Eddie Mair: "Like my tireless charity work, I never talk about my awards"

"I once saw 5 Live’s Peter Allen bludgeon a colleague to death with one of his Sonys. That big move to Salford? Cover story to distract the papers"

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Eddie Mair: "Like my tireless charity work, I never talk about my awards"
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The Sony Radio Academy Awards are widely regarded as the Oscars of the radio industry. So to win one is pretty glamorous. Having said that, I’ve seen the Music Producers Guild Awards described as the Oscars of the music industry; the Great British Pub Awards are recognised as the Oscars of the pub industry, and the Corgi awards have been described as the Oscars of the plumbing industry. I guess we all like to sprinkle a little stardust on our lives by believing that we share something with Hollywood’s most glittering night of nights. But let’s face it, we don’t.

Anyone who’s witnessed me staggering drunk out of the ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane after the Sonys, aggressively slurring at innocent passers-by that they should “keep their thieving handsh off of my Oscarsh”, will attest to that. In my head I’m channelling Dame Maggie Smith, but in reality as I lunge towards the Central Line, I’m Russell Crowe.

The other thing about the Sonys is that they are held in April or May, so why am I bringing them up on this September day? Surely not to shoehorn in a mention (yet again) of the two Sony Gold Awards I was involved in this year? Of course not. Like my tireless charity work, I never talk about my awards.

The truth is, I got four Sony awards this year. And no, I’m not seeing double. That wore off about a fortnight after the ceremony.

We got a note in the PM office recently telling us that there was a design flaw in the awards and we would be supplied with replacements. What follows is rather embarrassing. Along with colleagues, I spent a considerable amount of time examining the award that Jo, our editor, keeps on her desk next to me. What could this design flaw be that merited a fresh trinket being made?

The awards are a kind of heavy perspex in the shape of a radio. Very heavy perspex. I once saw 5 Live’s Peter Allen bludgeon a colleague to death with one of his Sonys. That big move to Salford? Cover story to distract the papers.

Inside the perspex, a detailed gold representation of a radio. We all spent ages trying to spot the problem, but couldn’t. It was like trying to find Waldo to get him to find a needle in 100 haystacks on a moonless night, blindfold.

Only when the replacement awards arrived did it dawn on us. The mistake wasn’t some infinitesimal detail. It turns out that right in the top left corner where it should say in bold letters: Sony Radio Academy Awards, it actually said Sony Academy Radio Awards. A bit like the Oscar being engraved with “The Motion Academy of and Sciences Arts Picture”.

Needless to say I’ve kept all four and hope that visitors to the downstairs loo are as bad at spotting flaws as I am.


Eddie Mair co-presents iPm on Saturday at 5:45am and hosts PM fro Monday to Friday at 5:00pm on Radio 4