In this blog last year I challenged the commercial radio industry to ensure that one of their number was among the list of nominees for the BPG Radio Awards in 2014. I am delighted to say that for the first time in many, many years there is a commercial nominee included among some wonderful nominees from the BBC.
To broaden the range of opinions this year I had expanded the radio committee to include Roy Martin (@roymartin), the managing editor of the website Radio Today, and Alex Farber (@alexfarber), the web editor of Broadcast. We were also honoured by the arrival of Torin Douglas (@torindouglas), the former BBC News media correspondent, who was able to join the committee now there is no longer any worries about conflict of interest!
Returning to the panel was Nigel Andrew, the radio editor of the Daily Mail, John Plunkett (@johnplunkett149), the broadcasting correspondent for The Guardian and the chair of the BPG, Jane Anderson (@janeandersonRT), the radio editor of Radio Times, Susan Jeffreys, the broadcaster, writer and reviewer from the Daily Mail, Sue Gaisford, a freelance journalist, and Valerie Gove, who is the wireless critic at The Oldie.
Our two radio categories include Radio Broadcaster of the Year and Radio Programme of the Year. In 2014 the newest addition to the 'Today' programme, Mishal Husain, is up for broadcaster for both her tireless professionalism and for being the second female presenter on the current line up. Nick Ferrari has been included in the list for his brilliant work on LBC breakfast, which has gone national in 2014, as well as the weekly interrogation (and quickly becoming institution) that is 'Call Clegg'.
The other two places in the Broadcaster of the Year shortlist went to two musicians who have become much-loved broadcasters. The Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has been recognised for his work on BBC Radio 4 and BBC 6 Music for the second-year running. Cerys Matthews, the singer and former member of Catatonia who was long-listed for in the broadcaster category last year, was shortlisted for her brilliant Sunday show.
We had less luck broadening out the programme nominees. The judges decided that only BBC Radio 4 shows were worthy of Radio Programme of the Year this time. I did push our panel but the shortlist was decided from a long list on a points system and so the result was non-negotiable. The shortlist included 'Woman's Hour', which our judges thought had had a cracking year in which it continued to innovate an established format. 'The Long View' was another established show that had a great 2013.
My fellow judges praised the shortlisted radio play 'The Russian Gambler' for being a brilliant contemporary update of Dostoevsky's The Gambler'. The final programme of the shortlist was 'Tweet of the Day', a series of 90-second episodes that kick off with the call of a bird at 5.58am followed by an explanation about that particular species. 'Tweet of the Day' was praised for being a "well-produced, succinct show perfect for its time slot or as a bite-size snackable piece of content available on-demand".
The winners in the best radio categories for the BPG's 40th Annual Awards, which are sponsored by the Discovery Channel, will be announced at a ceremony at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Friday 28 March. Good luck to all the nominees.
The shortlists for the radio categories in the 40th Annual BPG Awards are:
Radio Broadcaster of the Year
Cerys Matthews (6 Music)
Jarvis Cocker (Radio 4 and 6Music)
Mishal Husain (Radio 4)
Nick Ferrari (LBC 97.3)
Radio Programme of the Year
The Long View (Radio 4)
The Russian Gambler (Radio 4)
Tweet of the Day (Radio 4)
Woman's Hour (Radio 4)
The BPG Awards take place on Friday 28 March 2014 and are sponsored by Discovery Channel.