The strange case of the missing bi award

BCN 123 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 123, February 2014

Last year ShoutOut, local LGBT radio programme for Bristol and areas nearby, ran its first ShoutOut Listeners’ Awards. Unlike most LGBT awards there was a bi category, which local group BiVisible won, with their spinoff club night Greedy the runner-up.  In December 2013 they opened up nominations for this year’s awards, but when it came to announce the shortlists in January there was a bit of a shock for bi listeners as they announced the bi category would no longer be going ahead.  Only BiVisible had been nominated by listeners!

BCN got in touch with presenter Andy Thomas to find out what had happened:

“(Last year we) started with an initial set of categories based on what the team and others said they’d like to be able to nominate and vote on. Last year worked very well and was extremely well received. Our listeners seemed to love voting for people/groups/organisations they felt deserved the awards, and likewise those receiving them were extremely flattered to be recognised.

“After the awards had closed, we did review how it went and what the feedback said from people who contact us. It did lead to some changes for the awards this year – we tried to broaden the categories a bit more, realising that our community perhaps isn’t quite as big as we thought. By doing so it meant more nominees fell into the categories, making the award more meaningful.

“We will admit that we didn’t do this with the “Best Events” categories (best mens/womens/bi/trans). Last year we didn’t have any issues with filling these categories so we didn’t think we would this year. Running them has always seemed very natural as an LGBT show and we thought our listeners would nominate enough in each category for it not to be an issue.

“We did however set rules stating that it should be (ideally) the top 5 that go though. In a few categories we took the decision that 4 was ok, but sadly with only BiVisible Bristol nominated in the best bi event category it meant that we couldn’t run a vote as there was no one else to put forward too. I’m not sure we can answer the question as to why other events weren’t voted for but it is something we will be looking into. However, it was also very pleasing to see BiVisible Bristol receive all the nominations. The situation with the women’s events was similar, only two events were nominated and both were run by the same people.

“What we will do though is, when the awards have been closed and awarded for 2014, we will look at what worked and what didn’t and the feedback we’ve had about them so that we can make next year’s even better. We want our listeners and the nominees to enjoy the awards experience and, as is the remit for our entire show, we want them to be inclusive of all the LGBT community. If when we look at this year we find that it would be beneficial to add or remove some categories, or even rename the existing ones, we will do so. We are though, very interested in hearing views from the Bi community about how best to be inclusive.”

So there we have it: BiVisible is just too successful for its own good.  Let BCN have your thoughts by emailing editor@bicommunitynews.co.uk and we’ll pass them on to Andy!