In 2015 we offered Awards in 18 categories, the most in our history. In almost every case an entry consisted of a portfolio of work from the qualifying period (1st July 2014-30th June 2015) of up to 15 minutes in total PLUS a description & commendation of up to 600 words.
The exceptions are firstly the Production Hero award - candidates for this category will be entered by their colleagues and judged on the basis of written commendations of up to 600 words (ie no audio required). Secondly categories 14 and 18, the Producer of the Year and Gold Award respectively, which could not be entered. Finally entries to category 8, Best Drama Producer, could be accompanied by up to 30 minutes of audio.
For more guidance on entering, see the How to Enter page - this is retained for information and is likely to be similar in 2016, but we reserve the right to make changes.
All photographs on this page by Nick Edwards.
1. BEST DOCUMENTARY/FEATURE MAKER
presented by Ritula Shah and won by CATHY FITZGERALD
This category is designed to recognise outstanding achievement in general feature and documentary making and includes all areas of non-news features and documentaries. Typically this might include historical, arts, lifestyle features and documentaries. The Judges said of Cathy's entry:
"This producer generates listener intrigue and engagement from the very beginning of their audio…the desire to keep listening is established! The move into the heart of the subject matter is seamless. A great balance of v/o narrative; sound FX and interesting interviews, all contribute to the strong story telling. The pace and momentum is just right throughout and makes it very easy to follow. This producer’s work is not only creative and interesting, it is strong on communication which really opens it up it to be enjoyed by a many different audiences. She seems to have a knack for getting people to talk openly - often includes some touching/funny/emotional one-liners."
2. BEST NEWS & CURRENT AFFAIRS DOCUMENTARY/FEATURE MAKER
This category is designed to recognise outstanding journalistic achievement in news and current affairs documentary and feature making, including investigative documentaries and foreign reporting. Typically entries should be led or inspired by the news agenda, but can also include topical, issue-based, science or investigative documentaries and foreign reporting. The Judges said:
"Deborah’s entries showed solid journalism combined with strong production and great story-telling. The testimony from soldiers who were featured in The Lariam Legacy was shocking and very moving – allowed the story to unfold in the words of those directly affected. In UK Confidential Deborah brought to life a potentially dry topic looking at the release of 30 year old Home Office files with inventive production and concise scripting. The candidness of the key players, reflecting on their own and colleagues’ decisions decades on, means they can be much more open now than they were then, and ever year it is a delight. The Reunion episode about the Spycatcher book again showed that Deborah manages to put those involved at ease, with Paul Greengrass apologising to Robert Armstrong for the public criticism he faced over the phrase ‘economical with the truth’. Overall her work exemplifies how strong journalism and imaginative production creates engaging radio."
3. BEST COMEDY/ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCER
This category is designed to recognise outstanding achievement in comedy and other entertainment programming including panel games, but excluding music & drama. The Judges said of David's work:
"The overall winner displayed a classy set of production skills which when coupled with their passion for comedy, created the engaging programming. Humour, which obviously enhanced laughter when listening to the entry, with the tight and creative production which was pleasing to the “radio” ear meant only one winner. There was no need for the Judges to meet and have a discussion or debate as to who the winner should be. The decision was unanimous to award David Tyler"
4. BEST MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCER
This category is designed to recognise outstanding achievement in music programming including music-based documentaries and sequence programmes. The Judges said of Kellie's entry:
"You can really hear how much production effort had gone into this entry. Versatility and enthusiasm shone through, together with an ability to bring out the very best in talent. This was a worthy winner!"
5. BEST LIVE MUSIC PRODUCER/ENGINEER
This category recognises the production and broadcast (either live or pre-recorded) of musical performances in concerts, festivals and studios. The judges will be looking for entries which demonstrate the skills of a producer or engineer in capturing the sound of the musicians and/or the atmosphere of the event. The Judges said of Andy:
"A beautifully produced entry with a splendid variety of musical pieces that kept the judges hooked. The fantastic thing about this audio is that it is a live gig that has been captured as if Andy had all the access to the million dollar studios that the Stones use. You have to pinch yourself to remind yourself fit is LIVE with all the unpredictables and poor quality of live. You can hear every cymbal, every pin drop. This producer showed great prowess at tackling a diversity of topics and made them all authoritative and entertaining . A deserved winner across a variety of styles."
6. BEST PODCAST/ ONLINE PRODUCER
This category is designed to recognise an individual's achievement in the creation of online programming and/or podcasts, designed solely for transmission or distribution online. If the producer's body of work includes video elements (eg a 'visualised' podcast) this should be submitted as hyperlinks in the written documentation, as only audio files can be uploaded with each entry (see 'How to Enter' page). The Judges said:
"The Glyndebourne podcast represented an ideal use of the medium. It is targeted at a specific audience and appeals to a passion but maintains high production values that make the content appealing to both experts and first timers. Contributors were carefully chosen and allowed to show expertise without being condescending. All in all it was a very good listen."
