Gervais goes head to head with Ross for top radio entertainment award

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The Independent Online

Ricky Gervais, fresh from conquering television with his award-winning comedy, The Office, is challenging for radio glory, too.

Gervais, who appears on Xfm's breakfast show with Stephen Merchant, has been pitted against Chris Moyles from Radio 1 and Jonathan Ross on Radio 2 for the entertainment award in the Sony Radio Academy Awards, the UK's radio Oscars. Competition is expected to be fierce for the honours in what many industry old hands consider a golden year for radio. Audience figures for the medium outdid those for television.

Ross's hugely popular Radio 2 show also picked up a nomination in the music programming award against rivals including Andy Kershaw, the veteran world music fan who now broadcasts on Radio 3.

Kershaw scooped a second nomination for a special programme on Iraq in Radio 3's World Routes series, while a third Kershaw nomination went to his sister, Liz, for her breakfast show on BBC Radio Northampton.

With the BBC seeing record figures last quarter for nearly all its national stations, the battle for station of the year will be between last year's victors, Radio 2, and Radios 4 and 5 Live.

Radio 4 swept the board in the comedy section with all five nominations, for shows including Think the Unthinkable and the long-running I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. The station also gained four out of the five nominations in the drama award category.

But there was much greater diversity in fiercely fought categories such as the news coverage award, where BBC Radio Cumbria's foot-and-mouth coverage will do battle with the Leeds United trial reporting of Radio Aire and Magic 828.

Radio 5 Live earned 12 nominations in seven different categories. The commercial stations Xfm, Kiss 100 and Viking FM all scooped several nominations apiece.

A wide range of stations, from Classic FM to Vibe FM and Mercia FM, will all be looking for glory when the results are announced at the Grosvenor House hotel, London, in May.

The Sony awards are chosen by panels of industry professionals including Jo Whiley, Jon Snow and Michael Buerk.

¿The Office is in the running for further recognition after it gained two nominations in the British Academy's television awards.