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John Peel wins top radio award

ONE OF Radio 4's most controversial new programmes received an award yesterday when John Peel was named radio broadcaster of the year by the Television and Radio Industries Club.

Peel, 60, who received an OBE for services to broadcasting last year, won the award for his Saturday morning programme Home Truths. The programme, a light-hearted look at domestic life, was slated by critics of Radio 4's new schedule as a programme "about nothing" when it launched last year.

"I am jolly pleased to have won," Peel said at the award ceremony in London yesterday.

"Initially the programme was cited as a classic example of Radio 4 `dumbing down'. I think there was a sharp intake of breath in some quarters at the thought of a Radio 1 DJ coming over to Radio 4."

Another winner was Trevor McDonald who was namednewscaster of the year for his work on ITN's now-defunct News at Ten programme.

In his acceptance speech McDonald criticised Channel 5 for moving its evening news to 6pm and running an advertising campaign claiming that his new 6.30 ITV bulletin repeated Channel 5's stories.

Johnny Vaughan, presenter of The Big Breakfast, was named commercial television broadcaster of the year, while The Big Breakfast itself was named Channel 4 programme of the year.