The Linda Gage Memorial Award


The Linda Gage Memorial Award is a competition open to broadcasting students. The brief is to produce a short feature and to show where it would fit into the broadcasting spectrum. Above all, the judges look for potential. They hope to find a well-presented interesting subject. They want a cue that grabs the attention and is informative. They want to hear an item that has been thought through imaginatively, with a hook at the beginning, with a middle and a conclusion. They look for use of radio techniques, guests that are relevant and,  music and sound effects that add to and illustrate the piece. Lively, authoritative presentation is essential. The “sound” is so important. This is where most entries fall down. Most young journalists can write a feature, illustrate it with appropriate sound effects or music.

However, the judges cannot stress how important it is for the reporter or presenter to sound interested and lively. If the feature does not sound lively at the outset, the listener will turn off. Course tutors should get their students to play their pieces to friends, students and ask -

Would you listen to this?
Would you quickly change stations?

Broadcast courses must pay more attention to voice production. Remember radio is a sound medium.

Subject Matter
Generally, entries this year are an improvement on last year, particularly the technical quality. The range of topics is good but not good enough. Judges hope and expect that students will be bold and choose unusual topics and treat subjects freshly. Humour helps too but that was absent, apart from the well-constructed witty item on “Mornington Crescent”.  On the whole, the subject matter of the entries was quite conventional and traditional. There are exceptions - the item on female masturbation. This was a brave piece and attempted to break barriers - and an atmospheric Irish tone poem.

The judges have chosen as the winner of the Linda Gage Award this year - Stuart Silver. He impressed the judges by his liveliness, his enthusiasm, his humour and his ability to make the listener see what he could see. He can handle live situations or make an item sound ‘as live’ - a quality that all editors are looking for.

Brian Hayes/Lawrie Douglas
July 1999

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