The Radio Academy has awarded four new Fellowships at this year’s Festival – to Matt Deegan, Sheena Mason, Ray Paul and Nina Robinson.
The Fellowship is the highest honour awarded by The Radio Academy, recognising outstanding contributions and achievements in audio as well as a commitment to the values of the Academy: to share knowledge and experience with others for the benefit of all in the sector.
Matt Deegan is Director of Folder Media and Podcast Discovery. Long involved in creating new businesses around audio and listeners, working with Gregory Watson he created the MuxCo network of digital radio multiplexes and Fun Kids, the UK's largest kids podcast network and a strong online presence. With Matt Hill he created the British Podcast Awards, which grew to encompass the Australian and Irish Podcast Awards, a business they sold to Haymarket in 2022. With Matt, he's now created Podcast Discovery which is responsible for marketing a whole host of large scale podcast launches.
Matt's involvement with podcasts has spanned over 15 years. More recently he's been involved in a variety of big shows, co-devising the Love Island podcast for ITV and executive producing Worst Dates for BBC Sounds and Nappy Days for MTV. He's also led on the marketing for Crooked Media's Pod Save the UK and a variety of launches for Podimo.
His fellowship was awarded by The Radio Academy’s Deputy Chair Nick Pitts, who said:
“There are a number of exceptionally talented creatives working in audio and there are also an equal number of gifted technical wizards - but very few excel at both - and our new fellow certainly does that. ”
Citing Matt’s entrepreneurial spirit, Nick added: “Today he is recognised as one of the UK’s foremost commentators on audio and radio.”
Sheena Mason is Deputy Content Director, Magic Radio. Having worked in radio for more than 25 years, 15 of those years have been at Bauer Media where Sheena has played a pivotal role in running the main Magic station, while being instrumental in the launch and running of digital stations including Mellow Magic, Magic Soul, Magic Chilled, and more recently Magic at the Musicals. She helped steer Magic Radio to victory when it won Station of the Year at the ARIAs in 2021 and also project managed two Gold winning commercial partnerships with ‘Magic Eurosong’ and ‘The Greatest Showman’. Prior to Bauer Media, Sheena was Head of Music at Capital Radio.
Sheena’s Fellowship was awarded by Bauer Media’s Chief Content and Music Officer, and The Radio Academy Fellow, Ben Cooper. Ben said:
“A champion of her team and colleagues, Sheena is focussed on how she can support the team, especially new entrants into our business… She has also been one of the radio industry's most important ambassadors to the music industry.”
Ray Paul is founder of THE PLAYMAKER GROUP, a uniquely creative company that oversees a host of key areas in music and entertainment under one umbrella, including content production, event production, tour management and creative consultancy.
During his 20 year career at the BBC, he worked for a number of radio stations, most notably running BBC London from 1997-2001. In 2001 he was asked to be part of the initial set up team that started a new digital radio station, 1Xtra. He held the position of Executive Producer of Specialist Music & Live Events for 7 years before moving to BBC Radio 1 and being Head of Weekends in 2009.
Winning numerous awards and pioneering many special projects and events, Ray Paul’s name has taken on legendary status within broadcasting and black music circles.
His Fellowship was awarded by DJ and broadcaster, DJ Spoony, who said:
“Playmaker by name, and Playmaker by nature, this man has been making moves and creating world class radio for the past 30 years. His name has taken on legendary status within broadcasting and Black music circles as the man who signed and developed a number of leading broadcasters, producers and DJs.”
Nina Robinson is CEO of Soundtruism, a media production company specialising in factual narrative podcasts, based in Birmingham, West Midlands. The company specialises in podcast production, training and consultancy, and organises the annual Birmingham Podcast Festival.
Nina is an award-winning documentary maker and senior journalist who has travelled the world making audio documentaries for the BBC World Service on subjects ranging from dog-fighting in south-side Chicago, forced criminal confessions in Japan, freedom in Libya post-Qadaffi and the notorious drug kingpin, ‘Dudus’ in Jamaica. She is a Fellow of the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity and Fellow of Higher Education Authority (FHEA), she is a lecturer and speaker on issues of media diversity in journalism.
Nina’s Fellowship was awarded in a video address by actor and broadcaster Sir Lenny Henry, who said:
“Nina is a trailblazer. A multi-award winner… But at the heart of all this tremendous work… is using audio to tell incredibly powerful stories and empowering people to use audio to tell their own stories – for the benefit of themselves and their communities.”
The Fellowships are usually presented once a year at The Radio Academy Festival. Returning to the Royal College of Physicians in London for a second year, this year’s Festival centred around the theme of “Sound Connections”. Across three stages of discussions, the audio industry came together for a day of debate, entertainment, inspiration and networking. Catch up videos from the event will available on The Radio Academy website.