DJ with X-factor triumphs at the radio 'Oscars'

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The Independent Online

He introduces himself as the presenter of "the 11th most popular breakfast show in London", but the radio industry has crowned Christian O'Connell as the king of the airwaves.

The host of the breakfast show on the indie music station Xfm picked up an unrivalled three Sony awards at the British radio industry's Oscars. O'Connell, who also presents Fighting Talk for BBC Radio 5 Live, won against better-known presenters, such as Jonathan Ross and Johnny Vaughan. Other big name stars, such as Terry Wogan and Chris Moyles, did not even make it on to the list of nominees at the Sony Radio Academy Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Collecting his awards last night, O'Connell took the chance to take a swipe first at the BBC for not being "bothered" to make a show like Rock School and then at breakfast show rival Johnny Vaughan, who he compared to the Mary Poppins actor Dick Van Dyke.

The 31-year-old broadcaster landed the Breakfast Show of the Year award for the second time in three years and also won the Entertainment award and the Competition award ­ all for his Xfm show. The latter was for Rock School, an idea to encourage classroom musicians to partake in a radio version of television's Stars In Their Eyes.

His latest ruse has been Bounty Hunter, where he entices listeners to button-hole unsuspecting celebrities, such as Richard Dreyfuss, Ian McKellen and Steven Spielberg, and persuade them to call the show.

Brought up in Winchester and eschewing the media circuit embraced by many of his radio rivals, he is better known for his banter than his musical taste.

O'Connell didn't have things all his own way last night, being pipped to the DJ of the Year award by the south London master of musical trivia Danny Baker, who broadcasts on BBC London. But O'Connell could at least point out that he won that trophy last year.

Baker took delight in the irony of his award as he collected it from Roger Daltry. The presenter said he was "two years off the age of 50" yet found himself yet found himself "disc jockey of the year" for a show on which he doesn't play any records.

The big music prizes went to BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe, who picked up the Specialist Music and Music Broadcaster of the Year. The New Zealander, who also worked at Xfm, has bridged the gap between urban and rock music in his early evening show. Station of the year was won by Radio 2.

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