Metro man takes IRN award

Metro FM’s Ed Thomas was named news reporter of the year at the first IRN awards for his coverage of football hooliganism.

As well as tracking down former football hooligans for the story, Thomas spoke to sports psychologists and the Football Supporters’ Federation.

The judges were impressed with his access to self-confessed hooligans and in-depth questioning of what motivates them.

Thomas said: “It’s a great recognition for all the hard work we do here and winning at IRN’s first awards ceremony makes it even sweeter.”

The award for best news coverage was taken by Viking FM for its coverage of the death of schoolboy Luke Walmsley. The winning entry demonstrated the news team’s ability to respond quickly to a breaking story of national significance.

Jonathan Oakes of Lincs FM was named young journalist of the year for his ability to read and report with authority far beyond his years.

Paul Lockitt from Key 103 in Manchester was named the UK’s best newsreader from hundreds of entries.

His bulletins were “expertly targeted and creatively written to hook in listeners”, according to judges.

Modest about his achievement, Lockitt said: “When your job is just opening your mouth and reading things out, you don’t really think you are worthy of an award, so I am really flattered. It’s a tremendous accolade for me after so many years in the business.”

Key 103 also picked up the IRN contribution award.

The award for best funny story was picked up by Hallam FM for a curious tale of a resident living in a place called “Butt Hole Road”.

Real Radio Yorkshire took the award for scoop of the year. The station set the national agenda after revealing the story of a family trying to conceive a “designer baby” to help treat the medical condition of another child.

All the winners received a trophy and a cash prize from ITV News journalist Nicholas Owen.

IRN editor Jon Godel said: “The award winners demonstrate that strong, creative journalism is alive and well in commercial radio. The standard of entries proves that commercial radio news plays an important role locally, regionally and nationally.”

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