Radio 4 bounces back from WMD furore to win station of the year

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The Independent Online

Commercial radio beat the BBC to pick up the cream of the awards at the British radio industry's "Oscars" last night.

Commercial radio beat the BBC to pick up the cream of the awards at the British radio industry's "Oscars" last night.

Blue riband categories such as DJ of the Year, Breakfast Show of the Year and Music Broadcaster of the Year all went to independent radio stations.

But it was also a good night for BBC Radio 4 which won National Station of the Year, despite the furore sparked by the Today programme report on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that culminated in the Hutton report and the resignation of the corporation's director general, Greg Dyke, and the chairman, Gavyn Davies.

Christian O'Connell, from the independent station XFM, was chosen ahead of Chris Moyles and Jonathan Ross to win the DJ of the Year award.

The judges at the Sony Radio Academy Awards described O'Connell's show (which has an audience of 334,000) as "high octane, unmissable radio".

They said: "[He is] a DJ who is constantly innovating and pushing back the frontiers of the medium. He takes the breakfast show format, shakes it by the throat and creates a show that entertains, sometimes annoys but also excites."

The fiercely contested Breakfast Show of the Year award was won by Manchester's Key 103 station, chosen ahead of Wogan's long-running show on Radio 2. The presenters JK and Joel (Jason Griffith and Joel Hogg) have since been hired by the Radio 1 controller, Andy Parfitt.

The Music Broadcaster of the Year was Kiss FM's long-standing reggae presenter David Rodigan, who was chosen ahead of the BBC DJs Mark Goodier and Zane Lowe. "After 25 years as the leading voice in reggae music radio, David Rodigan remains as passionately committed as ever," the commendation said.

It was a great night for the Chrysalis-owned Heart FM, which was named Station of the Year for networks with an audience of more than 1 million. The London-based station's star presenters Jono Coleman and Harriet Scott also won the Entertainment Award after being described by the judges as "effortless monarchs of entertainment". Heart had made great strides in taking on London rivals such as Capital last year but figures released last week showed that its share of the London audience fell in the last quarter from 7 per cent to 5.8 per cent.

Radio 4 collected seven awards as it bounced back from the criticisms of the Andrew Gilligan story with some high-quality radio journalism and won the News Programme of the Year and News Journalist of the Year categories.

Radio Five Live also had a good night, winning seven awards, including the 2003 Award for its coverage of the final moments of the Rugby World Cup Final, including Ian Robertson's commentary: "It comes back to Jonny Wilkinson. He drops for World Cup glory. It's up! Its over. He's done it. Jonny Wilkinson is England's hero once again. And there's no time for Australia to come back. England have just won the World Cup, this is the one, he shoots for World Cup glory ... and it's too late for Australia to respond."

The Sony judges said, of Robertson (who was also named Speech Broadcaster of the Year): "He gave us the quote of the year, a quote that encapsulated one of the truly great moments of British sporting history."

Although Jonathan Ross was beaten to the DJ of the Year award by Christian O'Connell, the Radio 2 broadcaster did have the consolation of picking up the Weekly Music Show of the Year prize.

A special Gold Award was made to Johnnie Walker, the veteran Radio 2 presenter. Walker announced on air last year that he was suffering from colon cancer, and took a nine-month break from the airwaves to receive treatment before returning to work in March. His award was presented by Sir Elton John, who praised his "dedication to the cause of compelling music radio and especially of creative music makers".



Christian O' Connell (XFM)

Breakfast Show

JK and Joel (Key 103)

Entertainment Award

Jono and Harriet (Heart 106.2)

Gold Award

Johnnie Walker (BBC Radio 2)

2003 Award

Ian Robertson during Jonny Wilkinson's winning kick in the World Cup (Five Live)

Speech Broadcaster

Ian Robertson


Heart 100fm

Station programmer

John Simons (GMG)

Music Broadcast

David Rodigan (Kiss 100fm)

Weekly Music Show

Jonathan Ross (BBC Radio 2)

Daily Music Show

Ace and Invisible (BBC 1xtra)

The Speech Award

Stephen Nolan (Belfast City Beat)

The Interaction Award

Stephen Nolan (Belfast City Beat)

Station of the year

BBC Radio 4

News Programme of the Year

BBC Radio 4

News Journalist of the year

Hugh Sykes (BBC Radio 4)

Feature Award

The Archive Hour (BBC Radio 4)

Drama Award

The Loneliest Road (BBC Radio 3)

Station (digital/terrestrial)

PrimeTime Radio

The Event Award

State visit of George Bush (BBC Radio Cleveland)

The Sports Award

The Real Alex Ferguson (Radio Five Live)

Comedy Award

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Christmas Carol (Radio 4)

News Story Award

Jeremy Bowen, Capture of Saddam Hussein (Five Live)

News Programme

Crossing Continents, India (BBC current affairs for Radio 4)