ARIAS 2016: Gold, Silver and Bronze Winners

A word from Roger Cutsforth, Managing Director of The Radio Academy:


“Congratulations to all our Gold, Silver and Bronze winners this evening – what a fantastic celebration of UK radio and audio. The inaugural ARIAS have been a very positive first step in establishing, a high profile, national awards event outside London and we’re delighted they’ve have been so well supported, with attendance surpassing any other radio awards ceremony.

“That achievement shows not only that an industry as vibrant as ours needs to celebrate with its own cross-sector national awards ceremony, but also that our hosts Leeds has provided the perfect partnership for this newly launched event. We look forward to building on the success of this evening for next year’s awards which we hope will be even bigger and better.”

Best News Coverage

GOLD: The Buncrana Pier Tragedy – BBC Radio Foyle

The judges said that they found BBC Radio Foyle’s coverage of this accidental death of a family of five to be powerful, moving and memorable. Witnesses were given the space to tell their stories, and were treated with quiet respect. Although this was a local tragedy, the way in which it was covered gave it a wider significance as it charted the way in which a community dealt with such a terrible event.

SILVER: A New Life in Europe: The Dhnie Family – BBC Radio 4

The judges described this as a powerful programme in which a good reporter, with some innovative use of modern technology, provided vivid pictures of one Syrian family’s journey. The jury liked the reporter’s involvement with the story and the inclusion of telling small details – and welcomed the update on the story three months on. It brought to life the statistics relating to the mass migration of refugees into Europe.

BRONZE: PM: Jo Cox’s Murder – BBC Radio 4

A well-balanced and authoritative programme, which kept a balance between the personal tragedy of the murder and its wider implications. The presenter, Carolyn Quinn, was sensitive and highly professional in the way in which she dealt with the on-air news of the MP’s death, and the judges admired her tone throughout the programme. By the end of it, one knew much more about Jo Cox.

Best Entertainment Production

GOLD: Greg James – BBC Radio 1

The judges said that in a very strong field, this innovative entry was the star. A joyous listen, expertly presented and produced, it uses a wide variety of creative techniques to keep its audience entertained. Ambitious and constantly surprising, it’s also warm and inclusive - with exceptional use of social media to enhance the listener experience. Big projects and small features are all executed beautifully.

SILVER: The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show – Absolute Radio

A soapbox race, a pantomime, plus listener impressions of power tools - this show has it all... Including a presenter who’s an expert storyteller, listeners who always go the extra mile, and excellent production. Brilliantly entertaining with loads of energy, and strong use of social media, this made us laugh out loud.

BRONZE: The Pin – BBC Radio 4

Although this show sounds effortlessly funny, it’s clearly the result of a lot of hard work. With highly-crafted writing, performances and production, it has a cool and a swagger about it that are rare in radio comedy. Brave and confident, it takes risks and pushes boundaries.

Best Audio Dramatisation

GOLD: Lament – BBC Radio Drama London for Radio 4

Lament by Debbie Tucker Green is about two people who used to know each other. Thinking they still do, they meet for dinner. But as they talk, the listener begins to realise that outside this meeting both their lives have a more powerful gravitational pull than either can admit. Mary Peate’s production captured radio’s power to hold time, place and people in mind while changing, subtly and dramatically, our perspective on all of them. The performances of Paterson Joseph, Nadine Marshall, Lucien Msmati and Cecilia Noble caught every nuance of a masterly play. Every word and every pause counted.

SILVER: Cuttin’ It – BBC Radio Drama London for Radio 4

Cuttin’ It was originally an award-winning stage play by Charlene James. This radio production by Jess Brown for Radio 4 brought an intimate intensity to its story of two teenage London schoolgirls. One girl is sharp and apparently streetwise, the other shy and more secluded. What brings them together is (and what for many Muslim women would be) their own experience of female genital mutilation: why it happens, what happens. It’s a subject often mentioned by the news and discussed on radio. But this script and the performances by Susan Wokoma and Nahel Tzegai brought it unforgettably into heart and mind.

BRONZE: BBC Radio Merseyside

Written, directed and produced by Radio Merseyside’s Pauline McAdam, this was a remarkable achievement, a live performance with a 1500-strong audience in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, recorded for broadcast on the 75th anniversary week of the May Blitz. In 1941 German air raids left Liverpool in smoking ruins. McAdam’s fine script incorporated unforgettable eye-witness accounts and was performed by its star cast with real commitment, always vividly passionate yet commendably unsentimental.

