Middlesex University graduate and Absolute Radio news presenter Andrew 'Bails' Bailey was celebrating in March when he was named Newsreader of the Year at the prestigious IRN (Independent Radio News) Awards.
The much-deserved honour comes following nominations for National News Broadcaster of the Year at the British Radio Awards in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
As Head of News at the popular commercial radio station, Andrew is newsreader and co-presenter on the hugely successful Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show.
His relaxed approach to reading the news is a key element in the show's success, and the BA Music with English Literary Studies alumnus regularly broadcasts to more than 1 million people.
"It feels amazing, but I have to say it came as a huge surprise even though I'd been shortlisted," said Andrew.
"I've been shortlisted for awards so many times in the past and they haven't really come to anything, so after 16 years in the industry I thought that boat had passed.
"I was very grateful I didn't have to give a speech because it was genuinely one of the few moments in my career I was left speechless."
The Commercial radio industry has experienced considerable change in recent years and Andrew says that this makes the award particularly special.
"It makes us aware there are people in the industry who appreciate what we're trying to do with our style of news and the fact that we're trying to be different and offer listeners an alternative to the BBC," he explained.
"The BBC has a fantastic role to play but we shouldn't all be the same, we should offer listeners a choice and I see the award as an endorsement of that."
After collecting an award in recognition of his individual talents, Andrew could yet added more trophies to his collection in May, with the Absolute Radio team winning four golds at the Radio Academy Awards 2014.
The journey from Middlesex
During the course of his career Andrew has broadcast from locations around the world and interviewed the likes of Tony Blair, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Martin, but his passion for broadcast journalism began as a teenager studying at the old Trent Park campus.
Growing up in St Helens, Merseyside, Andrew moved to London as an 18-year-old to study at Middlesex and found the new experience living away from home filled him with ambition.
"Middlesex was quite a nurturing environment for me. All of the things I was able to get involved in provided a rich experience for three years and at the end of that I was pretty clear that I had an interest in journalism.
"I had originally come to university with an eye on teaching, but by the time I graduated at the age of 21 the thing I really wanted to get into was broadcast journalism – radio and TV was what I wanted to do."
The big break came after he graduated in 1997, when one of his lecturers introduced him to Middlesex alumna and City University lecturer Colette Cooney, who at the time was working for the BBC.
She took him under her wing and organised a work placement for him, and from that point on he was "bitten by the bug".
You can catch Andrew from 6am - 10am every weekday morning on The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show.
Absolute Radio is available on 105.8FM in London, 1215AM nationwide, DAB digital Radio, through your television, mobile apps and at www.absoluteradio.co.uk
On 11th June meet Middlesex staff from our regional office [...]Read more
On 13th August meet Middlesex staff from our regional [...]Read more