ARIAS Categories 2023

Entries for the 2023 ARIAS will open on 3 January, for five weeks. The qualification period for this year's awards is 1st January 2022 to 31st December 2022. You can download the full 2023 ARIAS Rubrics here. The 2023 Categories are as follows:

Best New Presenter
This award celebrates an individual presenter who represents an important new voice in radio/audio. The judges will be looking for an outstanding new talent who dazzles with an unmatched combination of charisma, passion for the medium, determination to exploit its possibilities to their utmost potential, love for their audience and enthusiasm for the particular kind of show they present. Read more...

Best New Radio Show
This award is for the very best new radio show. The judges will be looking for a level of innovation and fresh thinking either creating a brand-new programme or revolutionising an existing format. The winner will be a show whose undisputed brilliance has caused a buzz throughout the year, making others wish they had thought of it first! Read more...

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. Standalone news programmes and news sequences within programmes are also eligible. Read more...

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. The judges will be looking at every aspect of production and presentation to find a show that constantly creates unforgettable audio/radio moments, stopping listeners in their tracks and leaving them talking about the show (in person and online) for the rest of the day. Read more...

Best Speech Presenter
This award celebrates presenter(s) who predominantly host speech-based shows (including broadcast radio and streamed and podcast audio). Qualifying entries will need to demonstrate an overall editorial output that is typically at least 50% speech-based. The judges will be looking for someone who has range and depth, who regularly creates gripping audio, who has a natural way with conversation that effortlessly draws the audience in, and which may include the ability to conduct interviews that reveal something new through questions that others would never think to ask. Read more...

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. The judges will be looking for creativity, highly skilled, knowledgeable presenter(s) and a programme that captivates, entertains and delivers for their audience. Read more...

Best Coverage of an Event
This category is for the creative and clever coverage of a pre-planned and organised event. Typical examples might include a music concert, a state occasion or a sporting event – whether organised by the entrant themselves, or a third-party event. Read more...

The Comedy Award
This award is for regular shows or one-off programmes, including speech-led light entertainment comedy programming, scripted comedy, live comedy, panel/quiz shows, on any platform, that makes listeners smile and laugh out loud. Judges will be looking at both the individual elements of shows and the way in which those parts combine to amuse and entertain the listener. Read more...

Best Music Breakfast Show, supported by MusicMaster Scheduling
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. The judges will be looking at every aspect of production and presentation to find a show that’s ‘the complete package’. This will include infectious enthusiasm from the host(s) and innovative features and interaction. Read more...

Best Music Entertainment Show
This award recognises the year's most outstanding Music Entertainment Show, for a continuing programme strand, limited series, or one-off programme. The judges will be looking for a show that perfectly balances a careful selection of mainstream programmed music (in keeping with the station’s main output) alongside moments of pure entertainment. The show will be led by a presenter or presenters that demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of their audience and an innate understanding of how to craft the perfect entertainment product. Read more...

Best Specialist Music Show
This award will celebrate a recurring show, presenter or presenting team that lives, breathes, eats and sleeps the music to which it is devoted.
The judges will be looking at every aspect of the production, music curation and presentation, to find evidence of an incredibly in-depth knowledge of the genre, and a never-ending quest to bring that music to the audience in new ways on any platform. Read more...

Best Music Special
This award will celebrate a recurring show, presenter or presenting team that lives, breathes, eats and sleeps the music to which it is devoted.
The judges will be looking at every aspect of the production, music curation and presentation, to find evidence of an incredibly in-depth knowledge of the genre, and a never-ending quest to bring that music to the audience in new ways on any platform. Read more...

Best Factual Single Programme
This award will honour a one-off documentary which takes factual storytelling to a new level.
The judges will be looking for a combination of utterly compelling audio, remarkable access to untold stories (or untold aspects of familiar events) and beautifully-crafted narrative structure which transports the listeners into the heart of a story, giving them the sense that they’re living through the action as it unfolds, moving from one location to the next as eye-witnesses to events. Read more...

