Last week, after listening to this year’s final two Radio Talk podcasts. Discussed were two themes; what has radio achieved this year? And where will the industry go in 2012?

A key discussion throughout was the successful collaboration with BBC and Commercial sector co-funding the Radioplayer. Which can only grow further from here! As I tweeted earlier, next year I hope radio player embraces smart phone and once in place will have the potential of connecting to a huge audience. Especially with the increasing number of people using mobiles, portable audio devices and tablets. Notably those that start with an “i”.

Anyway, the point in this post is to look at my favourite radio moment from 2011. In terms, of speech radio, particularly BBC Radio 5live it’s been a busy year reporting on all the news stories from around the globe.

The typical answer could be Chris Moyles’ marathon show for Comic Relief, which, without doubt was a highlight for the industry as a whole showing the power radio can hold. It was compulsive viewing, and listening and raised a lot of money for charity.

But I’m not reflecting on that example, as my highlight, were two unknown presenters to me on BBC 5live – Stephen Nolan and Adil Ray. Both of who where covering shows on the national station during the #englandriot Not a lot of has been said about these broadcasters, and the outstanding broadcasting they delivered to the nation during the spell of unrest. One such example was when Adil Ray, covering for Tony Lindsay, went live to Stephen Nolan who was reporting with Greater Manchester Police as they were tackling the rioters during Salford’s troubles. But the interaction the show(s) received from listeners was phenomenal, describing the scenes where they where – Bristol, Liverpool, London, etc. Which bring it back to my original post, back in August titled Citizen Media and #ukriots.

The shows they hosted during the rioting were so fast paced and kept up with the events, for example they were broadcasting from BBC’s old Manchester studios (ahead of the Salford move) and after the day the city of Birmingham was rocked by the deaths of the men protecting their communities Adil Ray was broadcasting the show from that community. BBC 5live showed what they could do, independent coverage of events – especially outside the Capital. Plus the voice of the rioters was also heard in Manchester, which has something the station returned to during the aftermath and discussion the possible factors that contributed to these events.

It was a huge effort, and personally, I couldn’t stop listening to the rolling news coverage – on the radio. Their achievements will hopefully be recognized in next year’s Sony Awards for outstanding coverage during such a tense moment in England. Sadly, since the aftermath of these sterling programmes I haven’t been successful in finding any clips from them. Not even on Audioboo!

Other highlights, include the 50-part series on BBC Radio 2, Sounds of the 20th Century which follows an hour of audio from a particular year featuring the music, news bulletins and topical issues from the day. And more recently, aired on Christmas day on BBC 5live, Radio Review of 2011.

Best wishes for 2012!

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