The Radio Academy Mentoring Programme is open to people working in all disciplines including production, presentation, journalism, technology, craft, commercial and support roles. Here are the 20 people in the RAMP Cohort for 2022:
Alice Westoby has been working in radio for just over 5 years, starting her career as Online Content Editor at Heart Radio back in 2016. Flash forward to 2021 and she is now the Digital and Social Media Manager for the Absolute Radio and Magic Radio networks. Coming to media and broadcasting from a bit of an unexpected background, she gained a BA Hons in Dance from the University of Chichester and found her way to radio via the means of social media and digital content creation. She loves her job and couldn’t imagine doing it in an industry other than radio which gives so much scope for working with presenters, artists, guests and listeners and turning their stories and moments into amazing content. In her free time she loves to play netball and watch musicals - but not at the same time.
Ben Weisz is a political reporter based in Brighton, where he covers local government for BBC Radio Sussex. As comfortable reporting from a Finance Committee as a fishing boat, he keeps Sussex up to speed in words of one syllable. Before becoming a reporter, Ben researched and produced with BBC outlets like PM, From Our Own Correspondent, and Reality Check. He created Politix & Chill – the BBC’s only podcast serving local politics to a younger audience, and has worked on celebrated titles like Newscast and The Next Episode. Ben’s latest project, Political Landscapes, takes MPs for a walk through their constituency, rambling in every sense. He’s passionate about giving people the platform to tell their own stories - whether apprentices losing their jobs, homeless people stuck in hotels, or MPs sharing their experience having a drink spiked. “This doesn’t sound like a politics programme” is the greatest compliment he’s had.
Ellie Brennan is a radio presenter, currently co-presenting the number one breakfast show in Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire on Viking FM. After winning a competition to become a presenter on the Bauer network, Ellie quickly began presenting on a local radio breakfast show and hasn’t had a lie in since. Alongside the early mornings, Ellie loves presenting to a crowd at live events and gigs… and can usually be spotted dancing her heels off in the front row later on.
Emily Uchida Finch is a freelance radio and audio documentary producer. Her career began as a reporter at an award-winning local newspaper and as a camera operator for a Japanese broadcaster. The camera role gave her the opportunity to travel across the Middle East as the refugee crisis unfolded. The local reporter role put her on first-name terms with the murder detective for her patch. Emily has spent the past four years working as a freelance assistant producer and researcher at BBC Radio 4. She has recently started pitching, making, and editing her own documentaries through indies such as Whistledown. She also worked on Last Word, Radio 4's long-running and much-loved obituary programme.
Georgy Jamieson is a presenter and producer for BBC local radio and has worked in radio for the last 7 years after a redundancy, which led to a huge career change in her early 40s. She started as a regular showbiz news contributor then progressed to travel reporter on the breakfast show and then as a broadcast assistant on the afternoon show. Georgy now presents a Monday evening theatre and arts show across BBC Radio Suffolk and BBC Radio Norfolk and the Saturday daytime show on BBC Radio Suffolk, as well as producing the Sunday breakfast show. She has also made local radio documentaries, with her tribute to comedian Roy Hudd being nominated for a British Comedy Guide award for Best Radio Entertainment Programme. Georgy is one of the directors of the British Comedy Society and lives in Ipswich in Suffolk with her husband, son and two cats.
Glyn Tansley works at BBC Wales as an Audio Producer making content for UK and global audiences. He produced The Bomb podcast for BBC World Service in 2020 and is currently working on two more narrative podcasts. He also produces programmes and series for Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC Sounds. His background is in journalism, having started his BBC career at Radio Wales, later working as a producer on the Today Programme. He’s a trustee with Arts Connection – Cyswllt Celf, a participatory arts charity based in Mid Wales.
Grace Nicoll is originally from Campbeltown in the Mull of Kintyre. She developed a passion for radio after working for her local community station Argyll FM where, at the age of 8 she used to take the requests through to the studio. By the time she was 16, she had her own show. After leaving school, Grace moved to Ayrshire where she obtained her honours in Broadcast Production and got part time work at West FM reading travel & street team. Over the years, Grace has worked at Clyde1 and Capital FM in their street teams and YOUR Radio doing various shows including breakfast for a year. She was then offered MFR breakfast and within a few weeks had moved her whole life up North. Six 6 years later she is still there and has been lucky enough to have covered the UK Chart Show in Scotland, network cover for the Bauer City Network and is a member of the Radio Academy for Scotland. Grace is a bubbly, confident person with great ideas and a true raver.