Best Factual Series
This award will honour a documentary series which takes factual storytelling to a new level. The judges will be looking for a combination of utterly compelling audio, remarkable access to untold stories (or untold aspects of familiar events) and beautifully-crafted multi-episode narrative structure which transports the listeners into the heart of a story, giving them the sense that they’re living through the action as it unfolds, moving from one location to the next as eye-witnesses to events. Read more...

Best New Podcast, supported by Audible
This award celebrates the best new podcast to be launched this year. Judges will be looking for podcasts that take full advantage of the medium, that are so fresh, funny, informative, entertaining or outrageous that they always leave listeners impatient for the next episode. Important factors will include creativity in both the theme/concept for the series, as well as for the features, content and production within each show, and the way in which the podcast engages its target audience. Read more...

Best Drama
This award pays tribute to the audio drama that best transported its audience to the heart of the action, immersing listeners in an unforgettable experience that lingers long in the memory. The judges will be looking for the perfect combination of stunning performances, inspirational scripting that takes full advantage of the medium, and flawless sound design that draws listeners into the story being told. Read more...

Best Audiobook or Reading
This award pays tribute to the audiobook or reading that best transposes the written word into an audio experience. The judges will be looking for the perfect combination of stunning reading, an expertly edited script and flawless production that draws listeners into the story being told. Read more...

Best Station Sound
This category is designed to recognise creative excellence in either a single execution or a campaign of editorial, imaging, promos/trailers that promote the station itself, a charity event, a community project or a promotion on behalf of a third-party client. Judges will consider how well the audio communicates the station image, or a campaign's objectives, rewarding promotions that demonstrate outstanding creativity, innovation and impact on the audience. Read more...

Best Commercial Partnership
This category recognises excellence in paid-for promotional partnerships. This could include advertising, sponsorship, or brand-funded programming. Judges will be looking to reward entries that include compelling content and successfully address the needs or interests of the brand/partnership as well as the expectations of the audience. Read more...

The Creative Innovation Award, supported by All In Media
This category recognises the best formats, programme structures, and creative executions in audio and radio this year, that broke the conventions of their brand or station, and challenged the audience’s expectations. It is an opportunity to showcase ground-breaking new approaches to audio entertainment and storytelling, with content that amazes and inspires listeners, presented to them in ways they’ve never heard before. Read more...

The Grassroots Award
This category is for any community-driven, grassroots, social action initiative, campaign, radio programme or podcast series that engages their audience in a positive, locally-focused way. The judges will be seeking to reward compelling and powerful programming that has made an impact in, for example, fundraising, heightening public awareness and understanding of an issue, engaging local listeners, and/or inspiring change within a community. Read more...

The Impact Award
This category recognises radio and audio programming that’s done something to make a difference to society. Winners in this category will embody the idea of radio as a force for good in the world, with output having made a significant impact in the lives of its listeners, and the lives of the community at large. Examples might include awareness-raising, fundraising, campaigning, issues-based content, or programming that highlights incredible achievements. Read more...

Best Local Show, supported by RCS
This award is for the very best local radio show or local podcast. Judges will be looking for more than just local news and place name mentions - they’ll be expecting to feel a sense of place coming through the output, in a programme that is clearly rooted in the local community. Read more...

Community Station of the Year
This award is for the very best radio station that serves a local community or a community of interest, and whose output is predominantly made by volunteers. Judges will be looking for more than just local news and place name mentions - they’ll be expecting to feel a sense of place coming through the output, on a station that is clearly rooted in the local community or the community of interest it serves. Read more...

The John Myers Station of the Year Award
Named after the legendary pioneer of UK radio, this category is for a nations, regions or local station that has captured the hearts and minds of its listeners and delivers day in, day out. The judges will be looking for clear evidence of a station that knows its audience - serving and representing the tastes, needs and interests of all, in fresh and exciting ways, and engaging listeners in every aspect of output both online and offline. Read more...

