Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2018: Abbie McCarthy

Women In Music Roll Of Honour 2018: Abbie McCarthy

As the Music Week Women In Music Awards return on November 9, so too does the Roll Of Honour, recognising outstanding achievements across all corners of the industry. Join us as we gather this year's inductees to hear their remarkable stories...


How do you feel about joining the Women In Music Roll Of Honour?

“I am buzzing about it! It’s lovely to be recognised alongside so many other brilliant women in the industry. I feel very lucky and honoured.”

How did you get into the music business?

“I started student radio whilst I was at Warwick University. I had so much fun and quickly fell in love with the medium of radio and then became dead set on trying to make it my job! Firstly, I managed to shadow some shows at Radio 1 one Saturday and then got a month’s work experience at BBC Radio 6 Music, which was incredible. They got me working across all of the different shows there and, because the teams are quite small, it was really hands on and that taught me so much. I then started as a freelance assistant producer at 6 Music and Radio 2, covering for production teams when they were on holiday across a whole host of shows. I got my first presenting break when I covered BBC Music Introducing in Kent back in 2013. In December of that year I took over as the full-time presenter and now I get to show off the best brand new music from my home county on the radio every Saturday night!”

Did you have a mentor or role model who helped or inspired you in the early part of your career?

“I have to mention Jocelin Stainer (editor, Radio 1) who I first met when she did a talk at my university about getting in to radio. She invited me in to Radio 1 to watch some weekend shows and see how it all worked and gave me so much invaluable advice when I was starting out, so I always be very grateful for that. I also have to big up the nicest lady in radio, Kate Holder (producer, Radio 1), who has always been generous with her time and really helped me develop as a presenter. And one more! Philippa Aylott (editor, Radio 2) who was an excellent, inspiring boss and showed me you don’t have to be ruthless to get to the top. Instead work hard, have great ideas and be a lovely person.”

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement?

“Presenting on BBC Radio 1, just because that has been a dream of mine since forever! It felt really special to present a weekend of Greatest Hits shows to help celebrate Radio 1’s 50th anniversary last year. I’m also pretty proud of my first ever Good Karma Club tour with all seven dates around the UK selling out – I’m looking forward to building on that further next year.”

Some of the gender pay gap figures for the music biz made for sobering reading. How far away is parity of opportunity and remuneration for women in the UK music industry?

“It feels like huge progress has been made and hopefully this will continue at a rapid rate until things are completely even. It’s been amazing to see the likes of Zoe Ball and Sara Cox get the primetime radio slots they so deserve. There’s some brilliant music communities out there, including SheSaidSo, Girls I Rate and She Writes to name a few, and they are really helping to give coaching, guidance and opportunities to young females just at the start of their career. I’m also really looking forward to seeing many more female acts at festivals and the new era of headliners due to ReBalance and Keychange.”

What advice would you offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in the music business?

“Be nice, make as many connections as you possibly can and stay in touch with those people. The music industry is much smaller than you think and there’s always a project or something you can all work on together down the line. Work hard, be creative and always remember why you got into the business in the first place – because you love music.”

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