With just over 24 hours till the closing date for this year’s IMRO Radio Awards, we catch up with Chair of Judges Peter McPartlin and Keith Johnson from IMRO.
RadioToday: Radio has been at the heart of the nation during COVID-19 lockdown, what do you predict we will see in the 2020 entries – trends, content etc
Peter: “I think we’re likely to see a lot of stations use the opportunity of the awards to demonstrate the initiatives that they put in place to keep listeners informed and connected throughout the pandemic and also how the managed with their staff to keep a fully-fledged service on-air even though many of them were working remotely. Awards entries are a perfect way in which the strength of our radio network can be shown during times like this.”
RadioToday: What does the increase in independent judges mean, what do they add to the judging process etc?
Peter: “I think what we proved last year, with the revamping of the judging and the composition of individual panels for different categories, was that there is a huge degree of integrity and fairness involved amongst the judges and the committee who organise the event. I think entrants can take reassurance that the same rigour will apply this year because not only must the judging be right, it needs to be seen to be right.”
RadioToday: IMRO has returned as sponsors of this year’s awards, can you tell us why radio matters so much to the organisation and how you wanted to support the industry having had a very tough few months?
Keith: The radio and music industries have a long and well understood symbiotic relationship. A vibrant and healthy broadcasting sector feeds directly into the success of the music industry and visa versa. However, the current crisis has created unprecedented challenges for both. Over the course of these last few months we have all witnessed the pivotal role that radio has played in keeping the masses informed, educated and entertained as we all try to navigate the current crisis. These awards celebrate creativity and creative output, a key component of which is the music content contained within radio programming. It is important that we celebrate and applaud creative excellence and these awards provide the ideal platform to do just that.
RadioToday: The Gay Byrne award for next Newcomer, what do you think that will mean to the winner in its inaugural year?
Keith: Without question the leading Irish broadcaster of his era, Gay Byrne played a hugely influential role in the transformation of attitudes in Ireland in the latter part of the 20th century. His undisputed reputation as a true trailblazer in Irish broadcast history is something that is well understood by his peers and by those who have followed in his footsteps. The recipient of this new award will be fully aware of the gravitas that is attached to this accolade as they set out on their own broadcasting journey.
— IMRO Radio Awards (@IMRORadioAwards) July 22, 2020