Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Look! It's me and DCI Gene Hunt! It doesn't get better than that. That was the only time I abused my position last night. I was reporting from the floor of the Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel for the Sony webcast and as such got to tap the top talent on the shoulder and talk to them. Post-interview, Philip Glenister very graciously agreed to my idiot request for a photo too. The webcast is an effectively an OB and run as such. Radio 2's Richard Allinson and Capital's Margherita Taylor co-present it, Xfm's Marsha Shandur womans the messageboard and I leg it around downstairs. It's produced by the brilliant Alison Rusted and Fiona Cotterill who form Alfi Media and it's kept on air by a small army of technicians. Essentially it's an av feed of the ceremony itself (this year hosted for the first time by Chris Evans) with Eurovision-style commentary over the top by Richard and Margherita. Around this we build a good two hours worth of interviews, comment and messageboard reaction and, having dotted the eyes and crossed the tees, we head to the bar to be astounded by the insanely expensive drinks. This is the fourth year I've done it, and it is one of the best gigs of the night because you get a ringside seat to the action, you can get a flavour of what its like on the floor and thanks to the fact you're holding a microphone you can pretty much decide who the most interesting person in the room is and go and talk to them. This year I interviewed Chris Evans, Alex James, Philip Glenister, Radio 2 Controller Bob Shennan, Radio 3 Sony Gold winner Stephen Johnson, the Chief Executive of the Prison Radio Association, whose station Electric Radio Brixton won two golds, Simon Mayo, Mark Radcliffe, Olly and Helen (the presenters of the very funny nominated podcast Answer Me This), and, wearing his BBC World Service hat (not literally, though a BBC World Service hat would be be a good idea), the superb broadcast journalist Alan Little. Everyone was more than happy to do a turn for us. Alex James even stood up and hugged me when I interrupted his dinner, which was a surprise, as I was wondering if he'd even remember me. For me the highlight was meeting Mark Radcliffe. The guy is a legend and his late night Radio 1 show was so much a part of my youth. He gave a brilliant interview and to win two Sony golds, one as a producer of the Count Arthur Strong comedy show on Radio 4, and one as Music Broadcaster of the Year on Radio 2 emphasizes just how bloody good he is. The paps wanted to photograph Philip Glenister and Chris Evans (who as well as hosting also won two sonys) posing together, the hacks were taken by the story of Electric Radio Brixton winning two sonys, but for me (as a fanboy and radio anorak) Mark Radcliffe winning two golds in two completely different disciplines on the same evening (is this beginning to sound like a sports report?) was something very special. The other extraordinary and quite brilliant thing that happened was that my contemporary (actually the swine is much younger than me), fellow blogger and web hoster of the News Show (which will be revived the moment I can find a spare day) Matt Deegan won a Sony Gold for his radio station Fun Kids. I've blogged before about the gargantuan effort that goes into winning a top award (and a sony gold is unarguably the top accolade in the radio industry), but it bears repeating. First of all it, whatever it is, has to be just about the best thing in the industry and worth of winning an award. Then you have to go through the process of making your entry reflect "it", by being as good as it can be. This takes time, money and, often, days of research. Then you have to hope you've got the right judges in place. To get through this process and emerge with a gold in your hands is a brilliant achievement and it couldn't happen to a more deserving person. Well done Matt, you did yourself proud.