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You can never have too many award ceremonies

Generic trophy image - shiny though, despite it's lack of specificity

We’re in the thick of the 2012 awards season, and I don’t mean the London Olympics.

Radio’s Sony’s, Arqivas, Cannes Lions, New York Festivals and Radio Production Awards have declared their winners already. Congratulations if you were among them.

Some group-specific commercial radio schemes are yet to run this year, while the Gillard Awards for BBC local stations and the Radio Academy Nations and Regions awards are underway now.

The number of ceremonies has increased significantly in recent years. Some in our industry say this devalues the currency. I disagree.

Awards are not just there to identify and celebrate the few who made the year’s top ten best pieces of work. They make a powerful statement that our whole industry and radio audiences appreciate effort, creativity and results.

Awards schemes set targets for even the smallest creative team. Targets drive up our standards and any team produces better work with regular review and feedback, sharing its output, discussing it and then celebrating the best stuff.

It is that force more than anything else to which I attribute the award success of my creative teams down the years and of course it goes on in production team review sessions every day. It’s also the basis of the monthly Earshot Creative Review podcast but proper awards schemes formalise the process and further publicise excellence.

Whether organised across the whole industry or by a single team in one small group, award schemes bring out the best in everyone.

They work best when they shed light on the judges’ thinking and, crucially, let us listen to the winning work of others. You have to complete the feedback loop in order to learn. Until now, however, it’s often been mighty hard to hear all the successful entries from the awards we aspire to win.

So I am delighted to see the Radio Academy published the audio of the winning entries from the Sony Awards (albeit for a limited period) the time round and now has done the same for the Radio Production Awards online.

Not before time. The short clips they used to play at the ceremonies never did justice to the entries, made the events longer and could barely be heard on the night, let alone remembered the next day.

Good work Radio Academy. All radio award schemes should do this.

Image: Trophy by Jodie Van Der Wetering, on Flickr, used under CC licence