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Radio Academy axes annual awards and festival

By | Published on Monday 10 November 2014

Radio Academy

The Radio Academy last week announced some radical changes that will see the axing of its two key events – the Radio Festival and Radio Academy Awards (aka for most of its history the Sony Awards) – and the axing of its London office and staff of four.

The Academy, perhaps most notable for bringing together the BBC and the commercial radio sector, was always a pretty small operation, but with its big annual awards show and industry conference it punched above its weight, controlling two of the radio industry’s biggest annual events in addition to running an online resource and more regular networking and training sessions.

The loss of Sony as a headline sponsor of the annual awards show likely posed some big challenges for the radio industry group, which perhaps made last week’s announcements somewhat inevitable, though the cutbacks – which were unanimously backed by the Academy’s thirteen trustees after a “strategic review” – nevertheless came as a surprise.

Though in their announcement, the trustees were keen to stress that the Academy was not shutting down, adding that a new annual event would be created to replace the awards and festival, likely taking place in London. Radio 1’s Ben Cooper, who is Chair of the Academy, said: “I’m confident and determined that as an industry we can create an exciting and modern event that retains the gravitas of over 30 years of Awards”.

The Academy’s London office will close at the end of the year. Last week’s announcements won’t affect this month’s Radio Production Awards – staged by the organisation with the Radio Independents Group – the nominations for which were also announced last week.