Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Radio 1 presents the Student Radio Awards 2008

I invented these, I did. That might be slightly over-egging it a bit, actually. In 1995 I wrote to Matthew Bannister, the then controller of Radio 1 and suggested we set up a Student Radio Association (SRA) awards, which Radio 1 sponsor.

To my alarm and disquiet, he wrote back (in those days, kids, that was how bidnid was done), saying he thought it was a marvellous idea and we should all get together and make it happen. Unbeknown to me, Dan McEvoy from University Radio Nottingham had made a similar approach to Matthew and Radio 1 pointed us in each others' direction.

As a result I asked the long-haired Dan to join me on a trip to London to meet a the poshest lady I had ever met (I think she was called Sophie McLaughlin) and a man called Matt Priest to discuss taking all this further. Which we did.

The first ever Radio 1 Student Radio Awards took place upstairs at ULU on Malet Street W1 in 1996. Jo Whiley and Steve Lamacq compered. The Ents manager who gave us the room was called Ricky Gervais. The comic who introduced the bands was Peter Kay. Jarvis Cocker turned up to the gig. I brought my mum. I was quite proud.

This year it's at the IndigO2, in Greenwich, on Thursday.

I will be there, largely in order to feel very, very old. It will be fun.

UPDATE: This piece has been expanded here, after I was asked to write a short history of the first awards for the 2011 SRA Awards programme.



  1. Sounds like fun this years awards at least.
    I am looking forward to meeting you at the awards later today.
    Will be nice to meet the person who first sorted the awards.
    I will be sure to update the wikipedia entry with this new information when I get a spare 5 mins or so


  2. These, obviously, would be different to the previous Radio 1 Student Radio Awards, then. :)

  3. Yes, I believe the previous ones fell into disrepair some time before Matthew Bannister and Trevor Dann took over at R1, and it was only some months into the organisation of the new ones that anyone involved realised they had existed before. In keeping with the year zero approach to the new regime at R1, we didn't highlight that particular aspect of the awards' "heritage". So whilst I absolutely acknowledge the existence of a previous awards scheme (in fact, I think I've seen a certificate of one on a student station's wall somewhere) I think I can still lay an over-egged claim to having "invented" the awards in their current format, and most people see the awards that were presented last week as starting back in 1996.