7. BEST MULTI-PLATFORM CREATOR
This category is designed to recognise an individual's achievement in the creative extension of audio programming onto other media platforms. Judges will be looking for the visionary of the future. As the creator's body of work will include video elements and/or online presentations this/these should be submitted as hyperlinks in the written documentation, as only audio files can be uploaded with each entry (see 'How to Enter' page). The Judges said:
"A great multi-platform creator is someone who has a plan, executes creative content and uses the right platforms. Chris Skinner has created a strategy for the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio that combines story arc journeys, as demonstrated ably by the Red Bull Soap Box Radio work, alongside innovative takes on show regulars, re-imaging a 'best of the breakfast show' feature as the visualised Weekest Links.Creative, fun, technically adept and successful, Chris Skinner is an excellent multi-platform creator.to get significant audiences to consume their work."
8. BEST DRAMA PRODUCER
This category is designed to recognise outstanding achievement in the production of drama, dramatized readings, the spoken word and creative writing. The judges will consider choice of material, performance and production values. Entry length is up to 30 minutes in this category ONLY - to allow space to show the full impact of the dramatic extracts. The Judges said:
"The winning entry was bursting with energy and imagination. Techniques from documentary making met storytelling to create a fresh approach to both classic and contemporary material. The winner has a keen ear and an obvious delight in the power of the spoken word, sound and music. This combined with very strong stories captured the judge’s attention and no doubt would have entranced the radio audience."
9. NEW CATEGORY: BEST AUDIOBOOK/ READINGS PRODUCER
Sponsored by: - 7 quality studios in Soho. Presented by Nicholas Briggs and won by ROY MCMILLAN
This category is designed to recognise outstanding achievement in audiobook production. The judges will consider range and choice of material, performance, direction and production values. The Judges said:
"Roy McMillan, produces more than 400 hours of audio every year, which means at least one, and often two titles every week. He’s created a culture of creative production through imaginative direction and performance. Written texts are dramatized for the mind through intense, enchanting and evocative single voice performances that generate multiple characterizations. He successfully transcends the audio drama and spoken word traditions with innovative work that embraces the contemporary trend in fiction for story telling through multiple characters and narrators. The judges heard performances and dramatic interpretations that could justifiably win awards in theatre, radio or television and film."
10. BEST NEWCOMER
Presented by John McCarthy and won by ANISHKA SHARMA
This category is designed to honour a newcomer to the production side of the radio and audio business who has demonstrated a notable ability during the qualifying period. The judges will be looking for evidence of a sustained contribution to a production or production company, or for a remarkable debut as a producer or engineer. The Judges said:
"The entries from the shortlisted 'Newcomers' give us great confidence in the future of radio. The winner’s powerful portfolio demonstrated compelling use of sound and creative storytelling techniques. Innovative yet controlled with an amazing sound, great levels, clear speech and interesting contrasts. We were moved and uplifted."
11. NEW CATEGORY: GRASSROOTS PRODUCTION AWARD
Presented by Peter Curran and won by ROUNDHOUSE RADIO
This category can be entered by an individual, production company, radio station or community based organisation that has shown extraordinary achievement in identifying, nurturing or mentoring new and diverse talent to the radio and audio industry. The Judges said:
"In a category stacked to the rafters with outstanding examples of innovation, creativity and nurturing of new talent, the winners were in good competitive company. The judges were in total agreement, however, that Roundhouse proved themselves to be out in front. Their impressive range of voices and experiences coupled to the high quality of their productions made all the difference. They brought an energetic freshness to their sound and an originality in execution – and are worthy recipients of this award for the the talent they have brought to air and those offering support behind the scenes."
12. BEST SOUND DESIGNER
This category is designed to recognise the important role the sound designer (studio manager or engineer) plays in many productions. The judges will take into account sound quality, innovation and creative contribution to programmes. The Judges said of Steve's work:
"In a competitive category of very interesting entries, the portfolio of audio work by Steve Urquhart was accomplished, innovative, fresh and consistently engaging. Steve combines the perfect balance of high production values and a fascination with the act of listening, enhancing the audio experience yet never over-powering the story-telling. The cleverly crafted programmes he submitted ranged from a captivating exploration of graffiti culture in 1970s New York, to the compelling story of The Most Dangerous Guy in Norway. The judges unanimously agreed that Steve Urquhart is a worthy winner of this year’s Best Sound Designer."
