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 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 indigO2.
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 including 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 indigoO2 is once again booked for the ceremony on November 6th, and we’re hoping to see even more faces from both the world of student radio and the radio industry along for the night!