It was a night to celebrate for the University of Sunderland’s Spark radio after presenter Emma Millen swept the board at a national award ceremony.

The MA Radio student, who is due to graduate at the end of this month, picked up four awards for her work on the popular station at this year’s Student Radio Awards (SRA).

While fellow student Ellie Marsh was the icing on the cake of the event after winning honours for her Honest Politics show and podcast series.

Speaking after the ceremony, Emma said: “To win gold for best presenter was the absolute dream come true.”

Emma’s tally included:

  • Gold – Best Presenter
  • Silver – Best Interview
  • Best Entertainment Show (Drivetime with Emma Millen)
  • Bronze – Best Event (International Women’s Week)

Emma added: “I have been a member of the Spark team for over four years and have loved every minute of it.

“Spark has allowed me to grow as a presenter and truly find where I want to be in the radio industry as well as a person.

“This year, Best Presenter was a brand new award. Previous years have been split to Best Male and Best Female but this year they combined the award.

“I always thought that I would maybe have a chance of bagging the Best Female but never best person, but look what I have only gone and done.

“The most important thing I have taken from this whole experience is to always be yourself.

“I have always thought that I would have had to change the way I am to be what the radio industry is looking for…basically a Geordie lass that speaks funny, but how wrong I have been.

“To be recognised at this moment is an absolutely amazing feeling. With the added bonus of my idol MistaJam presenting the award. Dreams really do come true.

“I want to say the biggest thank you to Spark for being the amazing platform that allows me to be just that lass.”

Lee Hall, Head of School of Media and Communications, said: “Emma is the pride of the University of Sunderland after being honoured at the SRAs – she is a talented broadcaster with a great future ahead of her.

“We are also thrilled for all the other presenters, producers and the Spark family who were nominated for awards and those who, day-in-day-out, make great radio and podcasts.

“For a decade, Spark has been giving a voice to communities in Sunderland and creating opportunities for aspiring radio stars. It’s a jewel in the crown for the University and the whole city.

“And for every former Sparky like Jordan North who is now a Radio 1 regular and I’m A Celebrity… contestant, there are dozens of people who have gained confidence and skills to use in all sorts of rewarding careers.”

Speaking about Ellie Marsh’s success, Scott McGerty, Presenter and Compliance Manager with Spark, said: “These awards are a great nod for what has been achieved in one of the toughest years in Spark’s history.

“Ellie has excelled at leading the Honest Politics show to an award. In the professional broadcasting world, these types of shows are very labour intense for compliance reasons but a team of Spark Volunteers have shown that with ambition, passion and caution, you can create a consistent and calibrate Politics show.

“Ellie carried over the ambition in to her Fem2020 podcast series which was such an important piece celebrating women.

“We want Spark to be a platform that allows people to have they say and challenge norms and wrongs and Ellie utilised Spark perfectly for this.”