2022 At The Radio Academy – what we’ve delivered


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It’s a pleasure to pull together a blog post looking back at The Radio Academy in the past year.  I’m really proud of the exciting new things we’ve delivered for our Members in the past 12 months, which have continued to focus on the mission that I and the Trustees set out a few years ago – to make sure we offer something for everybody, at every stage of their radio and audio journey.

The Radio Academy Mentoring Programme

In 2021’s version of this blog post, I outlined the launch phase of RAMP, which had involved a competitive application process for 20 places on this brand-new scheme.  I’m delighted to update a year later that RAMP 2022 was a huge success, with a vibrant and enthusiastic group of RAMPers variously describing the programme as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, “a brilliant and intense opportunity” and “the most valuable experience that I could have asked for”.  One RAMPer summed it up as “a turbo charged radio rocket booster to take it to the next level” – which I think is a brilliant description. 

The 2022 cohort, at the RAMP Graduation ceremony held at BBC Broadcasting House in June
The 2022 cohort, at the RAMP Graduation ceremony held at BBC Broadcasting House in June

As well as the one-to-one connection with an industry leading mentor, I was moved by how supportive the cohort were and continue to be for each other.  They met once a week for six months, and now maintain a supportive professional community, to be each others’ sounding boards, cheerleaders, and troubleshooters.  RAMP continues in 2023 – with the support once again of Broadcast Bionics.  The new cohort were selected this Autumn, and kick off their programme in January.

Training Days, across the UK

One initiative I was very keen to get off the ground in 2022 was this programme of learning events for grassroots radio and audio people, around the UK.  We held three Radio Academy Training Days in 2022 – in Exeter, Coventry and London – with more than 300 delegates benefitting from the expertise of leading industry figures sharing their knowledge and advice about the industry.  

Delegates at The Radio Academy Training Day in Coventry May 2022
Delegates at The Radio Academy Training Day in Coventry May 2022

I was delighted to see so many people of all ages and backgrounds from community, student and hospital radio attending, and I’m so gratefully for the pros that gave up their time to share their stories and answer questions.  In 2023 we hope to hold training days in the Nations and the North of England.

The Radio Academy Podcast

Our mission is to promote excellence in radio and audio, and sharing knowledge is an excellent way to do this.  I firmly believe that a rising tide floats all boats, and hearing about other people’s successful journeys and what they learnt along the way, is such a good way to learn. That’s exactly the purpose of The Radio Academy Podcast – every week, it gets under the skin of a recent hit radio or podcast project, by hearing from its producers about how it was made.  

A selection of Radio Academy Podcast covers
A selection of Radio Academy Podcast covers

We’re more than 40 episodes in now, and there’s a terrific back catalogue of brilliant stories –  from local radio journalists, national radio producers, award-winning podcasters, invaluable community radio broadcasters, and the occasional superstar DJ too. My thanks go to launch host/producer Roisin Hastie, and Christian Hewgill who has been covering her maternity leave.  It really is the most fascinating 20 minutes every week, so I strongly recommend a subscribe.  

The Radio Academy Festival

Having held two virtual festivals during the pandemic, it was so exciting to hold a full in-person Festival in London in 2022.  At our new home of The Royal College of Physicians in Regents Park we held a super-stimulating day of talks across three stages, with more than 400 delegates in attendance.  More than 50 talks are available on our website now for all members to benefit from – with stars including Michelle Visage, Jess Phillips and Eurovision’s Sam Ryder, bosses including Charlotte Moore, Richard Dawkins and Tom Connaughton, and topics covering sustainability, the metaverse, where presenters come from, and the power of community.  I’m pleased to confirm we’ll be back at the Royal College of Physicians for the Radio Academy Festival on 12 September 2023

Some of the speakers at The Radio Academy Festival 2022
Some of the speakers at The Radio Academy Festival 2022

Events and Socials

In 2022, we’ve begun a transition from Zoom events to in-person events, and have held eight such events in total during the year.  Each of these has a focus on learning and knowledge sharing – either from a great team or individual, or to discuss a burning industry topic.  All the events are available to watch on our website.

