How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?
“I’m absolutely thrilled and a bit shocked to be joining the Women In Music Roll Of Honour. Looking at some of the amazing people inducted in previous years, I feel even more honoured to be in such fantastic company. I used to read Music Week at university, scouring the job pages to give me a clue of where my future career might lie, and never did I think I’d actually end up in those pages myself.”
How do you look back on your early years getting into the industry?
“Working in music was the dream but going into teaching had been my initial sensible career choice. I knew I had the passion and the knowledge but wasn’t quite sure of which direction to take. A music programmer that I worked alongside at UKTV needed to take some holiday but had not trained anyone to cover. I was in right place at the right time and was also willing to help out. That got me on the path to what I do today. Moving from TV to radio was a steep learning curve as I had no initial experience in live radio, but I knew once I got there that it was the place for me.”
Remember to stick your head outside the work bubble
Did you have a mentor or role model who helped you at that stage?
“I’ve been lucky enough to work for some great music strategists, whether that’s been with Jeff Smith at Radio 2/6 Music, or George Ergatoudis whom I worked with at Radio 1 for three years. Both are highly regarded and experienced in their field. I’ve also been supported at 6 by [head of station] Samantha Moy and [former controller] Paul Rodgers, who have been amazing over the years.”
What’s your biggest achievement so far?
“Working on the 6 Music Festival is without doubt the thing I’m most proud of. It’s a highly complex event, both creatively and logistically. Moving around the country each year means that the
set-up is never the same twice. The bill has evolved over the years and I think the line up for Camden 2020 was our most diverse and really illustrated the breadth of artists that we currently support. I’m really fortunate to work with an incredible team of people, both at the station itself, with our live events team, plus all the wonderful labels, managers and artists who really believe in the festival too.”
What advice would you offer young female execs about a successful career in music?
“Be open to new opportunities, even if they don’t seem like something you had initially planned to do in your career. You don’t know where it might lead. Be kind and empathetic in your feedback to people. And remember to try and stick your head out of the work bubble to see what’s going on – my two maternity leaves were great eye-openers in getting me out of the music release schedule and seeing how much new music is consumed.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever had?
“My wise and calm husband always tells me, ‘Everything will work out in the end’, which is very good to remember when your headliner falls ill 48 hours before they’re due to walk out on stage...”
What’s your biggest lesson from 2020?
“It’s something that we knew before, but 2020 has reinforced the importance of live radio. The connection with another voice, a piece of music or hearing from a fellow listener – I know for myself how essential that company has been this year. It’s created an even stronger feeling of community.”
PHOTO: Louise Haywood-Schiefer