BBC makes clean sweep of best station honours

Radio 2 celebrates its UK station of the year Radio Academy gold Radio 2 celebrates its UK station of the year Radio Academy gold

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The BBC made a clean sweep of best station honours at Monday's Radio Academy Awards, winning all three categories.

Radio 2 was UK station of the year, praised by the judges as a network 'at the top of its game' and commended for its 'remarkable' editorial range and depth and 'unsurpassed' reach.

Radio Ulster took gold in the competition for stations with one million plus listeners.

'It is clearly well in-touch with its listeners, reflecting the area superbly and showing true radio dexterity in the way it balanced difficult issues,' said the judges, with BBC Northern Ireland director Peter Johnston later commending the 'skill, creativity and dedication' of its staff.

BBC Tees, meanwhile, took top prize among smaller (under one million) stations. Judges said it was a station 'where 'proud of where we live' is not just a strap line but a daily inspiration to great local radio'.

It was a successful night for the Corporation's radio services, topping 22 of 34 categories.

Radio 4 claimed the biggest haul, winning in the news and current affairs (PM), drama (The Morpeth Carol), comedy (The Secret World) and interview (Winifred Robinson talking to Ralph Bulger) categories.

'Feisty style'

The station's Soul Music: Strange Fruit was named best music feature or documentary. Produced by Maggie Ayre, it explored Billie Holiday's famous anti-lynching song, talking to those with personal stories of 'this most extreme and ugly form of racism'.

Radio 1's Greg James (entertainment programme) and Zane Lowe (music radio broadcaster) joined 5 live's Victoria Derbyshire (speech radio broadcaster) and Danny Baker - named speech radio personality for the fourth year in a row - on the winners' podium.

Three Counties breakfast show presenter Iain Lee (centre) celebrates his gold with the team High risers: Iain Lee (centre) and his breakfast show team top their category

Iain Lee's Three Counties show was breakfast show of the year (under 10m) - 'his feisty style and arresting approach make this a compelling listen,' said the judges - while Radio Norfolk's news team shared the local radio journalist of the year gold.

'Vivid, dramatic but always responsible reporting that placed this talented news team right at the heart of a developing story. This is local news gathering at its finest,' the judges said of Anthony Isaacs, Nanette Aldous, Andrew Turner, Clare Worden, Wally Webb, Vikki Irwin, David Whiteley, Graham Barnard and Edd Smith.

Better than tv

There were no awards - known as Sonys until this year after the withdrawal of the long-term sponsor - for the BBC's digital stations, but World Service bagged the live event prize for its coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela.

Lincoln's William Wright and Charlie Partridge clutch their gold award Let it shine: Lincoln's William Wright and Charlie Partridge clutch gold

It 'told the story better to its worldwide audience than tv could', reckoned the judges.

Meanwhile, Radio Lincolnshire was rewarded for creative innovation for #Lipdublincoln. This saw more than 500 Lincoln residents perform a lipdub of Take That songs.

Managing editor Charlie Partridge told Ariel at the time: 'It's about making impact, celebrating our community, more than anything else, and hopefully there will be people getting a completely different idea of our station.'

After the awards ceremony in London, the proud Radio Lincoln boss tweeted: 'I'm sleeping with this under my pillow tonight!'

Veteran BBC radio presenter Tony Blackburn - who celebrates his 50th anniversary in broadcasting in July - received the gold lifetime achievement award from the Radio Academy for the second time in his career.

Other winners were BBC Bristol for Radio 3's Between the Ears: Mighty Beast (best feature or documentary); Radio 1's Tempted by Teacher (news feature or documentary); Global News Creative Services' Wimbledon 2013 (promotional campaign); Radio 2's Jamie Cullum - Folded Wing (music programme); and 5 live's The Day We Won Wimbledon (sports programme).

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