Song Awards 2013: Record-breaking tenth gold for radio DJ Christian O’Connell


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The Independent Culture

Christian O’Connell has become the first radio presenter to win 10 gold Sony awards, the sector’s most prestigious accolade.

O’Connell was named Music Radio Personality of the Year on Monday night at this year’s Sonys, which were held at the Grosvenor House hotel in London. His programme, “The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show” on Absolute Radio, was given a Gold award in the Best Use of Branded Content category.

The two trophies mean that O’Connell, 40, has amassed ten awards since he won Gold in the Breakfast Show of the Year category in 2003, when he was working at the indie rock station Xfm.

The awards underline O’Connell’s position as one of the biggest stars of Britain’s commercial radio sector. Aside from a brief weekend spell on Radio 5 Live, he has built his career outside of BBC Radio.

The London Olympics helped make 2012 a momentous time for Radio 5 Live, which was named Station of the Year and won Gold awards for Best Sports Programme and Best Coverage of Live Event for its work at the games.

Danny Baker, the Radio 5 Live presenter and occasional outspoken critic of BBC management, won further recognition from the industry as he won a Gold award for Best Entertainment Programme.

The BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme had a successful evening as it was named Breakfast Show of the Year, beating off competition from O’Connell and BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans. Veteran “Today” presenter John Humphrys collected a Gold award in the category for “Radio Journalism of the Year”.

Eddie Mair, who has recently won plaudits for his television presenting on “Newsnight” and as a stand-in on BBC1’s “The Andrew Marr Show”, was named Speech Radio Broadcaster of the Year for his work hosting “PM” on BBC Radio 4.

But there were relatively few prizes for BBC Radio 2, despite its popularity with audiences and its dominance of the industry Rajar ratings surveys last year. Its proudest moment on the night was Dermot O’Leary’s success in the Best Music Programme category, where he was chosen ahead of such rivals as Jarvis Cocker and Lauren Laverne of BBC 6 Music, Ronnie Wood of Absolute Radio and Zane Lowe of BBC Radio 1.

Another BBC Radio 6 Music presenter, Steve Lamacq, was given a Special Award for his services to the British radio industry.