Tuesday, 25 October saw the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton play host to the MTN Radio Awards breakfast debate, facilitated by media personality Jeremy Maggs. Prior to the debate, the awards’ CEO, Lance Rothschild, appeared before attendees to give feedback on the 2011 awards, and announce changes for the 2012 season. Samantha Cook attended and reports back.
Kicking off with feedback from the most recent MTN Radio Awards season, Rothschild was positive about the end result, commenting that the feedback was a lot less negative than the year before, and that the awards got a lot more right in 2011 than they did in 2010. “Particularly by bonding to more radio stations, all languages, and particularly bringing in community radio,” he added. “We doubled the number of entries, and we intend to grow that significantly this year.”
The feedback wasn’t all sunshine and roses, however, as Rothschild reported back on some of the less-positive responses to the 2011 awards. “Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) felt a little bit excluded in terms of not having a specific category, and some stations were possibly entered under the wrong areas or judged under the wrong criteria,” he admitted, adding that this issue will be addressed in the 2012 season. “We’ve actually opened up a specific PBS category, so we will be lumping the PBS stations [together] in their own category, because they have a completely different set of operating criteria and business criteria, so that’s quite important. We must certainly pay more attention to PBS.”
The addition of a public broadcasting category was not the only announcement made by Rothschild, who went on to introduce several other new categories. “With regards to community and campus radio stations this year – campus radio also is a little bit different to [other] community stations, so we’re going to have a couple of awards to separate campus radio out of the general community fold, particularly because campus radio has been doing so well. It’s been a significant contributor of talent to commercial radio over the last couple of years.”
“One thing [that] we left off in 2012, which we had in 2010 (and I think it was a serious omission), is ‘afternoon drive’. We’re going to have a specific ‘afternoon drive’ section, where we will award a presenter and we will award the show. We’re also looking to highlight something on weekend shows – the ‘best weekend show’, as well as an award for programme innovation and one for programme concept. The difference between the two is that programme innovation is something new that has been established – a lot of radio has become somewhat formulaic and we’re looking for people who are thinking and working differently, innovating and mixing new technology and new thoughts. Programme concept is more holistic, but the innovation is really about something new. And the last category we’re introducing this year is radio documentary – short format and long format. We had some interesting entries last year in terms of this, and we’re extending it this year. There was one particularly good one from East Coast Radio last year, which really would have swept this category.”