The Radio Academy is pleased to announce the winners of the Nations & Regions Awards 2010. The winning stations will go forward as the only entries for the Station of the Year (TSA under 300,000) category at the Sony Radio Academy Awards 2011. Three of these will be chosen as the nominations, of which one will be announced as the winner at the ceremony later in the year.
Winning Station: Central FM
Judges Comments: In these challenging economic times they are a proud independent station that offers a full programming and news service. They hold their own commercially and in RAJAR in a very tough marketplace with some strong brands circling them but deliver a hyper-local offering without the benefits and resources of a big radio group. Central FM play to their local strengths covering events from local hero Andy Murray’s Wimbledon campaign to Hogmanay at Stirling Castle to impressively ambitious local coverage of the general election. It also sounds like a fun place to work at, the jocks clearly enjoy working there and getting out and about in their TSA.
Winning Station: BBC Radio Foyle
Judges Comments: The winning station, BBC Radio Foyle, displayed a comprehensive and authentic approach in connecting with its audience during the year. The highlight of the compilation was the Saville Report news special. Journalistically sound and strong and emotionally charged, it perfectly encapsulated the atmosphere of the historic day. Able communicators Enda McClafferty and Jenny Witt painted a vivid picture for the listener of the anticipation, mood and ultimate joy of those inside and outside the Guildhall in Londonderry. It was live broadcast journalism at its best – fluid, energetic, evocative and gloriously descriptive. The Liam Wray audio diary beforehand was a good idea, giving a quite powerful insight into the inner thoughts of those directly affected by what would become a major world story.
Winning Station: The Beach
Judges Comments: For a station of such heritage it did in no way ‘rest on its laurels’ but continued to find new ways to serve its listeners and clients. On air there is clearly a passion and knowledge of the area and the team are very much integral to the east coast. The Breakfast show has an immediacy about it that creates a real buzz. It is obvious from this programme entry that the station is proud of its transmission area and has a genuine affection for the listener. We felt informed, entertained and very much part of it all.
Winning Station: Rutland Radio
Judges Comments: This station is committed to reflecting life in its local area and championing it. It manages to do it sincerely, with a real sense of fun, and engages the listener and local community in all it does. The output reflects the dedicated professionalism of a team that sounds much bigger than it is, and always delivers a strong and very local product. Presentation is slick yet fun, very personable and always engaging.
Winning Station: Resonance FM
Judges Comments: The judges felt this was the type of radio to be admired and applauded. Experimental and unique with a clear focus and raison d’être. Anyone who thinks UK radio has become bland and homogenised should listen to Resonance FM. It revels in its eclecticism, champions creativity, experiments with sound, dares to take risks, celebrates London’s vast cultural diversity and brings true meaning to the word “variety” because you genuinely have no idea what’s coming next. It offers a service not available anywhere else and London would be a poorer place without it
Winning Station: 107 Spark FM
Judges Comments: A diverse radio station run by volunteers and students, presented in a very professional way. The music is diverse and there is full range of programming, with lots of specialist music programmes. For a community station the standards were quite high, with lots of passion for local debate and music. For a station run by volunteers it’s ambitious, creative and local.
Winning Station: KCC Live
Judges Comments: KCC Live displays absolute passion in everything they do. Rough and ready at times – but everything is spot on their target audience and delivered with genuine verve. A real joy to hear so many people having so much fun. KCC’s breakfast show in particular felt just right for their student audience. This was the station with real promise.
Highly commended: Manx Radio
Winning Station: Isle of Wight Radio
Judges Comments: It is indicative of the strength of radio in the Southern region that we had five strong entries this year from both community and commercial stations all serving differing and unique communities and more impressively working to serve those communities and encourage the audience to interact or develop content.
This is a station that knows its audience, having a strong community presence and broadcasting in a balanced way to a unique demographic. This entry harnessed the power of the ultra local; showing an understanding of culture and environment, promoting local events and charities but also providing interesting and evocative features as part of the varied programming. Selected for particular commendation by the judges was the relaxed warmth and sincerity of delivery of information when dealing with subjects ranging from information in snowy climes to an impressive feature celebrating a 20 year charity walking event.
Winning Station: Bristol Community FM
Judges Comments: The judges agreed that BCFM makes a worthwhile contribution to the needs of a varied and widely diverse local audience. We applaud the aims and ambition of the station, and we appreciate the inclusion of voices from widely ranging ages, cultural background and levels of experience in a schedule that reflects the rich mix of Bristol’s inner city population. We were also impressed by the number of volunteers who have worked and received training with the station, and appreciated hearing some of their voices.
Highly commended: BBC Jersey
Judges Comments: BBC Jersey narrowly lost out to BCFM. The judges particularly commended the item on the Park Life Choir, which was a sensitive and skilful piece of radio.
Winning Station: 97.2 Stray FM
Judges Comments: A fun, bright, lively station which sounds like it knows its patch and is trusted by its listeners. Stray’s entry demonstrates an impressive breadth of programming for a station of its size. The Knaresborough Bed Race reports and the Help For Heroes segment are particularly engaging. The decision to provide live coverage of the local general election count is bold and ambitious. Production is slick and its presenters warm. Its news sounds informed and most importantly local. This all adds up to a radio station which really connects with its audience.