Best National Speech Breakfast Show

GOLD: Today – BBC Radio 4

The judges described Today’s entry as a masterclass in speech radio, showcasing how a spectacular year of news was covered by the very best in the business. The texture of this content was equally compelling and captivating.

SILVER: 5 Live Breakfast – BBC Radio 5 Live

A hugely engaging programme with pace and character, telling human stories memorably, with strong live reporting on breaking news and engrossing listener contributions.

BRONZE: Good Morning Scotland – BBC Radio Scotland

A thoroughly authentic programme which reflected the whole of Scotland - and a Scottish perspective on broader issues - through solid, relevant content led by a warmth of presentation.

Best Local Breakfast Show

GOLD: Georgey at Breakfast – BBC Radio York

The judges said that Georgey at Breakfast has great pace, great ideas, a great team and is very local. A very enjoyable show. It’s warm and funny, heartfelt and honest, without being presenter-centric. There’s a great connection to the audience and the local area. The entry showed an ability to press key local figures in interviews (for example on fracking). The Maria Amir interview was also very sensitively handled, with the presenter leaving plenty of space for interviewees to direct the story themselves. The judges loved the strong mix of entertainment, personality, news and people stories.

SILVER: Sam and Amy – Gem

Sam and Amy already have a wealth of awards to their name and this one is a richly-deserved addition. Their secret is the brilliant partnership of two engaging personalities. Their show crackles with creative ideas and great storytelling, all rooted in the local community and topped off with Sam and Amy’s unique magic.

BRONZE: Morgan in the Morning – BBC Radio Stoke

Pete returned to BBC Radio Stoke in early 2016 and this award is proof that he’s on winning form in his new role there. With a great personality, strong interviews and a real love of his audience, Pete is a gem in the Radio Stoke schedule

Best National Music Breakfast Show

GOLD: The Chris Evans Breakfast Show – BBC Radio 2

Here’s what the judges said: Chris and his team manage an extraordinarily high level of excellence day in day out. The programme has big ideas and delivers them to an ever-growing and appreciative audience who never feel excluded. Chris remains a Tour de Force!

SILVER: The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show – Absolute Radio

Christian knows just how to talk to his audience and how to get the best from his team and guests. He is very funny and continually creative. He really makes you laugh out loud which is a rare gift.

BRONZE: Emily Segal – heat Radio

The judges thought Emily not only understood her audience very well and demonstrated creativity but that she is also brave, funny and inventive. She is a star of the future.

Best Sports Show

GOLD: 606 – Shooting Shark Productions for BBC Radio 5 Live

The judges found the presenters to be engaging, empathetic, challenging, and funny - bringing to life the passion, fears, hopes and dreams of every sports fan. Radio as it should be - telling the big stories through the people who are living them. This is the football phone-in others are judged by.

SILVER: Boro Are Back! – BBC Tees

Big match coverage that gets it right. The panel were swept along with this one thanks to the great storytelling and humour that runs throughout. The passion of the presenters - fans and experts themselves - brought real emotion to the coverage, yet it wasn't over-wrought or over-dramatic. The fans, the town and the region were always at the centre of the show. The presenters never lost sight of what this match meant as a wider story. That, and a deft lightness of touch, made this an excellent and compelling listen.

BRONZE: 5 live Sport – BBC Radio 5 live

A powerhouse display. The variety, the presentation, the emotion - this entry gets every aspect right. The opener from Mike Costello at Ali's funeral is one of the most powerful pieces of radio submitted. His love of the man and his love of sport comes across so vividly that you feel as though you're standing beside him as the procession goes by. The quality of presentation is first class, Mike Costello, Kelly Cates, Elly Oldroyd and Mark Chapman are industry leaders, providing journalism aligned to a softer presentation style. There are moments when you are compelled to listen, most notably the Hillsborough exerpt. It’s a lesson of the simple power of just being there at the right moment when something happens - be it the moment a final whistle blows, a match point is won, or a Leicester fan experiences the greatest moment of his life. Fantastic radio.

