BBC Radio 4 named station of the year

Jeremy Bowen, centre, receives his award from Katie Derham, right







BBC Radio 4 was rewarded for coverage during what proved to be a traumatic year, when it was named station of the year for the second time running at the Sony Radio Academy Awards last week.

The Today programme, which was at the heart of the station’s annus horribilis sparked by the infamous “sexedup dossier” report by Andrew Gilligan on 29 May and followed by falling audiences, missed out on honours this time around. But Radio 4 won the news programme category with its report Crossing Continents: India.

News reporter Hugh Sykes won the news journalist of the year award with coverage on The World at One and PM.

Acknowledging the station’s trials and tribulations over the last year, Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden said it had been “involved in a degree of controversy over the past year with the station’s flagship daily programme Today caught in a terrible political storm”.

“It was very, very difficult to be the news story rather than report the news story. But the station came through, despite being in such treacherous waters,” she added.

In contrast, BBC Five Live’s good fortune, marked by rising listening figures this year, was topped off with the news output award for the Drive programme, presented by Five Live pioneers Peter Allen and Jane Garvey. A report by Jeremy Bowen on the capture of Saddam Hussein won the news story award for Five Live.

Five Live sports commentator Ian Robertson won the speech broadcaster of the year award for his commentary on Jonny Wilkinson’s winning drop goal in the Rugby World Cup final last year.

BBC Radio Cleveland won the event award for its coverage of President Bush’s state visit to the UK, when he travelled to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency in the North East.

Stephen Nolan at Belfast’s City Beat collected the Speech Award for the Stephen Nolan Show.

By Wale Azeez

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