MAKING THE MOMENTS THAT MATTER - THE ARIAS 2021
The best in audio was celebrated last week at London’s Mayfair Hotel. The ARIAS ceremony handed out awards to the UK’s top radio and podcasts from 2020.
It struck me that so many of the awards went to broadcasts that captured a moment. Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise, given all that 2020 threw at the world.
Several of the news and speech prizes went to programmes which covered the Coronavirus situation. These mostly told the real stories of people stuck in lockdown rather than covering the political and economic angels.
The “Moment of the Year” went to Jordan and Perri of Kiss FM and Diversity talking about the reaction to the dance group’s Black Lives Matter performance on Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t heard it search it out, it’s a powerful and honest bit of audio.
The Creative Innovation of the Year went to Absolute Radio 40s. A pop-up radio station steeped in Vera Lynn and nostalgia. Even that captured a moment, celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Radio 1 Xtra won The Impact Award for the Black Power Playlist, a collection of music tracks put together after the death of George Floyd and the conversations that followed.
You might think of radio as people playing records, you might think of podcasts as people talking a lot. It’s true and there are some very good people playing music on the radio and talking a lot on podcasts. But where audio comes into its own is capturing a moment. The moments can be big or small. They can be as massive as a live announcement of the latest lockdown restrictions or as small as someone calling to say thank you to a friend for helping them out.
Audio can happen so quickly. If one of our presenters has an idea, they can put it to the audience within seconds. If a bit of new music arrives that just HAS to be played, we can put it on the right channels instantly.
If a listener phones in with a great story we don’t have to have a planning meeting, followed by a mock-up, reviews sessions and focus group testing. We can put it straight to air and I guarantee it will be the one thing we broadcast that day the people will remember the most.
Audio can be there in the background, keeping you focussed when you work, keeping you from being bored in the car, keeping you company in the kitchen. And that’s great, it’s such a strength of the medium. But it’s those moments, the bits you didn’t expect, the times when you have to turn the volume up, that make it truly special.
Written by Euan McMorrow, Content Director for AVC Immedia.