UK Station or Network of the Year, supported by Arqiva
This category celebrates the very best in UK radio and will go to the UK-wide station or network which has towered above its rivals over the last year. Judges will be looking for entries that display excellence across their entire broadcast schedule and clearly demonstrate a strong sense of unified station identity that resonates with, and shows deep understanding of, the station’s target audience with brilliant audio, inspiring production, and a genuine ability to connect with their listeners. Read more...

Radio Times 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 within the qualifying time period.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be something you’ve produced yourself – this is a great opportunity to highlight an amazing piece of British radio or audio that you’ve loved, from anywhere in the sector. Entries into this category are free. Read more...

The 2022 Special Award (following the death of HM The Queen)
This award recognises outstanding audio coverage of the announcement of Her Majesty’s death, the subsequent period of national mourning, and the state funeral. The judges will be looking for clarity and eloquence in reporting, informative and expertly-produced packages and features, and a tone in music and content curation which reflects a clear understanding of the national mood and the needs of your audience. Read more...

Breakfast Show dates

For the Breakfast Show categories, your audio compilation can be up to 20 minutes long, and may contain up to 20 clips. It must feature at least 10 minutes from our specified day. The audio compilation should be in two clear sections, with clips from the specified day first, and clips from the rest of the year second.

The specified day for this year’s Breakfast Show entries is as follows:

  • Date 1 – Wednesday 2 Nov 2022 - The main date, which must be used if the regular team were presenting on that date.
  • Date 2 – Wednesday 9 Nov 2022 - The backup date, which should only be used if the regular team were absent on Date 1.
  • Date 3 – Wednesday 16 Nov 2022 - The final backup date, which should only be used in extremis, if the regular team were absent on both Dates 1 and 2.

If you want to enter a Weekend Breakfast show, you may use the nearest broadcast day to the specified date (i.e., the following Saturday if the show is a weekend breakfast show, or the following Sunday if it is a Sunday-only breakfast show). In order that fair comparisons can be made, no other dates are allowable for these categories. You will be asked to provide written confirmation if you are forced to use Dates 2 or 3.

 

How the ARIAS are judged

How many judges are there?
There are more than 200 judges, operating in panels ranging in size from 7-15 people (depending on how many entries there were in the pool).

How are judges selected?
Judges are invited to participate by the Chair of Judges.  They represent a cross-section of senior practitioners in the audio industry.

How are the panels made up?
Each panel has a Head Judge who is a Trustee or Fellow of the Radio Academy. We aim for each panel to be representative of the sector, with people from the BBC, commercial radio, and independent production. In each panel we aim for a 50/50 gender split, and for a minimum of 25% of judges to be from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

How do the judges make their decisions?
Each panel judges just one category, and each award is determined in isolation.  Judges listen to the audio and read the text, then give each entry scores out of 10, in four areas – impact, creativity, production, and a score against the specific category rubric. This produces a score out of 40 for each entry.

How is the shortlist of nominees formed?
The entries are sorted into one of three pools: Pool A is content commissioned or made by the BBC; Pool B is content commissioned or made by Commercial Radio, Community Radio or other linear radio providers including online-only; Pool C is content produced for publication as a podcast that doesn’t fit into either Pool A or B. Pool C isn’t relevant in all categories.

How are Gold, Silver and Bronze determined?
Having completed their individual scoring, the panel are told their collective top three entries from Pool A, Pool B, and Pool C if relevant. These form the shortlist of six or nine, and the panel meet (either in person or virtually) to identify their Bronze, Silver and Gold.  (The pool system is occasionally relaxed depending on what entries we receive, at the discretion of the Chair of Judges).

How is the Radio Times Moment of the Year shortlist formed?
We invite Radio Academy members to suggest (for free) any moment from across audio and radio, whether they worked on it or not.  A panel of judges formed of Radio Academy Trustees and the Editor of the Radio Times score these to create a leaderboard, and meet as a group to discuss the entries.  The longlist of ten is determined at this meeting.  The readers of RadioTimes will vote for this on the RadioTimes website.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about The ARIAS, please email arias@radioacademy.org