United Kingdom and Ireland, said: "Sony has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with the Radio Academy Awards for over 30 years, achieving huge recognition and respect within the British radio industry during that period. The awards ceremony itself has become an outstanding event showcasing the best radio talent on the air.

"It is now time for Sony to move on and focus on other areas of the business. We wish The Radio Academy every success and we are delighted to have played our part in making these awards the most credible radio awards, not only in the UK, but worldwide."

Communications firm Orange stopped its sponsorship of the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2012 and it was privately supported for a year by groups and individuals including Cherie Blair and author Joanna Trollope, before Baileys, part of drinks giant Diageo, stepped in to sponsor the prize for three years.