Medbourne firm wins New York International Radio Award

Danny O'Connor with his Electric Dreams: The Giorgio Moroder Story international radio award presented at the New York Festival
Danny O'Connor with his Electric Dreams: The Giorgio Moroder Story international radio award presented at the New York Festival

A tiny but influential media company based in our district has won a top prize at the prestigious New York International Radio Awards.

Medbourne-based Document Media Ltd won a major award for a documentary originally made for BBC Radio 2.

The two-part documentary was a profile of Giorgio Moroder, the chart-topping songwriter and record producer also responsible for a stack of major film scores including Midnight Express and Top Gun.

Document Media’s other recent projects include a Sony-Award winning documentary about singer Billie Holiday, fronted by actor Billy Crystal and which was also on Radio 2, and a TV documentary for BBC1 about former drug smuggler-turned author Howard Marks.

The company is now working on a two-part Radio 2 documentary on 1970s American musician, producer, and guitarist Nile Rodgers.

Speaking about his latest accolade, Document boss Danny O’ Connor said: “It’s unreal to think that we are now a global entity.

“When I started this company, I didn’t even dream of this sort of thing.”

The 48-year-old began his career on Leicester Sound 25 years ago, as a journalist and news reader.

He went on to be a war reporter in Sarajevo and Belfast, before deciding to concentrate on his love of the arts, and in particular music.

“I like my head firmly in the clouds – and, yes – on my shoulders,” he said.

“War reporting is downright boring for most of the time, with little patches of terrifying.”

He went to BBC Radio 1 as a producer for the Lamacq Live show and had many happy years there before starting his own company in 2002.

It was the birth of his children, and the reasonableness of the house prices, that brought him back to Leicestershire after years in London.

“I sit here in the Medbourne countryside, and show the award to the sheep through the window,” he joked.

“They just don’t know who I am!

“But the truth is this New York award takes us to another level. It’s global recognition for what we do.”

It’s fair to say that Danny gets access to the top stars for his documentaries.

Nile Rodgers presented the two programmes on Giorgio Moroder, and contributors included Debbie Harry, Irene Cara, New Order’s Bernard Sumner and the Mael brothers from the band Sparks.

Document Media has now produced more than 100 programmes across radio and TV, as well as a large variety of DVDs.

Danny runs the company with Karen Craig from SMTV Live and the Reading and V festivals.

Other experts in different fields are recruited on a project-to-project basis.

“I still go up to London at least once a week, but basically all this work starts in Medbourne,” said Danny.

Contributors to Document’s productions have also included Rod Stewart, Noel Gallagher, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

So does Danny ever get star-struck, meeting so many of his heroes?

“Not so much the music ones,” he admitted. “But the film ones; yes, occasionally.

“I was a bit star-struck by Billy Crystal.

“I mean woah – it’sBilly Crystal – and he actually knew Billie Holiday!

“Fortunately I didn’t need to ask him many questions, because he was such a brilliant raconteur.”