BBC’s John Humphrys honoured at Sonys for George Entwistle Interview at Sony Academy Awards.
John Humphrys has won the Radio Journalism of the Year award for his interview with ex-BBC DG George Entwistle. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
Today presenter John Humphrys was garlanded with one of the radio industry’s top awards for his interview with George Entwistle at the height of the Jimmy Savile crisis which sealed the fate of the then director general of the BBC.
In a double triumph for Today, Humphrys won the radio journalism of the year prize, while the Radio 4 programme won breakfast show of the year at the Sony Radio Academy awards on Monday night.
But the night’s biggest prize, UK station of the year, went to Radio 4′s sister station, BBC Radio 5 Live, which won two awards for its coverage of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The 5 Live win may have been a consolation of sorts for the BBC after its TV coverage of the Olympics failed to win a single Bafta award on Sunday.
The Sony judges said Humphrys, 69, who joined Today in 1987 and has declared he has no intention of standing down, was a “giant among radio news journalists”. They said his interview with Entwistle last November – who resigned 12 hours later – was “one of the news events of 2012″.
Humphrys, who turns 70 in August, said: “I’m not planning to pack it in just yet. I’m rather enjoying the job. I’ve no plans to shuffle off this mortal coil.”
The Today programme was praised as a reminder “why freedom of speech and quality journalism are worth fighting for … in a post-Leveson inquiry world”, while 5 Live was described as a station “on top of its game throughout a year that really mattered”.
Humphrys’s Radio 4 colleague Eddie Mair, responsible for a controversial BBC1 interview with Boris Johnson in March in which he called the London mayor a “nasty piece of work” was named speech radio broadcaster of the year for the PM programme.
Absolute Radio breakfast DJ Christian O’Connell led the way for commercial radio, winning two awards including music radio personality of the year.
It means O’Connell, former breakfast presenter on London station Xfm, has now won a record 10 Sonys during the course of his career.
The Sonys are traditionally dominated by the BBC and the 2013 awards, hosted by Radio 2 breakfast DJ Chris Evans at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, was no exception.
Evans may have missed, out but there were prizes for his Radio 2 colleague Dermot O’Leary and 6 Music presenter, Cerys Matthews, whose colleague Steve Lamacq was presented with the academy’s special award.
Danny Baker was another BBC winner, not for his former show on BBC London – which prompted a memorable on-air tirade after it was axed – but for his Saturday morning show on 5 Live.
The BBC won a total of 20 awards, including six for Radio 4 and four apiece for Radio 1 and Radio 5. Radio 2 bagged a pair but there was nothing for Radio 3. Radio 1′s Phil Lester and Dan Howell, who made their names on YouTube as Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil, won the inaugural Golden Headphones award, voted for by listeners.
Commercial radio won a total of eight awards, including a breakfast show prize for Sam Pinkham and Amy Voce of east midlands station, Gem 106.
There was no fairytale ending for the Sonys’ youngest ever nominee, 11-year-old Mary Holmes, whose documentary for BBC Radio York about York City FC was beaten in the sports programme category by 5 Live’s Olympics programme presented by Peter Allen and Colin Murray. Being nominated at all, however, will be regarded as a triumph in itself.
The Sony Radio Academy Awards – winners in full
Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus) – Today Programme (BBC News for BBC Radio 4)
Breakfast Show of the Year (under 10 million) – Sam & Amy (Gem 106)
Best Music Programme – The Dermot O’Leary Show (Ora Et Labora for BBC Radio 2)
Best Entertainment Programme – The Danny Baker Show (Campbell Davison Media for BBC Radio 5 Live)
Best Speech Programme – Witness (BBC News for BBC World Service)
Best Sports Programme – 5 Live Olympics with Peter Allen and Colin Murray (BBC Radio 5 Live)
Best News & Current Affairs Programme – BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat (BBC News for BBC Radio 1)
Best Coverage of a Live Event – London 2012: The Olympic and Paralympic Games (BBC Radio 5 Live)
Best Community Programming – Ciaran’s Cause (Real Radio North West)
Music Radio Personality of the Year – Christian O’Connell (Absolute Radio)
Music Radio Broadcaster of the Year – Cerys on 6 (BBC 6 Music)
Speech Radio Broadcaster of the Year – Eddie Mair (BBC Radio 4)
Radio Journalism of the Year – John Humphrys (BBC News for BBC Radio 4)
Best Use of Branded Content – The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show with Wickes (Absolute Radio)
Best Promotional/Advertising Campaign – The Gothic Imagination (BBC Radio 4 & 4 Extra Presentation for BBC Radio 4)
Best Competition – Coca-Cola Fan Reporter (TalkSport)
Best Station Imaging – BBC Radio 2
Best Music Feature or Documentary – The Story of Ed Sheeran (BBC Radio 1)
Best News Feature or Documentary – The Bombardment of Homs (BBC Radio Current Affairs for BBC World Service)
Best Feature or Documentary – Bruising Silence (Just Radio for BBC Radio 1)
Best Comedy – Isy Suttie: Pearl and Dave (BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4)
Best Drama – The Resistance of Mrs Brown (BBC Radio Drama London for BBC Radio 4)
Best Use of Multi-platform – Radio 1′s Review Show (Somethin’ Else for BBC Radio 1)
Station of the Year (under 300,000) – KL.FM 96.7
Station of the Year (300,000 to 1 million) – BBC Radio Humberside
Station of the Year (1 million plus) – Metro Radio
UK Station of the Year – BBC Radio 5 live
UK Radio Brand of the Year – Classic FM
The Special Award – Steve Lamacq
The Gold Award – Richard Park
The Sony Golden Headphones Award – Dan & Phil (Radio 1)