The Rolling Stones guitarist was commended at the industry prize-giving ceremony after just a year of hosting his own show on station Absolute Radio.
The judging panel called the star: "An amazing character with a really innovative programme.
"Ronnie has lived the life of a thousand men and you feel like a child sitting at his feet as he unfolds his rarefied story book."
The musician collected his award shortly after British comedian Frank Skinner - who won the Best Entertainment Programme accolade for his eponymous show - and said: "This means more to me than it means to Frank, I think, because I'm the newcomer."
James admitted listening to the radio played an integral part in his early career, telling BANG Showbiz: "When I hear my own songs on the radio now, it reminds me of being a kid and used to listen to the radio, dreaming of wanting to write songs and get on the radio.
"It reminds me of listening to Radio 2 on a Sunday with my dad. I have the radio on a lot at home in the mornings and it's a good rejuvenator for the day."
Other winners at the ceremony - which was held at the Grosvenor House hotel in London - included broadcasters Jeremy Vine, Zane Lowe and Jenni Murray, while UK Station of the Year was named as commercial station talkSPORT.
Sony Radio Academy Awards, full list of winners:
Best Feature - 'Heel, Toe, Step Together' (BBC Radio 4)
Best Drama - 'Every Child Matters' (Radio 4)
Best Comedy - 'The Jason Byrne Show' (Radio 2)
Best News Special - 'The Last Days of Raoul Moat' (Real Radio North East)
Best Music Special - 'The John Bonham Story' (BBC 6 Music)
Best internet Programme - 'Answer Me This!' (Answer Me This Podcast.com)
Best Use of Multiplatform - 'BBC Introducing' (Various BBC radio networks)
Best Single Promo/Commercial - 'Capital's Summertime Ball Mash-up' (95.8 Capital FM)
Best Live Event Coverage - 'The Ryder Cup On 5 Live' (Radio 5 Live)
Best Promotional/Advertising Campaign -' Fifa World Cup 2010, South Africa' (talkSPORT)
Best Community Programming - 'Warning: May Contain Nuts' (BBC Radio Berkshire)
Best Competition - 'Beat The Star' (Heart West Midlands)
Best Sports Programme - 'Fighting Talk' (Radio 5 Live)
Best Use of Branded Content - Alex Masterley (Classic FM)
News Journalist of the Year - Matthew Price (Radio 4)
Best Speech Programme - 'The Infinite Monkey Cage' (Radio 4)
Best On-Air Contributor - Annabel Port (Absolute)
Best Breaking News Coverage - '5 Live Drive: Birth Of The Coalition' (Radio 5 Live)
Best Music Programme - Simon Mayo (Radio 2)
Rising Star Award - Robbie Savage (Radio 5 Live)
Special Award - Annie Nightingale (Radio 1)
Station Programmer of the Year - Moz Dee (talkSPORT)
Best Interview of the Year - Jeremy Vine interviews Gordon Brown (Radio 2)
Speech Radio Personality of the Year - Danny Baker (Radio 5 Live/BBC London 94.9)
Best Specialist Music Programme - Jazz on 3 (Radio 3)
Station of the Year (300,000 to one million) - BBC Radio Derby
Best Station Imaging - Kiss 100
Speech Broadcaster of the Year - Jeremy Vine (Radio 2)
Station of the Year (one million-plus) - 105.4 Real Radio North West
Best News & Current Affairs Programme - Victoria Derbyshire - BBC Radio 5 live
Digital Station of the Year - Fun Kids
Breakfast Show of the Year (under 10 million) - 'The Graham Mack Breakfast Show' (BBC Wiltshire)
Best Entertainment Programme - 'The Frank Skinner Show' (Absolute)
Music Broadcaster of the Year - Zane Lowe
Music Radio Personality of the Year - Ronnie Wood (Absolute)
Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus) - 5 Live Breakfast
UK Station of the Year - talkSPORT
Gold Award - Jenni Murray