Radio Humberside wins station of the year at Gillards

Radio Humberside team Radio Humberside has won station of the year twice in 2013

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The big gong went to Radio Humberside, taking station of the year at the annual Gillard Awards that celebrate the best of BBC local radio.

At a ceremony only a stone's throw away from Windsor Castle, the station was given gold by a panel of judges. BBC director of Radio Helen Boaden - who chaired the panel for the top prize - said they showed 'brilliance, imagination and creative curiosity underpinned by outstanding Rajar figures'. The station has a reach of 26%, one of the best in local radio.

Station editor Simon Pattern looked overwhelmed as his team crowded around him and cheered. It was an especially significant win because it comes off the back of a Sony gold in the same category earlier this year. Pattern told Ariel that the secret to their success can be explained in the relationship they enjoyed with their listeners.

Start Quote

You do the best you can to find very strong stories which explain to our audience what has gone on and why”

End Quote Marianne Bell Editor, Radio Oxford and Radio Berkshire

'They connect with the station in the most unique way. They text us more than most stations get texts, they talk to us all the time, they tell us when we get it right and they make sure to tell us when we get it wrong. And there is a genuine relationship between the station and its audience and that's it.'

He admitted that the BBC's recent troubles had affected public trust, with 'pain' felt by every member of staff, but that the damage had not been permanent. 'We share in everything that has happened to the BBC in the last 12 months, but the connection with the audience means that the trust is rebuilt very quickly.'

Pattern said you only needed to go as far back as the DQF savings targets, which caused dismay when people learned of how deep the cuts would be. 'The audience is passionate about what stations like ours are doing across the whole BBC local radio network and they are vocal about it when it's under attack,' he said.

Hat trick for Oxford
Tony Snell, Radio Merseyside It was a double win for Radio Merseyside's Tony Snell

Arguably, Radio Humberside's win was eclipsed by Radio Oxford's achievement, scooping three awards for news coverage, sport and promotional campaigns. The station tackled a difficult story about the sexual exploitation of young girls for which it was commended.

'It's an awful story to find on your patch, but we don't' make the news, we cover the news,' said editor Marianne Bell, who is also in charge of Radio Berkshire. 'You do the best you can to find very strong stories which explain to our audience what has gone on and why.

'What we achieved tonight was not just for our coverage of a news story, but for how we communicated it to the community,' she added.

It was also a good night for Radio Merseyside's Tony Snell, who picked up two awards for best breakfast show and best presenter.

'The reason we do what we do is for the listeners,' he said. 'Listeners in Merseyside take no prisoners… but when you get it right it's a real buzz.'

Director of News James Harding presented Tracy Gee from Radio Leeds with an award for journalist of the year, who then announced, 'This is wicked.' Judge and BBC Breakfast host Louise Minchin said the journalist 'submitted an ear-catching portfolio of genuinely memorable radio full of original and often exclusive journalism'.

Friend to listeners
Gerald Jackson, Radio Lancashire Gerald Jackson received a standing ovation, with David Holdsworth and Lord Patten looking on

Introducing the awards, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said local radio was the 'glue of local communities', a friend to people who otherwise might be lonely and an important tool for ensuring that local government officials were kept accountable.

It was a thought echoed by controller of English regions David Holdsworth, who said that BBC Local Radio was there to 'champion and cheer on, but also to scrutinize and investigate those in power'.

The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Gerald Jackson, who received a standing ovation for his outstanding contribution to radio from over 200 colleagues.

Jackson, a presenter and senior broadcast journalist at Radio Lancashire, has worked at the BBC for a staggering 45 years, 42 of those at the same radio station.

'This is an incredible shock,' he said after watching archive clips of himself over the years. In charge of organising the night, Jackson was told there would be no award for outstanding contribution this year, never suspecting that he would be honoured with it.

Next year's celebrations will come from Hull, since the awards traditionally go to a region covered by station of the year. The event was hosted by broadcaster Tony Blackburn and Radio Berkshire presenter Anne Diamond.

The ceremony is named after BBC Local Radio founder and war correspondent Frank Gillard and is in its 14th year.

Frank Gillard award winners 2013

Station of the year: Radio Humberside

Silver - Radio Leeds

Bronze - BBC Tees

Breakfast programme: Radio Merseyside, Tony Snell

Silver - Radio Leeds, Liz Green

Bronze: BBC Guernsey, Jim Cathcart

Programme presenter: Radio Merseyside, Tony Snell

Silver - Three Counties Radio, Jonathan Vernon

Bronze - Radio Berkshire, Andrew Peach

Original journalism: Radio Sheffield across the station

Silver - Radio York across the station

Bronze - Radio Humberside, 'Neets' and job scams

Coverage of a news story: Radio Oxford - Bullfinch trial on grooming and child sexual exploitation

Silver - BBC London 94.9 for murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich

Bronze - BBC Tees for Katrice Lee, a family's battle to find out what happened to their missing daughter

Journalist of the year: Radio Leeds, Tracy Gee

Silver - Radio Lancashire, Steve Becker

Bronze - Radio Cumbria, Julie Clayton

Impact: BBC Coventry & Warwickshire - 'Just the Job'

Silver - Radio Kent, 'The Dementia Diaries'

Bronze - Hereford & Worcester, 'The Lifeline Campaign'

Best midmorning: BBC Three Counties Radio, Jonathan Vernon Smith

Silver - BBC Essex, Dave Monk

Bronze - Radio Cumbria, Kevin Fernihough

Ultimate hot seat: Radio York, Jonathan Cowap's Big Conversation

Silver - Radio Suffolk, The Mark Murphy Show

Bronze - BBC Three Counties Radio, The JVS Show

Sport: Radio Oxford - The Team That Never Was

Silver - BBC Tees, Spennymoor Town at Wembley

Bronze - BBC London 94.9, Football League Final Day

Best Programme: Radio Suffolk -Britten on the Beach

Silver - Radio Humberside, The Kick Murphy Letters

Bronze: Radio Bristol, the Laura Rawlings Show live from Springwatch

Faith Programming: Radio Lancashire

Silver - BBC London 94.9, Inspirit with Jumoké Fashola

Bronze - Radio Nottingham

Station Promotion Campaign: Radio Oxford - Big Tour of Oxfordshire

Silver - BBC Hereford and Worcester, A Flag for Worcestershire

Bronze - Radio Humberside, The Class of Radio Humberside

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