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Gold award

John Cary | 15:05 UK time, Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The first thing to say about the winner of Speech Broadcaster of the Year at the Sony Radio Awards is that he knows when to shut up. It was five minutes of silence that probably swayed the judges in favour of Simon Mayo, Radio 5 Live's weekday afternoon presenter.

Radio Five Live logoLast December, Ricky Gervais was in to talk about the Christmas Extras special, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was waiting to start his own interview. The two of them got talking about their shared loved of The Simpsons, and Simon had the confidence simply to let them get on with it. Watch what happened for yourself.

Simon won the Sony DJ award in the early 90s during his stint on the Radio 1 breakfast show. There were doubters at first when he switched to 5 Live seven years ago, but now, according to Woman's Hour's Jane Garvey (formerly of 5 Live herself): "Simon Mayo performs more intellectual somersaults in half an hour than most Radio 4 presenters do in a fortnight."

For me, the award comes as I say goodbye to editing Simon after five years. I'm moving the next programme along in the schedule, Drive, which I guess will keep me too busy to listen live to Simon each day. Time for me to sign up to the programme's clutch of podcasts, showcasing Simon's best interviews, the weekly books panel and, above all, the Friday movie wittertainment with the incomparable Mark Kermode.


  • Comment number 1.

    are these blogs now mainly for you to tell us about rebranding and awards?

    It seems a hellova way to tell us, could you not just have a list?

  • Comment number 2.

    Congratulations Simon. Richly deserved.

  • Comment number 3.


  • Comment number 4.

    Hank, (1), you have summed it up perfectly. The editors' blogs are entirely about "rebranding", "look and feel" "redesigns" and of course, a bit of self congratulation. The whole of the BBC are so far up themselves it brings tears to the eyes of the observer. And please don't even think about posting anything relating to real news on these blogs- the editors really don't want to know. A blog attracting many hundreds of posts is absolute anathema to them. The two blogs on "part of the conspiracy" attracted around 600 posts each, many of them hostile to the BBC's position. The average posts on those currently "being discussed now" is about 12- now that's more like it!

  • Comment number 5.

    For the last few months, since getting an internet radio, I've been listening to things like the Bryant Park Project on NPR a lot, which left me wishing that there was a British equivalent. It was a nice surprise in recent weeks to discover that there's been one on Radio 5 all along. I've been amazed by the skill with which Simon moves from one topic to another.

  • Comment number 6.

    A good broadcaster is a good broadcaster. I loved listening to Simon Mayo on Radio 1 breakfast, then when he moved to Simon Bates's slot, and now his 5 Live show is close to perfection.

    Like Jonathan Ross's BBC One programme, I sometimes look at the guest list and think to myself, hmmm, I'm not really interested in them, but both Messrs Ross and Mayo have the gift of making whoever they interview interesting.

    Well done Simon!

  • Comment number 7.

    Mayo is a genius in that afternoon slot. I've caught an hour or two almost everyday over the past few years and he handles high and lowish brow topics equally well. I only realise how good he really is when he has some time off and a replacement host comes in who's never as good. The TV reviews and the Books panel are my highlights of the week but the best is always saved until last with the Kermode film reviews. The banter usually has me in stitches and Kermode is a proper film review with real opinions, which seems rare these days.
    Mayo's programme is better overall than anything currently put out by Radio 4 and if he ever leaves that'll be the end of my 5 Live listening days. Mayo has turned out to be a true Radio treasure.

  • Comment number 8.

    Agree with M_Rock there.

    Mayo's programme highlights how good radio can be without having to pander to the lowest common denominator as much of the rest of 5 Live seems to doing.

    Victoria Derbyshire's producer should listen and learn - take a topic, discuss for half-an-hour, read out some texts relating to it but let the guests and panelists shape the show and deal with one thing at a time.

    It's a breath of fresh air compared to Derbyshire's jumble of a show where they jump from texts/calls about serious to facile issues in an instant.

    Mayo's show is also refreshingly less reliant on reading out listener's views on the topic of the day - sometimes I want to be informed, I'm not too bothered what 'Kevin from Kent' thinks about it.

    For once, I'd say the (self) congratulations are in order.

  • Comment number 9.

    Indeed, Simon's show has become an absolute staple for me, there is nowhere else where the diversity of subjects are covered in a way that strikes the balance so well between being informative, interesting and entertaining. This guy just has the knack of getting it right, pretty much all of the time, which is impressive.

    I don't think anyone realised quite how good simon would be at this kind of show when he started, but a truly worthy award winner he is.

    There seem to be rumors of Simon moving to BBC breakfast TV, i hope this doesn't happen, although I'm sure he would do a good job there too.

    BTW, you can see Simon getting his award and breaking his glasses in part 2 of this webcast ->


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