Lifetime achievement award given to Alan 'Fluff' Freeman - alright?

The veteran disc jockey Alan "Fluff" Freeman was saluted with a lifetime achievement honour last night at the radio industry's biggest annual awards ceremony.

Freeman, who has graced the airwaves for four decades, was given a standing ovation as he received the prize at the Sony Radio Awards in London.

Other successes included BBC Radio 1's dance DJ Pete Tong, who lifted the Music Broadcaster Award, beating his station colleagues Tim Westwood and Jo Whiley.

The award for the best news broadcast went to BBC Radio 5 Live for its coverage of the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho last year.

Judges praised the "well-judged coverage of a major breaking story, combining eyewitness accounts with impressive analysis".

Freeman, 72, was handed his prize by Dale Winton, the broadcaster who has taken over his long-running Pick Of The Pops show on Radio 2. He said that Freeman was "a man who has served, and is held in the highest affection by, quite literally, every sector of our industry".

The Australian-born DJ, one of the pioneers when Radio 1 launched, recently gave up Pick Of The Pops because of arthritis but his love of music is undimmed. Despite his illness, his passion for work continues with his other Radio 2 show, Their Greatest Bits.

The awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel were attended by guests including Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, the actress Jenny Agutter and the horror actor Christopher Lee.

The BBC again dominated the list of winners, taking 14 out of the first 18 "gold" awards to be announced.

The winner of each category at the Sonys takes a gold award, with silver and bronze prizes going to the other nominees in each category. The actress Honor Blackman's For Your Ears Only programmes on Radio 2 took the Music Special Award.

BBC Radio Merseyside's Roger Phillips beat competition from heavyweights such as Radio 4's John Humphrys and Radio 5 Live's Andrew Neil to take the news and talk broadcaster award. Judges said: "His interview skills are very subtle yet very effective."

For Tong, who dominates his sector with his weekend shows, it was the second year running that he had won a Sony. Judges said: "Pete Tong has redefined dance music radio, making it the new pop with his cool, credible and alternative style."

Radio 4 took four titles - the Speech Award, Short Form Award, the Drama Award and Feature Award.

Jonathan Ross celebrated the first year of his Radio 2 show by taking the national music presentation award.

Among the private-sector winners was the Bam Bam Breakfast show of Kiss 100, which lifted the music presentation award for stations with up to 12 million listeners.

The entertainment award also marked a commercial success, as it was taken by the Jon & Andy show on 103.2 Power FM.

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