We’ve also held Summer and Christmas socials in five cities around the UK, some with guest speakers, and all offering a chance to have a drink and meeting up with colleagues. 

Nick Grimshaw in Conversation, Nov 2022
Nick Grimshaw in Conversation, Nov 2022

In 2023, we will focus on more in-person events, which offer the chance to learn as well as the intangible benefits of meeting up with industry colleagues to build your network.  Wherever we hold those events, we will continue to film the talks so that all members can benefit from the knowledge of our speakers.


The sixth Audio & Radio Industry Awards were held at The Adeplhi Theatre in London’s West End, hosted by the awesome dynamic duo of Radio 2’s Rylan and Hits Radio’s Fleur East.  25 awards were handed out, with the inaugural Pioneer Award going to Janice Long, and an unforgettable live link-up with Lyse Doucet in Ukraine.  I know that, as I type, many people are preparing their ARIAS entries for submission in the New Year.  Good luck to everyone, and I sincerely hope to be seeing you up on stage with Rylan and Fleur, who return for hosting duties in 2023.  

Rylan and Fleur East, at The ARIAS May 2022
Rylan and Fleur East, at The ARIAS May 2022

30 Under 30

Now in its 12th year, the annual scheme to recognise the “ones to watch” in our industry continues to be one of the biggest accolades a young audio practitioner can receive.  We’re grateful to ReelWorld for their continued support of 30 Under 30, and their help in making a splash on the reveal day.  You can meet the class of 2022 on our website now, and this montage of their reactions at being told the news shows quite what it means to them:

A montage of reactions from the 30 Under 30 Class of 2022
The 30 Under 30 Class of 2022
The 30 Under 30 Class of 2022


We distributed £1,700 in financial support in 2022, so that people could attend learning events around the UK, which covered tickets and travel for those that would otherwise miss out on the chance to develop their careers.  We once again did this through partnering with events including Radio TechCon, The Podcast Show, and the British Podcast Awards.  This is an area of our work that we hope to develop in 2023, to find out more about where financial support is needed, and develop processes for us to receive more donations and distribute funds where they can do good.

What else is in store for 2023?

It feels like we’ve spent a lot of the last two years reinventing The Radio Academy – the big tent poles of the year (The ARIAS, The Festival, 30 Under 30) are thriving, and we’ve added to them with more ways to share knowledge around the sector.  This means we’ve experimented with lots of new ideas, and tried out lots of things; in 2023 it’s time for some consolidation.  We’ve asked for feedback at every stage, and next year we’ll be looking at everything we do, to focus on what works well and what is valued by our members.  I and the Trustees want to make it really clear what the Radio Academy offers for everyone, at every stage of their careers.

  • There are now more than 120 videos on our website, forming a brilliant back catalogue of learning resources, and we want to make those easier to find so everyone can benefit from the wisdom they contain.  
  • We are pleased to have appointed sponsorship agency Reg & Co to support our relationships with our vital partners and sponsors, and to bring greater financial stability to our operations over the coming years.  
  • A focus for us in 2023 will be Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – something which remains incredibly important to all our members, and an area where we plan to bring in some external expertise to support the board and executive. 
  • And finally in 2023 we want to take the time to mark the 50th Anniversary of Commercial Radio… and indulge in a bit of nostalgia ourselves, as both The Radio Academy and our Awards themselves turn 40 years old.

Thank you

My thanks, and those of the board of Trustees, go to everybody that has participated in Radio Academy activity in the last year. If you were a speaker, judge, delegate, entrant, sponsor, or donor – we are so very grateful.  It’s your Radio Academy, and continues to be an honour to serve the UK audio and radio industry.  I hope you have a Merry Christmas, and look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Sam Bailey, Managing Director