The Judging

For each category, the Committee appoints a panel of judges varying in size according to the number of entries received, each chosen because of a particular expertise that relates directly to whichever kind of radio they have been asked to assess. Judges are chiefly drawn from within the industry, balanced across all broadcast sectors, although they may also include knowledgeable professionals from the commercial and artistic community, as well as other media and charitable organisations.

When evaluating potential judges, the Committee has to be confident that candidates can cast aside personal interests and professional loyalties. To support and strengthen this practice, information attributing judges to categories remains confidential, allowing individuals greater freedom to appraise each submission according to its merit. A general list of judges will be available on this site in February. Whilst great care is taken to avoid potential conflicts of interest, all judges are asked to declare any perceived problems or connections with a particular category or entry. If, in such unforeseen circumstances, it is considered that the situation cannot be surmounted, a judge will stand down or, if appropriate, can move to join another panel.

Under the guidance of each panel's Chairman, the judges are asked to listen to each entry and to make their evaluation based strictly upon the evidence contained within the recording provided. In order to give the judges a sense of context written summaries are accepted with the submission. It is important to understand that because entries are considered from stations right across the UK, it would be impossible for judges to hear the actual output of every participating station. That is why the only fair approach is to insist that their judgments are made only on the basis described.

The awards are not designed as a measure of popularity. They are designed to allow recognition of quality broadcasting by professionals from within the industry. Hence a news programme will be judged by those who have an understanding of news broadcasting, and music presentation by music producers, programmers, or indeed other presenters.

As well as considering the performance and production values employed in any entry, the judges always seek to evaluate entries from a listener's perspective and take into account the ways in which output serves the listening community. To help judges, the Secretariat offer guidelines to encourage a consistent approach across the board. It is a demanding process that asks much of those who volunteer to take on the responsibility of judging.

Sometimes the choice of Gold winners meets with a chorus of approval from across the industry; sometimes a result only makes sense to those who've actually listened to every single entry. What is beyond question is that every decision is the result of many hours of careful listening, conscientious evaluation and, often spirited, debate.

The 2011 Awards Judging Panels will be appointed by the Awards Committee in January 2011 and details will be available on this site in when the judging commences in February.