Best Digital Audio Service

GOLD: audioBoom

The judges found audioBoom to be a fantastic platform, really showing how it should be done. They love the option to record and upload as a live reporting tool. It also allows users to share easily and find new podcasts using their app. Lots of big name media companies use this service giving it real credibility. It’s a forward-thinking platform that has embraced the new digital landscape and made it truly accessible.

SILVER: Live @ Wimbledon Radio – IMG Radio on behalf of the All England Lawn Tennis Club

A great range of commentators and reporters with excellent voices and great use of language in describing the exciting match play. Varied content showing the depth of coverage by the team, with interviews, games, behind the scene and fan interaction.

BRONZE: Acast

The judges said: A smart digital service with the potential to create revenue for podcasters through a range of content. We’ll be interested to see how the offering develops and look forward to following future innovations.

Podcast of the Year

GOLD: The Story of Izzy Dix – BBC Newsbeat

The judges found this an incredibly compelling piece of audio that made all of them look further into Izzy’s tragic story. It’s a story which this podcast tells via first-rate reporting and some emotional interviews with her family and friends. It doesn’t speak down to its young audience or sensationalise what happened. As a podcast The Story of Izzy Dix fits well with how its audience likes to consume content - on the go and in their own time; but the judges also felt that the medium was perfectly suited to this particular message – one that requires a more personal, thoughtful listening experience without interruption. The judges were impressed to hear listeners encouraged to take onward journeys into other BBC digital content that offered more information on the subject. All in all a powerful podcast with an important message.

SILVER: The Modern Mann – Rethink Audio

The judges were struck by the high production values of this podcast which brings a magazine-style format to the medium. Despite a wide variety of topics, it holds your attention to the end, thanks to a presenter who sounds genuinely interested, which draws you further into his conversations. Both the real-life guests, and adult features like The Foxhole, make full use of the podcast format which The Modern Mann team show they understand well - using social media and pleas for online ratings to build their “Connected and Curious” audience. All of which means the podcast has some impressive usage figures and already pays for itself.

BRONZE: Storytime with Boon – This Is Distorted

This podcast put a big smile on the judges’ faces. Clint Boon is an immensely likeable presenter who has found his perfect outlet in podcasts – which allow him to tell stories he would never get away with on air, while getting him even closer to his audience. He deftly moves from laugh-out-loud anecdotes of his rock and roll past to a tribute to Caroline Aherne, while also acknowledging the life-stage most of his fans will now be at, through some dad chat with Brian Cox. The judges admired his use of the show to champion unsigned bands – a feature which has spawned a spin-off podcast of its own – and brand extensions like the sell-out live shows. Yes, it has strong usage figures and is already sponsored, but more than that, this podcast has a heart!

Best Digital Innovation

GOLD: The BBC iPlayer Radio App

The judges say that the BBC iPlayer Radio App is a real ‘game changer’ for on-demand listening. Its excellent design and user experience showcase the very best that the BBC has to offer and give commercial rivals a serious run for their money. This entry is unique in adding to what has gone before in a way that nothing else does.

SILVER: BBC Radio 2 Country

The evidence proves that this was one of the BBC’s most successful ever pop-up DAB stations. Radio 2 Country had a huge impact with its target audience and will undoubtedly have spurred listeners to retune their existing digital radios or buy new ones. We particularly liked the way in which it gave the BBC an editorial hook to talk about digital radio – even extending to providing cross-promotion to a related commercial DAB service once Radio 2 Country had gone off air.

BRONZE: Acast

Acast’s innovation lies in its focus on providing tools to podcasters to support their revenue and marketing efforts. We also loved the geographic and editorial breadth of its content offering. Acast has the potential to become a key go-to destination for UK listeners in future years.

Audio Moment of the Year

GOLD: The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away – TBI Media for BBC Radio 4

Here’s what the judges thought: this winning programme features so many individual stories, intertwined in a way that sounds so simple to the listener, but is actually complex and very well-formatted. The unique story progresses in a short period of time, but never feels like it’s being rushed, often pausing to offer the listener time to reflect. With fascinating diverse characters, surprising elements throughout and tender narration, wrapped in expert post-production this is an impeccable audio moment.

SILVER: Where are you going New York, Loftus Media for BBC World Service

It’s clear Catherine Carr has the ability and skill to weave a story from the ordinary. A beautiful, cultural piece with its well-crafted city soundscape transporting you to the heart of New York City. A programme and format which truly makes you focus on life and its everyday complexities.

