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Wednesday, April 28, 1999 Published at 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK


Zoe crowned queen of radio

Zoe Ball celebrates with fiance Norman "Fatboy Slim" Cook

BBC Radio 1 DJ Zoe Ball has carried off the top prize at the Sony Radio Awards, in her first year as a solo radio presenter.

BBC's Declan Wilson: Radio is still a force to be reckoned with
Veteran broadcaster John Peel also carried off a hat-trick of prizes for his Radio 4 programme Home Truths.

Judges gave Ball the Gold Award for her "high-profile contribution to the public image of UK radio over the past 12 months".

Accepting her award from 1960s pop legend Marianne Faithfull she said: "I am afraid I am going to do a bit of a Gwyneth (Paltrow).

"I am not going to cry, but I am going to list lots of people I want to thank."

Among them were former Radio 1 controller Matthew Bannister and current Radio 1 chief Andy Parfitt "for keeping me when the ratings went a bit wobbly"'.

Missed out on breakfast award

[ image: John Peel: Alternative music icon - but a winner for his Radio 4 show]
John Peel: Alternative music icon - but a winner for his Radio 4 show
She succeeded Virgin Radio rival Chris Evans, who won the Gold Award last year - but, like Evans, missed out on the breakfast music award.

That went to Adam Cole of Manchester commercial station Galaxy 102, who pushed Ball into second place, and was praised for a "deep understanding" of his audience.

Although best known for his work on Radio 1, John Peel's Radio 4 Home Truths programme carried off awards in the magazine, short form and weekend talk categories.

Entertainment journalist Mark Ecclestone: "Home Truths is a great piece of radio"
Judges said: "Home Truths takes what could be a banal programme brief and turns it into highly memorable and compelling radio.

"John Peel is the star of the show because of his very self-deprecating manner."

Home Truths beat BBC News Online's own programme on the World Service, Newstalk, in the weekend talk category. The programme, now called Talking Point ON AIR, won a silver award. It gives listeners worldwide the chance to quiz correspondents and experts on the issues of the day.

At the start of the ceremony, the chairman of the Sony Radio Awards committee Tim Blackmore called for the thousands of guests to remember murdered BBC presenter Jill Dando, who used to work at BBC Radio Devon.

He said: "I think it is right and proper that her name should be in our thoughts at this celebration of the skills of broadcasting."

Station of the Year

[ image: Mark Radcliffe: His afternoon show was victorious]
Mark Radcliffe: His afternoon show was victorious
The ceremony, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London, was hosted by Paul Gambaccini and Kirsty Young.

Last year's Sony Gold winner, BBC Radio 2, beat BBC Radio 1 and Classic FM to be named UK Station of the Year.

Judges praised its "broad and distinctive programming" and said: "Radio 2 shows a confident and mature ability to serve an audience across the nation."

Radio 2's new image has been credited to new presenters like Mark Lamarr, who was named music broadcaster of the year. His Radio 2 rock 'n' roll show Shake, Rattle and Roll also won the special interest music programme category.

Inverness-based commercial station Moray Firth Radio won the small station of the year award for the fourth year running.

The regional winner for stations with potential audiences up to 12 million was Glasgow-based easy listening station Clyde 2.

Zoe Ball's breakfast show predecessor, Mark Radcliffe, won his second gold award for the afternoon show he hosts with Marc 'Lard' Riley, while Radio 1 colleague Pete Tong also scooped gold for his Essential Selection dance show.

Talk broadcaster of the year was Tim Hubbard of BBC Radio Cornwall, while sport broadcaster was BBC Radio 5 Live's Ian Payne. 5 Live's breakfast show won a gold award for breakfast talk programme, with bronze going to the BBC's station for London, GLR.

Meanwhile, BBC Radio Ulster's coverage of the Omagh bombing earned it a gold award in the news category.

TV presenters Richard Whiteley and Dale Winton were on the 85-strong panel of judges, as was Undertones singer-turned Radio Authority member Feargal Sharkey.

Click here for details of the major nominations.

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