The Audio and Radio Industry Awards

ARIAS Categories 2021

The qualification period is 1st October 2019 to 31st December 2020. You can download the full ARIAS Rubrics here. The 2021 Categories are as follows:

  1. Best New Presenter
  2. Best New Show
  3. Best News Coverage
  4. Best Speech Breakfast Show – changed for 2021
  5. Best Speech Presenter
  6. Best Sports Show
  7. The 2020 Special Award – new for 2021
  8. The Comedy Award – changed for 2021
  9. Best Music Breakfast Show – changed for 2021
  10. Best Music Entertainment Show – changed for 2021
  11. Best Specialist Music Show – changed for 2021
  12. Best Factual – Single Programme
  13. Best Factual – Series
  14. Best Independent Podcast
  15. Best Fictional Storytelling
  16. Best Station Sound
  17. Best Commercial Partnership – changed for 2021
  18. Best Marketing Campaign
  19. The Grassroots Award – changed for 2021
  20. The Creative Innovation Award – new for 2021
  21. The Impact Award – new for 2021
  22. Best Local Radio Show – changed for 2021
  23. The John Myers Award for Best Local Station of the Year
  24. National Station or Network of the Year
  25. Radio Times Moment of the Year – voted by the general public

Breakfast Show dates

The Best Speech Breakfast Show and Best Music Breakfast Show categories require audio to be selected from specific dates. Those dates (or nearest weekend show, if applicable) are:

  • Date 1 - Thu 26 Nov - must be used if the regular team were presenting on that date.
  • Date 2 - Thu 12 Nov - should only be used if the regular team were absent on Date 1.
  • Date 3 - Thu 8 Oct - should only be used in extremis, if the regular team were absent on both Dates 1 and 2

In a change for 2021, the Breakfast Show entries may also include clips from throughout the year. Please read the category rubric carefully for more details.

How the ARIAS are judged

How many judges are there?

There are more than 100 judges, operating in panels ranging in size from 5-9 (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.  Each panel has a 50/50 gender split, and each panel has a recent alumnus of the Radio Academy’s 30 Under 30 scheme.  In each panel, there is always at least one person from the BBC, and one person from a commercial or indie background.  25% of the judges in 2019 were from BAME 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 three areas – impact, creativity, and production. This produces a score out of 30 for each entry.

How is the shortlist of nominees formed?

The entries are sorted into one of two pools: Pool A is entries broadcast on the BBC (made by either in-house or indies); Pool B is entries broadcast on commercial radio or published independently.  Having completed their individual scoring, the panel are told their collective top three entries from Pool A, and their top three entries from Pool B.  These form the six-strong shortlist, and the panel meet (either in person or on a conference call) to identify their Bronze, Silver and Gold.  (The pool system is occasionally relaxed in categories where one or the other clearly dominates, eg Fictional Storytelling or Commercial Promotion).

How was the Radio Times Moment of the Year shortlist formed?

We invited 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 scored these to create a leaderboard, and met as a group to discuss the entries.  The longlist of ten was determined at this meeting.  The readers of RadioTimes will vote for this on the RadioTimes website.

Can I read any more?

Check out this 2019 blog post from our Chair of Judges, Phil Riley

Any questions?

If you have any questions about The ARIAS, please email