Hayley Hayes is a producer at talkRADIO, where she has worked for 6 years and is currently producing Evening with James Whale. Hayley grew up listening to James and other late night radio hosts in the early 90s which is where her aspirations for a career in radio started. Life begins at 40 (or so they say!) and Hayley is looking to reach that next level in her career as she approaches this milestone and with the help of the mentoring scheme, is looking forward to widening her network. Outside of radio, Hayley loves to dance (just for fun now, previously a professional dancer) and she enjoys weekends away in Somerset with her husband.
Holly Fisher is an audio producer with over a decade of experience and an interest in creative sound. After graduating with a masters in radio production in 2010 she helped to launch the international online radio station, Monocle 24 - the audio service of Monocle magazine - where she worked until 2021. She was senior producer of their flagship arts programme 'Monocle on Culture' and creative lead on bespoke podcast series for brands like Chanel, Audi, Rolex and more. She has also made episodes of the award-winning podcast 'The Last Bohemians'. 2022 marks Holly's move into freelancing and she is working on new podcast projects and planning to train in other audio expertise such as foley and sound for film. She spent the pandemic lockdown period completing a course in soundscape composition and experimenting with 3D sound - something that she hopes to incorporate into her radio and podcast work even more.
Jake Wittlin began working at BBC Audiobooks in 2010. His career has followed a speech based audio path from editing to sound design and has also included music composition, sound recording and mixing. Following the closure of AudioGO in 2013 Jake continued to pursue his passion of audio and has since completed work for various different studios, publishers and companies throughout the UK with most of the work being completed remotely from his own studio in Bristol. As the audio industry has grown in the UK, Jake has worked on increasingly diverse projects from interactive smart speaker games to audio dramas, online games, and podcasts. His ambition is to develop this side of his work and make more great audio. He has also been committed to working with turntables, turntablism and experimental composition for over 20 years.
Jennifer Keogh is a Producer at BBC Radio 1. From feeding Stormzy pizza in the Live Lounge to training this year’s new Radio 1 Christmas Presenters, Jennifer loves working in radio. She has most recently led on Radio 1’s eco campaign ‘Minute Of Me: Environment Special’ and, before that, produced Nick Grimshaw, BBC Music’s Sound of 2019 and Alice Levine. With over 11 years’ experience working on a wide range of music and entertainment productions, she has produced across many major TV and radio networks including Radio 1, Radio 4, 1Xtra, 4Music, Box TV and Universal Music TV. Passionate about promoting diversity of voices on and off air, she is known for encouraging an inclusive and welcoming team culture that emphasises creativity and forward-thinking innovation. Her forte is getting the best out of the team she works with; presenters, contributors and other team members. And this is what really makes her tick.
Laura Shavin is a voiceover artist, actor and presenter. She trained at Arts Educational and worked as an actress before becoming a singer, comedy writer and then a stand-up and impressionist. Her acting credits include The National Theatre, as a singer she supported the Chieftains at the Festival Hall and as comedian she compered her club Hersterics in north London and was a regular fixture on various BBC radio comedies, including The Now Show where she was a member of the core team for 20+ series. As radio presenter she’s had 2 series of her own show on BBC Essex and co-presented Sunday Breakfast on talkRADIO. Last year she created podcast The Offcuts Drawer where well-known writers share bits of their unpublished work, actors perform them and the writer tells the stories behind them. It was honouree in Best Arts & Culture Podcast in 2021’s international Webby Awards. Laura works full time as a voiceover artist.
Louisa Wells is Senior Podcast Producer at The Telegraph. Having output-produced local and network radio for 8 years, Louisa made the difficult decision to move into podcast production to expand her skills, and perhaps lower the chance of having to wake up at 4am in the morning for a while. She sadly didn’t predict that she was making that move a week before a country wide lockdown, and that her podcast journey would start with a duvet studio and strainted WiFi. Since then she has battled politicians who insist they don't own headphones, recorded a heartfelt series about addiction, hosted some Covid-compliant live shows, and enjoyed it thoroughly. She hopes to exec-produce a story-telling series in the New Year. Outside of podcasting, she was part of the team who broke the Neil Ferguson story last year, and she recently painted a wall in her flat and it didn't look awful; both things she’s very proud of.
Matt Lissack is a Content Director for CommunicorpUK. His career started in 2002, where he presented shows on Plymouth Sound, South Hams, Gemini FM and GWR’s ‘Mix Network’. In 2006, the opportunity arose to join Red Dragon (now Capital South Wales). He became a familiar voice across the schedule, which led to him presenting shows on Capital Network and then the flagship Capital Breakfast between 2013 and 2019. The show received industry recognition, with two wins for Best Breakfast Show at the Arqiva Radio Awards In 2019, Matt was offered the opportunity to join the station’s management team as Programme Manager, which he balanced alongside the show. This became the path he wanted to take seriously, so when the show came to a natural end, he stepped into a Programme Controller role. Today, he splits his time between Cardiff and Glasgow to lead the teams at Capital South Wales and Capital Scotland.
