Omagh man Phil, who hosts Radio 1’s BBC Introducing NI radio show, has been nominated for a Sony Rising Star award. Previous winners include George Lamb, Jarvis Cocker and Robbie Savage.
The 25-year-old only took over presenting duties from Rory McConnell at the end of last year and was surprised when he heard he was up for a Sony. But he’s hoping it could provide the necessary boost for BBC Introducing NI, which is facing the axe.
Phil, who worked for Radio Ulster’s Across The Line before moving over to BBC Introducing NI, said: “We’re still waiting for a final decision by the BBC Trust but it couldn’t hurt that I’ve got this nomination.
“To be honest, it’s a bit crazy that this has happened. I sent off a demo but never expected to get this far. It’s such a prestigious award and the competition is quite fierce, but it would be brilliant to win.
“It’s all down to a public vote, so hopefully people will get their fingers out and vote. I don’t know if it will have any affect on the outcome of the show, but I believe Northern Irish music needs a vehicle on national radio.”
Phil, who plays in local band Colenso Parade, said the nomination was also a nod to former presenter Rory McConnell, who now produces the show.
“Rory trained me up, did all the spade work and put in the hours, so this nomination is for him as well,” he said.
The Sony DAB ‘Rising Star’ Award was launched in 2008 to reward up and coming radio stars of the future and is open to those who have been broadcasting on radio for no longer than 18 months. A total of 56 hopefuls submitted their entires and a panel of judges drew up the shortlist of five.
The judges said they were impressed by Phil’s ‘infectious enthusiasm’ for the music he plays, adding: “He is able to evangelise about new music in a very natural and non-geeky way.”
Phil’s competition in the Rising Star category includes Clare Amfo of Kiss FM and Frank McWeeny, of French Radio London. To vote for Phil, log onto risingstar.sony.co.uk.
A BBC spokesman said: “The changes to the show are subject to approval by the BBC Trust.
“Radio 1’s commitment to unsigned talent in Northern Ireland will continue through the new BBC Introducing Show, which will replace the current show but will still champion undiscovered and unsigned talent from across the UK plus a BBC Introducing track will continue to feature in the daytime playlist every single week.
“The BBC faces a 16 per cent reduction in its budget and, as the current BBC Introducing show costs around five times the amount the new show will cost, we believe that we can make significant savings while maintaining our support for new British music.”