Stray FM named best radio station

Stray FM has capped a phenomenal year by scooping top prize in its category at The Radio Academy’s 2012 Nations and Regions Awards.

The station, which broadcasts across , the Yorkshire Dales and parts of West Yorkshire, was praised for its ‘infectious positivity’ and for displaying ‘everything that is great about local radio’.

The award – for Yorkshire station of the year – celebrates programming that caters for the needs of a local or regional audience.

It has been a big year for the UKRD-owned station, which nearly doubled its potential audience when it acquired the broadcast license for the Yorkshire Dales, previously owned by the now-defunct Fresh Radio.

The station showed its commitment to the new area by investing almost £150,000 in bringing FM radio to Craven, in North Yorkshire, a part of the country only previously served on AM. It also increased the size of its News and Sales teams.

Sarah Barry, Stray FM’s Managing Director, said:

This has been a huge year for Stray FM following the acquisition of the Yorkshire Dales licence. We’re incredibly passionate about everything we do, and absolutely committed to delivering true local radio.

This award is simply the icing on the cake and we are very proud of this achievement.

It is the second time in three years that Stray FM has won the award, following success in 2010.

Nick Hancock, the station’s Programme Controller, said:

All the team have worked their socks off this year to serve the local community and provide a brilliant local radio service for Harrogate and the Dales.

So to get this recognition for all the effort is a wonderful early Christmas present.

Judges were glowing in their praise of the station, which will now go forward to compete for the Station of the Year prize at the prestigious Sony Radio Academy Awards.

They commented:

Stray FM has demonstrated that it is committed to the area it serves, embracing changes to its TSA with energy and positivity – qualities that seemingly permeate throughout the entire station.

The station’s sound – from its presenters right through to production and scheduling is really on a par with stations on a much larger scale. It is quite simply, everything that is great about local radio.

Stray FM cares about its audience and gets under the skin of the community with an infectious positivity and upbeat manner.

It reflects the issues and events that connect to a wide audience, keeping it very much a part of the area it serves.

Judges also noted the station’s commitment to the local community, singling out its campaign to support Knaresborough toddler Sadie-Rose Clifford and her fight against Neuroblastoma, a childhood form of cancer.

The judges added:

Renaming the station to “Sadie Rose” to raise awareness and money for a local toddler was a fantastic project and shows that local radio really can still make a difference and do things that national networks and the big radio super-brands could never do.

Stray FM is part of the UKRD group of radio stations, which only this year was named Number 1 in the Sunday Times list of Best Companies to Work For.

Sister stations KLFM and Spire also picked up the latest Radio Academy award in their respective regions.

UKRD Group CEO William Rogers said:

I am absolutely delighted with the three stations in our portfolio which have gained recognition as great local radio stations through winning their respective SONY Nations and Regions award.

All of our stations are totally focussed on being genuinely local radio stations serving their areas and working with their respective local communities and Stray, KLFM and Spire exemplify these qualities.

They have done a fantastic job and for UKRD stations to pick up three out of eleven regional awards is simply amazing.

The winners will find out if they have won the national title at The Sony Radio Academy Awards, due to take place in May 2013.


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