Every year the Hospital Radio Association throws a massive Oscars-style awards do. Stations and presenters around the country submit audio to be judged by radio industry professionals. For the last three years I've entered, made the top 10 but never won the one of the prizes (imaginatively known as the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards). "Always the bridesmaid but no cigar" or something like that! However, 2014 was different. On my fourth attempt I am delighted to say I struck silver.
Whenever anyone receives an award for anything they always say "I wasn't expecting that”. It's normally false modesty. But I honestly wasn't expecting to win anything. I didn't even have space in my suitcase for the trophy! On the night I wasn’t expecting to win for two reasons – (1) because, our table was right at the back of the room (it turned out this had no bearing on anything, the award winners were scattered throughout the venue) and (2) the phrase "fourth time lucky" is never used by anyone!
I've been doing a show on Hospital Radio Reading for seven years now and, regardless of awards, nothing would make me want to give up my modest mission of cheering up, via the radio, people who are ill in hospital. However nice trophy is wonderfully encouraging and II can’t wait to get back on HRR this Saturday (12pm-2pm).
To my fellow hospital broadcasters, and to anyone else reading this who might be a budding broadcaster or performer – or indeed involved in any field that has an awards scheme – here are some reasons why you should think about giving it a go.
- You might think awards are irrelevant so long as you are doing your job (in my case entertaining the patients.) Yes the patients are of paramount importance. However, putting together your award will force you to listen to your show or assess your performance and will give you the focus you need to improve and therefore be of greater benefit to your audience, your customers etc.
- The awards are a unique opportunity to get advice from the radio industry. You can never have enough good advice. Many of the judges started their radio career in hospital radio so can give the perspective from form both hospital radio and professional radio.
- You entering the award will help to raise awareness and stress the relevance of hospital radio. This ultimately helps hospital radio stay alive.
- Regardless of winning your entry will serve as a lovely souvenir of your time on hospital radio. In later life it would be terrible to sit back and say “if only I had a recording of all the fun I had on hospital radio”.
- What have you got to lose by entering? Absolutely nothing so go for it! There is no shame in not being nominated. The spirit of the awards means that you will be respected simply for having the courage to try.
We weren't allowed to give acceptance speeches; just as well really because due to how talkative radio people are we would probably still be there now! So I thought I'd thank a few people here.
In no particular order: Gerard Rocks the chairman of HRR for all his encouragement and for letting the overexcited teenage me join the station (I haven't actually changed). Lou Remenyi, my current co-host, who for the last few years has put up with my forgetfulness and general nonsense. Former co-hosts Rob Pettafor, Rob Stevenson and Tarah Farrer for being great fun. Jonathan Sawyer for fixing things when I break them and providing the voice of Alexander Graham Bell in my award entry (don’t ask, it’s a long story !) Martin Rolfe for showing me the importance of storytelling on the radio and showing me that hospital radio can be different and creative. Louise Croombs for winning HHR’s first award in ages and inspiring me to give the awards a go. My parents – everybody thanks their parents but mine did listen to my award entry countless times.
And, finally, thanks to you the patients who have listened in to (and joined in with) the fun on our Saturday “Music While You Munch” lunchtime Record Requests programme. If you’re in hospital this Saturday and would like to lend me an ear, I promise to give it back at some point! (Written by Rhodri Buttrick)
Hospital Radio Reading winners at the HBA Awards
2010 (Glasgow) : Best Newcomer (Gold Award) – Louise Croombs
2011 (Northampton : Best Female Presenter (Gold Award) – Louise Croombs
2013 (Blackpool) : HRR had a record 7 Top 10 nominations in 7 different categories
Best Programme with Multiple Presenters (Gold Award) – Wednesday Night Record Requests
Best Female Presenter (Bronze Award) – Louise Croombs
2014 (Bristol) : Best Male Presenter (Silver Award) – Rhodri Buttrick
2015 (Newcastle) : Best Male Presenter (Gold Award) – Rhodri Buttrick