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Disability in Audio and Radio
This webinar shared the lived experiences of Disabled colleagues working in broadcasting in the UK. Through sharing their own experiences, our contributors hope to provoke thought that could lead to meaningful change in representation and opportunities for people with disabilities. This event is part of the Radio Academy's Diversity & Inclusion series, and is free to all.
Meet the panel
Kate Monaghan, the host for this panel, started her TV life on Blue Peter as a researcher and was then headhunted to direct a half-hour documentary for Channel 4 as part of the New Shoots series for directors with a disability. Seeing how difficult it was for media hopefuls, especially those with a disability, to gain entry into the industry, Kate set up production company Hey Sonny in 2007 and has been the key to its growth. Kate strives to promote inclusivity within the industry as well as creating awareness via Hey Sonny’s output of films. Kate has produced and directed an hour long documentary for BBC Three’s disability season as well as an hour for Channel 5 – The Boy With No Brain. Kate was the Series Producer on Channel 5 series The House of Extraordinary People and Directed an RTS winning BBC Three documentary. With a passion for disability awareness, Kate presents the BBC Ouch Podcast. Kate has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Eshaan Akbar is a regular voice on BBC Asian Network, where he hosts a weekly show on Saturday as well as filling in frequently on the Breakfast and Drivetime shows. He can also be heard as the host of the 'But Where Are You Really From?' podcast and the award winning 'Nine Twenty Nine' podcast on Fiverr. Eshaan has appeared on shows such as Mock the Week, QI, The Now Show, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, The Big Asian Stand Up Night, Sunday Morning Live, A Pie and a Pint, and many more. Eshaan has a hearing impairment and is a proud hearing aid wearer. He’s an Ambassador for the charity Action On Hearing Loss.
Holly Keogh is a producer at talkRADIO where she has worked for 3 years. Last year she studied for a Masters Degree in Broadcast Journalism at City University of London, alongside her job, and achieved a distinction. In 2015 she completed an NCTJ (journalism qualification) and freelanced at multiple local television and radio stations in roles varying from reporting, producing and news reading. Holly has Erbs Palsy in her right side which was caused during birth, this means that she has 50% use of her arm.
Loren Eley has worked in audio for 18 years, starting her career in New Zealand at Mediaworks and The Radio Bureau. She moved to London 14 years ago and has worked for GCap/Global, Jazz FM and the last 9 years at Bauer Media. Her experience started with presenting, producing, promotions and events and now she is Group Client Lead in the National Advertising department at Bauer. Loren has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which is a lifelong mental health condition characterised by mood swings, from mania to depression. She is passionate about wellbeing, mental health, diversity and inclusion and is on Bauer’s ‘Enable’ team – the disability and mental health pillar of its D&I movement ‘Belonging at Bauer’. Loren has also delivered presentations to organisations on mental health awareness, training and coping strategies for maintaining good wellbeing and self-care.
Victoria Brignell is a producer on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time. She has worked at the BBC for more than 20 years on various other factual radio programmes including Woman’s Hour, You and Yours and Start the Week. Last year she was appointed as one of the BBC’s senior leadership team advisers. In 2013 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Anglia Ruskin University for being a “disability champion” and in 2019 she was made an Honorary Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge. Victoria is a tetraplegic wheelchair-user.
This event is produced voluntarily by Darby Dorras. Darby Dorras is an Executive Producer at Somethin' Else with a decade of experience in independent audio production. His current work includes Exec Producing BBC Radio 4 strands, drama, and Somethin' Else original podcasts. In the past Darby has made docs for BBC Radio 2 and 4, produced audio for brands from Penguin Random House to The Economist, and was the launch producer behind the cross-industry Mental Health Minute initiative which made radio history in 2018, seeing Darby receive The Gold Award at The Audio Production Awards last year. He's also a Reelworld Radio Academy 30 Under 30 alumnus and multiple APA/ARIA nominee. As someone with a physical disability (he only has one hand), Darby is extremely passionate about creating a more accessible and diverse audio industry. He's the founder of the Disabled People in Audio movement, which aims to shift the dial on issues of disability in audio: www.disabledpeopleinaudio.com
The event is interpeted in BSL by Rachel Wilkins
Char Bailey was unable to join us on the night due to ill-health. Char is a life coach, activist, writer and podcaster. She is the co-host of the award-winning LGBTQ+ Qmmunity podcast, which explores Queer culture, history and identity. Char is a well-being ambassador for UK Black Pride and was recently named in the ‘top 100 visible lesbians’ by DIVA and The Guardian. She is a proud black, lesbian, autistic woman who’s passionate about using kindness to empower others.