I love a big fancy 'do' and when that big fancy 'do' is one that celebrates all that is great in our amazing industry, it take all my will power to not get over excited and peak to early on in the evening ! It's been known before....
The Arias, once known as The Sonys, are once a year and take place out of London for once, in mighty Leeds. Now that i've been doing this for a few years and am a bit long in the tooth, it's a real joy to be in the same room as so many people that I've worked with for so long. Not far off feeling like you've walked in to a party you've planned yourself and pretty much everyone there you would have invited !
You see, I know from the outside, it must feel like the business of radio is a bit silly and that all we do is fanny around with a few records and a mic and call it a 'living' and I get that. But for so many I know, this incredible medium of communication is a real calling. Long long hours, weekends, evenings .. say goodbye to the notion of Bank Holidays and Christmas Days at home. So you make great friends in this business and because we're communicators, the stories are great and told brilliantly ! Acceptance speeches are hilariously funny (Christian O'Connell's this year was inspired) and there are endless accounts of live broadcasts dropping off air, presenters going AWOL and difficult celebrity interviews. My face is still aching from laughing so much.
And just as you're about to fall in to the trap of living in the past, the Arias are also a chance for new blood and new teams to make their mark and give us all a kick up the rear. It's amazing to see all the new talent coming through and regional teams picking up awards for incredible coverage of real life events. The only downside of these bright young things being there is that inevitably you're cornered by a Sunday Surgery enthusiast who listened back in the day, religiously and particularly when they were doing their GCSE's ... a MASSIVE compliment and definitely an ego boost I'll be honest. If I can just get over the fact that they were 15 when I was their on air Aunty Em and so I officially must be old !!
It was an amazing night and again reminds me that I'm utterly blessed to have had the career I've had so far, in this crazy radio world we all love so much.