Commercial radio beaten to Sony gongs as BBC cleans up

LONDON - BBC Radio 2 won a total of five accolades at last night's Sony Radio Academy Awards, with veteran broadcaster Paul Gambaccini and Chris Evans picking up gongs, as commercial radio took just nine of the night's 33 awards.

Evans won in two categories, picking up gold for The Entertainment Award and Music Radio Personality of The Year for his BBC Radio 2 drivetime show, completing a major comeback since being ousted from Virgin Radio in 2001.

BBC Radio 4 picked up six gold awards, adding to the trouncing of the commercial radio players.

BBC Radio 3's Andy Kershaw took the silver Music Radio Personality of the Year, with BBC Radio 2's Mark Radcliffe picking up bronze. His show also won the Music Programme Award for 'Smooth Operations'.

Paul Gambaccini, presenter of 'America's Greatest Hits' on BBC Radio 2, picked up a lifetime achievement award, with the station's fifth win coming for Malcolm McClaren's 'Musical Map of London', which won in the Music Special Award category.

Heart FM's Jamie Theakston and Harriet Scott took the silver Entertainment Award, with Radio Clyde's 'Bowie @ The Breakfast' winning the bronze.

GCap's Classic FM picked up UK Station of the Year, holding off competition from BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2, to become one of the few commercial stations to win in a major category, along with QSoft Consulting's Gaydar Radio, which won Digital Terrestrial Station of the year.

Virgin Radio's Christian O'Connell picked up gold in the Competition category for 'Who's Calling Christian?', with Magic 1152 Sport's winning the Live Event Coverage award, Planet Rock taking gold for Station Imaging, and Heart Network' s Francis Currie being named Station Programmer of the year.

In further BBC wins, Radio 1's Colin Murray received the station's only gold award for Music Broadcaster of the Year, and BBC Radio 5 took the gold Sport's Programme Award for Sportsweek. BBC Radio 4 won gold in the Breakfast Show, Interactive Programme and Speech Programme categories, with the station's John Humphrys taking an individual award for The Today Programme.

The ceremony also honoured BBC WM presenter Tony Butler with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and a one-off Broadcaster's Broadcaster gong for the late John Peel, to mark the award's 25th anniversary.

Tim Blackmore, chairman of the Sony Radio Academy Awards Committee, said: "Whatever platform was used to distribute their work, every one of our winners has demonstrated the kind of creativity, credibility, or objectivity that has come to exemplify a quarter of a century of Sony's."

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