After a year when it felt like a major global news story was happening every week - if not every day - it should come as no surprise that all of the nominees for Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) Radio Broadcaster of the Year are fearless journalists.
Martha Kearney's excellent stewardship of 'The World At One', which turned 51 this year, earned her another slot on the shortlist for the BPG's top individual radio gong. Kearney was previously nominated in 2008 and 2013. Jeremy Vine - who has been shortlisted for both the programme and broadcaster awards in the past - has been included after expertly navigating his listeners from issues from Brexit to school uniforms.
The shortlist also includes LBC's James O'Brien for the first time. A true 21st century broadcaster, O'Brien's live show throughout a tumultuous year had a life that lived beyond its slot with his rants shared widely on social media.
Desert Island Discs played host to Bruce Springsteen in its 75th year
Previewers, reviewers and media correspondents with a particular interest in radio draw up the shortlist for the radio categories for the BPG Awards, which are sponsored by Virgin TV this year. We do look for variety but not at the expense of awarding the most worthy winners.
Despite there being some strong contenders from outside the BBC - including Adam Buxton's own podcast and luxury publisher Monocle - the shortlist for Radio Programme of the Year is dominated by Radio 4. Today, 'In Our Time' and 'Desert Island Discs', which has just turned 75, represent the best of what the corporation has to offer in news, educational programming and entertainment respectively.
Radio 4's 'PM' and its presenter Eddie Mair come up in the judges' discussions every year. This year was different. It wasn't that they'd stopped delivering flawless journalism in a year with many flaws. The show was as strong as ever. Instead, it was the addition of Mair's moving interviews with the late Steve Hewlett.
As Jane Anderson, a judge and radio editor of Radio Times, said: "In his last few weeks, Steve Hewlett shared, with poignancy; wit and absolute dignity, the profundity of facing one's mortality. His rigorous journalistic instincts opened much-needed debate on the options available to cancer patients depending upon their postcode and income."
That's got to be what radio is all about.
The nominations for 2017 BPG Radio Broadcaster of the Year are:
- Martha Kearney - The World at One, BBC Radio 4
- Eddie Mair - PM, BBC Radio 4
- Jeremy Vine - BBC Radio 2
- James O'Brien - LBC
The nominations for 2017 BPG Radio Programme of the Year are:
- Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4
- In Our Time, BBC Radio 4
- PM, BBC Radio 4
- Today, BBC Radio 4
The winners will be announced at an awards lunch at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 17 March 2017.
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