Special Sony honour for BBC's Humphrys

John Humphrys was rewarded for his 45-year career in broadcast journalism when he received the outstanding contribution gold award at this year’s Sony Radio Academy Awards, writes Wale Azeez.

The judges at the ceremony held last week at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, hailed the presenter of Radio 4’s Today programme as “that beacon of contemporary journalism and a broadcaster at the very peak of his powers”.

Receiving his prize, the former BBC TV News correspondent and anchor renamed it “the Old Farts’ Award” and thanked the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and Jack Straw for not answering his questions: “If they had answered my questions, where would I be? I have to thank them all.”

He added: “Forty-five years ago when I started in broadcast journalism, an editor told me that radio was yesterday’s medium. It took a long time to find out that he was wrong. It’s had the greatest revival since Lazarus.”

He paid tribute to Radio 4, which was named UK radio station of the year and also won the news coverage award with Today’s segment on Ethiopian famine and the news programme award with File on 4: Cot Deaths.

BBC business editor Jeff Randall won the sports award for his Radio Five Live programme Football Finance: The Bankrupt Game.

Stephen Nolan at Belfast City Beat went home with the speech broadcaster and interaction awards. He was commended for expertly handling the issue of joyriding in Belfast on his show, particularly when a joyrider called the show live from a stolen vehicle.

The news output award was won by BBC Radio Derby’s Andy Whittaker breakfast show, and BBC Suffolk’s Mark Murphy took the news broadcaster award. The speech award went to BBC Scotland’s Edi Stark who produces and presents Stark Talk, for her interview with mountaineer and author Joe Simpson.

Wale Azeez

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