Three Counties Radio crowns BBC success at Sony Awards

Jon Gaunt, breakfast presenter on BBC Three Counties Radio, clocked up a record three Sony Radio Academy Awards as part of the corporation’s haul of 23 out of the 30 prizes.

Gaunt, described by host Paul Gambaccini as "a bit of a maverick", is the first presenter in the awards 19-year history of the "Sonys" to notch up three gold awards.

The station’s response to the breaking story of the closure of the Vauxhall car plant in Luton won him the award for news coverage. The judges said Gaunt’s "good old-fashioned journalism" gave listeners "a feeling of being right in the centre of the action".

He also picked up the awards for news broadcaster and breakfast news and talk for what the judges agreed unanimously was the "stand-out entry".

Three Counties Radio’s tally of four golds from a record six nominations was completed when the interactive award went to Stephen Rhodes for his Consumer Programme.

"It seems unthinkable that having been nominated for six, we got four of them and were shortlisted for a station of the year award," said managing editor Mark Norman. "I feel very privileged to be working with an extraordinarily talented team."

The award for station of the year (with an audience of between 500,000 and 12 million) went to Clyde 1, one of just seven commercial winners on the night. Judges described Clyde 1 as "a confident station with a broad range of news, music and features reflecting all aspects of life in Glasgow".

The BBC’s nations and regions bagged seven awards, with BBC Radio Foyle winning station of the year (with an audience under 500,000) for the second-year running.

The UK station of the year award went to BBC Radio 2, which also picked up the station sound award.

A BBC Sport production for BBC Radio 5 Live, The Wembley Live Obituary Show, won the gold sports award.

Peter White, the BBC’s disability correspondent, won the speech broadcaster award for his work for Radio 4.

Radio 4’s On Your Farm, produced by Factual and Learning, overcame competition from two other BBC rivals to win the news programme award.

by Julie Tomlin

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