“It gets you nothing!” Radio host questions the value of awards

Former Assistant Editor
John Holmes, Graham Mackl

Ex-BBC and Virgin Radio host John Holmes has hit out against the radio industry’s treatment of award-winners, claiming that radio awards are actually detrimental to your career.

The comments came in an interview with Graham Mack for Podcast Radio.

Holmes, who has won nine Gold Sony Radio Awards, two British Comedy Awards, and a Broadcasting Press Guild Award, as well as two BAFTAs, spoke of being sacked shortly after winning awards.

He has been sacked by Virgin Radio, XFM, BBC 6 Music, talkRadio and Radio 4 over the years, and Mack also recalled losing his job shortly after winning a radio award.

“They’re always keen to call the Sonys or the ARIAS (Audio Radio Industry Awards) as they are now, the Oscars of the radio industry,” Holmes said.

“The difference between the Oscars of the radio industry and the actual Oscars or indeed any other award is, the moment you win one, it gets you nothing!”

In the UK, broadcasters including Danny Baker, Jono Coleman and Iain Lee have all lost their jobs shortly after winning awards.

“If you win an Oscar, your worth goes up,” Holmes continued.

“Win a radio award, the exact opposite happens, nobody cares, you certainly don’t get any more money and when you inevitably lose your job in the next couple of weeks following the awards ceremony, nobody will pick you up and give you a job despite that sitting on your shelf. And I have no idea why the industry is like that!”

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12 Aug 2020 - 7:22 pm

In Radio, like comedy and other performing arts, industry respect & recognition are the awards.
For a stand-up comic to hear their idol Jerry Seinfeld say, “I love what you do,” or an upcoming musician to be picked by Elton John to be an opening act, is the award.

My 2 cents worth
13 Aug 2020 - 10:32 am

It depends how you use the experiences of the award really, as a former PD, i had an award winner walk into my office the week after winning and demand more money. When i say demand, i don’t mean ask, it was a i want this or i’m out of here chat. Yet was 3rd or 4th in the ratings. That one conversation sent our relationship spiralling. It’s the hard work that reaps the rewards, the awards are the recognition of part of that, ratings are the other side of the recognition. Winning awards are a building block of a career not the making of it. That being said i don’t know the background or situation of what happened to these two guys.


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