Blackburn honoured with radio award
Broadcasting veteran Tony Blackburn is to be honoured with a lifetime achievement prize at this year's Radio Academy Awards - for the second time.
The 71-year-old BBC Radio 2 presenter is being recognised with the Gold Award at the annual event to mark his 50th year in broadcasting.
Blackburn - who was famously the launch host for Radio 1 - was previously given the title a quarter of a century ago to mark his 25 years on air and he becomes the first person to be honoured twice.
Award organisers said the 50th anniversary "could not go unrecognised" and granting him a double was a salute to not only his longevity but also his love of radio and commitment as he still regularly works a six-day week for the BBC and in the commercial world.
Chairman of the awards committee John Myers said: "Tony Blackburn is not only loved by his listeners, but also by his fellow broadcasters right across the UK. He has become an icon of British broadcasting with a commitment to and a love for radio that remains unmatched by just about anyone in the medium today."
Blackburn, the host of Radio 2's Pick Of The Pops since 2010, said: "I am truly honoured to be receiving the Gold Award for the second time in my career. I can only assume the Academy thought I'd be dead by the time my 50th anniversary came around and wouldn't have to worry about me.
"Ever since I joined Radio Caroline in July 1964 I have made a living out of my passion. Being a radio presenter, in my opinion, remains the greatest job in the world.
Thanking his listeners, he went on: "Without you on the other end of the microphone, I'm just a man, in a room talking to myself for hours on end."
He will receive the award at a ceremony in front of about 1,100 guests at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on May 12. The event was previously known as the Sony Radio Academy Awards, but its chief sponsor has withdrawn from the event. Among this year's new award partners are streaming service B linkbox Music and performance rights body PPL.