How have the New York Festivals International Radio Awards transformed since you’ve been at the helm?
Seven years ago, even the name was behind-the-times, and the categories were left over from the analog age. So, we canvassed industry leaders to join an Advisory Board and went to work. We had a new trophy designed: one that captures the magic of radio’s past while looking into its future. And the net result has been more entries from more countries – and an ever-increasing year by year superior level of quality in our submissions.
How do you keep NYF’s Radio Awards relevant and on trend with the evolving radio landscape?
First, we listen. We listen to our entrants. We ask them what keeps them up at night.
What is your future vision for NYF’s International Radio Awards?
So, more and better as we connect with everyone who is passionate about all aspects of audio.
What have been the greatest challenges while running the competition and what was your response that led you to success?
The greatest challenge is fairness. Who decides what program is better than another one? It all comes down to who is on the jury, and their depth of experience. What we do is invite the winners to join the next year’s jury…and this year, so far, the 2017 grand jury is made up of 35% women – all award-winning radio achievers – and every one with hands-on experience in creating what people are listing to today.
In your opinion, what are the most exciting categories that you have added to the competition in the past few years and why?
Let me list just a few – and you’ll see why these categories made everyone sit up and take notice. Heroes, Music documentary, Music podcast, PSAs, audiobooks, Best Live Sound, Sound Art, Best Innovation, Personal lives podcast, Best Music Program host, Best Interview, Travel & Tourism, Social Issues, Biographies, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Best Live News Special.
What is the ROI for entering the Radio Awards and why should someone considering entering this year?
It’s not for the glittering prizes – although our trophy is stunning. It’s not even for the international press coverage we give our winners or the cachet of being around for over thirty years. But when you stand at the podium at the awards gala, surrounded by your peers who know that radio is the universal language – well, if that isn’t return on investment, I don’t know what is.
Talk about the importance of the Grand Trophy Award and the qualities those programs earning this award possess.
Grands are the Best In Show, it’s a simple as that – the highest scoring entries in a very competitive field. Those programs have stood out in two rounds of judging – preliminary and medal rounds. They are often compelling in subject matter, ambitious in scope, and off the charts in degree of difficulty. In short, they flat out amaze.
How has technology changed radio entries and what is its impact on content?
The tools available today – in sound design, in layering, in transmission – have meant that today’s entries are made on a level of complexity that wasn’t possible in years past. What we have done in our judging platform, which is password protected by the way, is to upgrade the player so jury members all over the world hear programs at that quality – and they can enter that aural landscape easily.
What three characteristics would you say make for a successful Radio Award entry?
Storytelling. Passion. Innovation. After all, it is the theater of the mind.