BRONZE: The Archers: Helen Stabs Rob – BBC Radio Drama Birmingham for Radio 4

Radio drama of the very highest calibre. The judges recognised the impact of this powerful and provocative episode and the scale of the plot which led up to the moment Rob Titchener was stabbed by wife Helen. The listener journey and the acting were so powerful that you felt like you were in the room. The audience satisfaction and impact were clear from the significant press and social chatter this episode generated. Wonderfully written, brilliant characters, one of the most compelling audio moments of the year.

The Radio Academy Award:
Voted by members of the Radio Academy

GOLD: Sound Digital for D2


Speech Broadcaster of the Year

GOLD: Stephen Nolan – BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio 5 Live

The judges said that Stephen engages the listener with a skilful mixture of lightness of touch and dogged determination to never let anyone off the hook. His depth of knowledge across a broad range of often sensitive issues and his skill to then move to a more light-hearted moment is second to none. His use of silence is precise and powerful. Quite simply, he is a fantastic speech broadcaster.

SILVER: Kirsty Young – Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4

The panel described Kirsty as a joy to listen to. Her skill to cover an unparalleled range of guests, and get what no-one else has, is simply brilliant. Her ability to interview is a true masterclass in every programme.

BRONZE: Nihal – BBC Asian Network

Nihal serves his audience well with in-depth knowledge on a range of subjects that can span the most serious to the surreal. His ability to ask the direct question but with the right tone makes for a great listen that pulls you nearer the radio every time.

Music Broadcaster of the Year

GOLD: MistaJam – BBC Radio 1Xtra

The judges agreed this was an outstanding entry by an incredibly talented presenter. MistaJam clearly knows his subject matter inside out, and his audience just the same. He’s great on stage and also has fantastic range. The show demonstrates ambition, has great guests and is superbly produced.

SILVER: Jamie Cullum – Folded Wing for BBC Radio 2

The judges said that this was a great entry: a wonderful piece of radio. Jamie is a natural presenter without a doubt, but he’s also so much more: a singer, instrumentalist and talented interviewer. They were particularly impressed by the interview recorded outside The White House. Just brilliant!

BRONZE: Stephen McCauley – BBC Radio Foyle

Stephen is an exciting, talented, surprising broadcaster with an incredible depth of music knowledge that he shares generously with his audience. One to watch!

Best Local Station

GOLD: Hallam FM

The panel said that Hallam FM is a station that really knows its voice and understands what matters to its audience. They demonstrated insightful and in-depth original journalism with high production values, and true public service credentials, which can still thrive in the commercial sector. Hallam FM is a heritage station that has kept abreast of the times, by embracing a multimedia approach and maintained its relevance within a very competitive market, and still managed to maintain a sense of fun.

SILVER: Forth 1

Forth 1 has a terrific connection with its audience and manages to bring local stories to life with so much fun, and humour and is totally entwined with the community it lives in. Serious topics are given equal prominence and they never shy away from important issues that resonate with their listeners. They also demonstrated a strong, curated social media profile across multiple platforms with lots of engagement.

BRONZE: BBC Essex

BBC Essex knows what it is setting out to do, and how to serve its audience, and executes it rigorously. The station clearly sets high standards and has the courage to be quite edgy in the way it deals with some subjects whilst always demonstrating engaging storytelling and excellent journalism. A station that knows what it is doing and where it is going.

Best National Station

GOLD: BBC Radio 2

The judges said BBC Radio 2 is a station which continues to lead the way with a remarkable line-up of presenters and contributors offering breadth, depth and consistent world-class radio across the whole schedule. Of particular note was the extremely sensitive and professional way the team dealt with the very sad loss of Sir Terry Wogan earlier this year.

SILVER: BBC Radio 1Xtra

BBC Radio 1Xtra is a station that truly understands and delivers to its audience with an innovative, daring, intelligent and thoughtful schedule and approach.

BRONZE: Absolute Radio

Absolute Radio offers quality broadcasting through and through, from personality-driven presentation to high-end documentaries as well as live music and comedy. This consistent variety and quality has led to impressive audience growth.

Past ARIAS 2016's Video Highlights 2016's Photo Gallery 2016's Gold Winners: Awards and Interviews 2016's Gold, Silver and Bronze Winners 2016 2016's Shortlists 2016's Judges