ARIAS 2020 Categories

How the ARIAS are judged

In answer to some frequently asked questions about the ARIAS judging, we’ve pulled together this list of FAQs and answers.


The qualification period is 1st July 2018 to 30th September 2019. Unless specified, all entries are open to broadcast and podcast content. You can download the full ARIAS Rubrics here. Categories are as follows:

1. Best New Presenter
This award celebrates an individual presenter who represents an important new voice in radio/audio.

2. Best New Show
This award is for the very best new show or podcast. Entries may be completely new shows or a complete refresh of an existing show.

3. Best News Coverage
This award recognises outstanding journalism. Submissions can include coverage of breaking news stories, ongoing coverage of news events, extended news bulletins, original journalism, either of an individual story or as a portfolio of work over the period, or a deeper investigation into a news story.

4. Best Speech Breakfast Show
This award celebrates the best of speech based weekday or weekend breakfast shows. Qualifying shows will need to demonstrate an overall editorial output that is typically at least 50% speech based.

5. Best Speech Presenter
This award celebrates presenter(s) who predominantly host speech-based shows (including broadcast radio and streamed and podcast audio). Judges would not normally expect to see presenters known for their work at breakfast entered in this category.

6. Best Sports Show
This award is for a regularly scheduled show or one-off programme or podcast that really knows how to draw listeners in to the sporting world. This may be through the power of commentary, analysis, conversation, interactivity or covering sport in its broadest context.

7. Best Coverage of an Event
This category is for the creative and clever coverage of a pre-planned and organized event. Typical examples might include a music concert, a state occasion or a sporting event.

8. Funniest Show
This award is for regular shows or one-off programmes, including comedy, quiz or other entertainment programming, on any platform, that makes listeners smile or laugh out loud.

9. Best Music Breakfast Show
This award recognises outstanding music-based weekday or weekend breakfast shows. Qualifying shows will need to demonstrate an editorial output that is at least 40% music.

10. Best Music Presenter
This award recognises this year’s most outstanding DJ/presenter of a music radio series or one-off programme. Judges would not normally expect to see presenters known for their work at breakfast entered in this category.

11. Best Specialist Music Show
This award will celebrate a show that lives, breathes, eats and sleeps the music to which it is devoted.

12. Best Factual – Single Programme
This award will honour a one-off documentary which takes factual storytelling to a new level.

13. Best Factual – Series
This award will honour a documentary series which takes factual storytelling to a new level.

14. Best Independent Podcast
This award celebrates single audio shows or series created by independent podcasters for online distribution. Note, this category is not open to broadcast radio content or content made by terrestrial licence holders.

15. Best Fictional Storytelling
This award pays tribute to the audio drama, podcast or audiobook that best transported its audience to the heart of the action, immersing listeners in an unforgettable experience that lingers long in the memory

16. Best Station Sound
This category is designed to recognise creative excellence in either a single execution or a campaign of editorial and promos/trailers that promote the station itself, a charity event, a community project or a promotion on behalf of a third-party client.

17. Best Commercial Promotion
This category recognises excellence in paid-for promotional, sponsored or brand-funded programming or creative partnerships. Entries should be from a single campaign/partnership and can include both audio and activity that stretches beyond the broadcast.

18. Best Marketing Campaign
This award recognises a creative marketing campaign that has excelled. The campaign might promote a programme, a podcast, a radio station, a network that has developed from a collection of individual stations with a more consistent output, a national radio station or a brand.

19. Best Community Programming
This category is for any community-driven output, social action initiative, campaign, programme or series that engages their audience in a positive, community-focused way.

20. Best Local Radio Show
This award is for the very best show hosted on a BBC, Commercial or Community licensed local radio station.

21. The John Myers Award for Local Station of the Year
Named after the great pioneer of local radio, this category is for a local or regional station that has captured the hearts and minds of its listeners and delivers day in, day out.

22. National Station or Network of the Year
This category celebrates the very best in UK radio and will go to the national station or network which has towered above its rivals over the last year.

23. Moment of the Year – voted by the general public
As Radio Academy Members, you are invited to submit your nominations for the best moment of audio you’ve heard this year (within the qualifying time period). The Radio Academy Trustees will create a shortlist of ten moments of the year, which will be put to a vote of the general public.