Nicole Logan is the Founder of Audio Art Talent Management and Production Company Dutchie Club, which champions the stories and creativity of Black and South Asian women and Non Binary people. She is also Development Executive multi award winning production company Reduced Listening. Nicole spent her early career working across Television and Theatre for some of the UK’s well-known production companies and networks, before specialising in audio production. Nicole has worked with some of the UK's leading arts institutions including; ATG, BBC 1, ITV, BBC 1Xtra, BBC Sounds, Spotify and Roundhouse London. Breaking down cultural and institutional barriers has always been a part of Nicole’s professional journey and she is currently serving on the boards of diversity and inclusion media charity, Multitrack and Bloomsbury Arts Festival. As well as serving as a head judge for the Audio Production Awards and on the committee of the 2022 Audio Radio Industry Awards.
Rachel Porter has worked as a producer, editor, broadcast journalist, and live events producer. She is currently working as a Producer for Stance Studios on an eight-part narrative series. Rachel has previously worked as Senior Producer at independent, award-winning arts, culture and current affairs podcast, Stance podcast, where she raised the profile of women, people who experience racism and global stories. Alongside this role she was series producer and editor on women's health podcast 'Am I Making You Uncomfortable?' and Editor for US-based political podcast, 'Running Mate'. Previous clients have included the Hayward Gallery and The Guardian. Other Stance Studios projects have included partnerships with Adidas, Tate, the European Cultural Foundation, Gucci and the charity Maslaha. Prior to her audio career, she was lucky enough to work in the third sector at Europe's largest arts centre, Southbank Centre, as a producer of world-class, sell-out shows.
Sal Ahmad has spent 17 of the last 20 years of his radio career working in sport for the BBC, IMG and talkSPORT. He has produced and led teams at big sporting occasions including the 2018 World Cup final in Russia as well as award-winning coverage of England's cricket tours of Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Live sport has been at the heart of Sal's career with over 1500 live games of football produced including every domestic and European club final as well as matches across the Premier League and the EFL on site. In the studio, Sal has produced and written bulletins for BBC Radio, been at the helm of talkSPORT's Kick Off programme covering live sport, documentaries, round table discussions and highlighting stories that wouldn't usually be heard on the station as well as giving opportunities to new voices.
Shahlaa Tahira is a seasoned on-air, online, and live events presenter. After co-hosting BBC Radio 1Xtra Talks (September 20-21), she is focusing on visual content collaborations and season 2 of Badass Mums the Podcast. Shahlaa is that friend who will start a conversation on the train, always has time for a chat, is great at advice, has contagious energy and loves a debate. She has spent the last 7 years working with brands like Rinse FM, Reprezent Radio, The Roundhouse, 4 Music, Vauxhall, Vans, Trend Centrl’s BKChat London and Lewisham Council, so her transferable skills are endless. In her free time, she DJ’s and creates content and events that encourage conversation around music, education, equality, community, family, and travel.
Steffen Armstrong is a writer who spends his days dreaming up ad campaigns for the world of radio, TV and digital at Communicorp UK and Mind Field Advertising. However, at night, when the account managers go to sleep, Steffen strays into the realm of non-fiction. As a half-Scottish, half-German, full Yorkshireman, his interests and influences are understandably fruitful. He enjoys writing short stories, playing music, and creating the odd poorly composed painting. Travel is a passion, having visited every country in Europe bar two. He enjoys a round of golf and a frame of snooker. He recently entered his very first chess competition and didn’t come last! Amongst Steffen’s many influences are writers Hans Fallada and Hermann Hesse. Musicians Willy Mason and Ian Felice. Podcasters Dan Skinner and Mike Wozniak. The best piece of advice ever given to Steffen came from songwriter comedian Graham Fellows. “Hone your lyrics, son”, he said.
Will Wilkin is a commissioning executive of a new generation of on demand music formats for BBC Sounds and the BBC’s radio networks. Working with labels, management and across BBC platforms he creates high impact moments around artists telling their story. His habit forming programming is designed to bring new audiences to the BBC and shape a major part of the BBC’s music offering for young audiences moving forward. Prior to being a Commissioning Executive, Will was a producer across commercial and BBC Network Radio. Most recently he took Scott Mills on Radio 1 to record audiences and accolades including 3 New York Radio Awards, an ARIA for Best Entertainment Music Show as well as Best Entertainment Producer at the APAS. He has worked closely with the Radio Academy in the past hosting and producing Festival Sessions and as a judge of the 30U30 and ARIAS.