BBC Radio 1Xtra names Faron McKenzie as new station head

BBC Radio 1Xtra names Faron McKenzie as new station head

BBC Radio 1Xtra has named Faron McKenzie as the new head of the station.

The station was previously part of former BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper’s remit.

While at the BBC, McKenzie has helped to evolve BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network by implementing key marketing campaigns, including the first-ever paid strategic partnership with GRM Daily and LinkUp TV for BBC Three’s The Rap Game series, and Radio 1’s Annie Mac with leading female digital publisher Refinery29.

As marketing manager for Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network, has also played a pivotal role in commissioning and developing multiple BBC Sounds podcasts, including 1Xtra’s Brave Conversations, How To Thrive and Dope Black Dads. 

McKenzie most recently led the BBC’s first-ever Creative Diversity Xperience (CDX), which took place last month. As head of CDX, McKenzie worked closely with June Sarpong (BBC director of creative diversity) and Miranda Wayland (head of creative diversity).

The BBC said the initiative was designed “to bring together iconic stars, cultural disruptors and influencers to showcase the vibrancy, innovation and leadership of Black, Asian and Minority ethnic talent in the creative industry”.

Before joining the BBC in 2017, McKenzie worked at youth marketing agency Disrupt, where he focused on growing young, diverse audiences for many global brands. 

According to RAJAR, 1Xtra currently has 1.05 million weekly listeners on air, and over 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube.

Lorna Clarke, BBC pop controller, said: “Now more than ever, a bold and creative 1Xtra is needed to reflect the culture of black audiences in the UK across all platforms. Having worked across Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network, coupled with his experience of digital and social media, Faron is well equipped to lead the team into the next era.”

McKenzie said: “I am delighted to be able to creatively mould and steer the most culturally relevant leading digital youth radio brand at the epicentre of black music & culture, BBC Radio 1Xtra.

“We are in a thriving time for black entertainment in the UK and overseas powered by a surge of creativity from new and legacy talent who are topping the charts and selling out stadiums. We have new audiences with an insatiable appetite for entertaining linear and digital content that is authentic and unapologetic.

“I am confident in the proven abilities of my new team, with a brand new forthcoming Breakfast Show, and our world renowned DJs. We are set and ready to lead a new dawn in digital radio.”

McKenzie will start his new role in early September.

This position is the final appointment of five new head of station roles responsible for the BBC’s pop music networks, following the appointments of Aled Haydn Jones (head of Radio 1), Helen Thomas (head of Radio 2), Ahmed Hussain (head of Asian Network) and Sam Moy (head of 6 Music).

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