13. NEW CATEGORY: : BEST NATIONS AND REGIONS PRODUCER
Presented by Dotun Adebayo and won by PAUL EVANS
This category is designed to recognise outstanding achievement from a UK based producer in any genre whose primary working base is outside the Greater London area, or in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Where possible entries should highlight the way in which the producer has benefitted from, or reflected either a regional outlook, or alternative national outlook, in their programme-making. The Judges said of Paul's submission:
"Paul’s entry was engaging throughout, but it included a ‘stop what you’re doing’ moment with Airing Pain - a podcast for Pain Concern about Female Genital Mutilation. This incredibly powerful production dealt with the subject with great honesty and sensitivity. This is really important programme making. The rest of Paul’s entry demonstrated how rooted his programmes are in Wales; with intelligent and well-crafted stories about events in Welsh history. In his programme reflecting on the Gresford Colliery disaster, Paul beautifully helps to keep the memory of those who perished alive. The breadth of material shown in Paul's entry, demonstrate an ability to bring his talents as a presenter and producer to bear on many different kinds of radio project. The judges felt that this versatility combined with his excellent storytelling ability made him the deserving winner."
14. PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Presented by Martha Kearney and won by CATHY FITZGERALD
This category cannot be entered but will be a pick of the ‘best of the best’, judged by an independent committee of judges. This could be the most outstanding winner from across the other categories, or someone whose entry demonstrates an exceptional range of skills or genres, or has overcome unusual challenges in winning a category. The Judges said of Cathy's work:
"In determining the ‘Producer of the Year’ category, there can be so many different factors to consider with all winners excelling in their categories, but the panel of judges was unanimous in declaring this talented producer their winner. Cathy Fitzgerald takes ordinary subjects and makes them into extraordinary radio. The body of work that Cathy submitted demonstrates an extraordinary range of production techniques, the treatment of her work is brave and innovative, and her unique use of sound, combining effects and narrative, shows astonishing creativity."
15. INDIE OF THE YEAR
Presented by Roger Bolton and won by TBI MEDIA
This category recognises a company’s success across the year. Entries from the smallest to the largest companies welcome. Judges will consider the level of creative excellence as well as business challenges and growth of the company during the qualifying period. The judges will also consider a company’s contribution to regional output where appropriate.
"The company that has been selected as the winner of the Indie of the Year Award impressed all three judges with a fantastic, eclectic and imaginative range of programmes. Their entry included some of the best broadcasts of the year, with high praise given especially to The Thought Chamber — the perfect example of a simple idea executed with such brilliance that it becomes something extraordinary. TBI Media demonstrates why fortune favours the brave. They were ambitious and created programmes that brought audio to life. They are a company that lives up to their name – The Big Idea"
16. PRODUCTION HERO AWARD
sponsored by Ppresented by Emma Barnett and won by TONY MCSHANE
This category is designed to recognise exceptional achievements which can be considered over and above the call of duty in the production year. It is intended to celebrate the production roles not covered by other awards, such as production manager, event co-ordinator, researcher, member of technical support or online staff. A written nomination of no more than 600 words should be endorsed by the individual’s employer or manager.
"Working on a busy live radio show, you never know what is going to happen next. You need someone in charge who is sharp as a needle, and can respond quickly to changing circumstances and events. Tony McShane is that producer. Tony is a producer who sees what no one else sees, and has an attention to detail second to none. He reacts to changing events with speed and flair … from finding a wheelchair for a disabled lady in 7 minutes flat, to quickly finding the location of a suicidal phone –in caller, sending the emergency services round, and saving their life. Tony’s day to day production work is of the highest standard, and he gives everything he has; he runs a disciplined and professional operation, but he cares about, and supports his team. Above all, he’s a great producer, who works way beyond his job description and most of all, makes the most magical award winning shows. "
17. NEW CATEGORY: PRESENTER HERO AWARD
sponsored by Video intro from Christian O'Connell and won by RICHIE FIRTH
This presenter category is designed to recognise an exceptional on-air talent (or presenter partnership), who in the eyes of their producers has gone over and above the call of duty on a regular basis. Please note, this award is not just about on-air performance. A written nomination of no more than 600 words from a production team member should explain how this presenter has shown themselves to be a lifesaver IN ADDITION to the audio sample of their broadcasting. They may have coped with stressful situations, provided a vital role at a difficult time, or simply shown extraordinary resolve and determination in keeping the show on the road.
18. GOLD AWARD
This category cannot be entered, but will be selected from a shortlist by the Radio Independents Group RPA Committee. It will recognise the achievements of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution, usually over a number of years, to the independent radio and audio production sector in the UK.