The Student Radio Awards, supported by BBC Radio 1 and Global are the definitive celebration of student radio. Over the years student radio has launched the careers of Rich Clarke, Annie Mac and Greg James to name but a few. The Awards serves both to celebrate the diversity of content and talent in student radio and to help launch the next generation of radio talent into the radio industry.
The Awards process takes place every year through the summer months with over six hundred entries across thirteen categories being judged by over one hundred and fifty industry professionals to produce a shortlist of six nominees in each category. These nominees are whittled down to a Bronze, Silver and Gold award winner by some of the biggest names in radio.
The star-studded ceremony takes place each year at the indigo at the O2 arena each year to rival even the biggest awards in the media world. The Awards are now in in their twenty-second year in 2017 and have developed into one of the key events in the radio calendar.
History of the Awards
For almost two decade the student radio community has come together to celebrate their achievements with an awards ceremony and it’s grown a heck of a lot, and had a few tantrums along the way.
The awards story begins in 1995 when Nick Wallis, then Chair of the Student Radio Association decided that what the world of student radio needed was a “showpiece occasion” – and that BBC Radio 1 were the support needed to make the event a prestigious occasion. Nick wrote to Matthew Bannister the controller of Radio 1 at the time presenting his idea for a national awards ceremony for student radio. Understandably Nick didn’t expect to hear anything back, so was genuinely overwhelmed to see a reply land on the doormat from the controller himself saying that the ceremony sounded like “an excellent idea”.
So, the story had begun, and with the help of BBC Radio 1 the Student Radio Association launched the first student radio awards process – which has remained largely unchanged to this day. The awards featured entrants across a range of categories from Best Presenters, Best Innovation and Best Factual Programme – alongside the Best Student Station award (the only category which remains unchanged to this day). The first awards ceremony took place in the bar at the University of London Union – presented by Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley, and attended by (then) up and coming comedian Peter Kay and Jarvis Cocker . The Awards fast outgrew Union bars – and has since been held at a variety of venues across London from Shepherds’ Bush Pavilion and now to the indigo at the O2.
The support of Radio 1 has continued to this day, today with Global Radio, the biggest commercial radio group in Europe and the support of many others as diverse as Scream Bars, Dorothy Perkins and perhaps most oddly Iceland (the food store – not the country!). Recent supporters include Global, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC 6 Music, KISS and UBC Media.
The list of awards winners over the years reads almost as a who’s who of radio – with winners including Kevin Hughes (Showbiz Coordinator, Global Radio), Marsha Shandur (Presenter, XFM), Matt Deegan (Founder, Folder Media), Greg James (Presenter, BBC Radio 1), Mark Crossley (Presenter, Absolute Radio) and recently include Pete Allison (Presenter, Capital FM), Tom Watts (Presenter, Capital FM) and Yasser (Presenter, BBC Asian Network).
The awards continue to grow, the indigo at the O2 is once again booked for the ceremony in November, and we’re hoping to see even more faces from both the world of student radio and the radio industry along for the night!