The Radio Academy held two game-changing webinars in August, entitled R.O.A.R – Race On Audio & Radio.

The webinars – which were open to Radio Academy members and non-members alike – were hosted by Radio Academy Chair Yvonne Thompson, and Swarzy from KISS.

In her 2018 maiden speech, Dr Thompson urged the industry to “Diversify or Die” in a call for the sector to be more representative of its listeners, particularly in terms of race and social diversity.

Today, in the wake of the George Floyd tragic injustice in the US that ignited a global outcry for racial inclusion, Dr Thompson’s call to the industry is more crucial than ever. The Radio Academy aimed to amplify and lead the debate across the industry, through these two webinars which will include Q&As.

Both webinars are now available to watch on YouTube.

The aim of the webinars was to:

– Provide a platform for those who dare to share their powerful stories and experiences, both positive and negative, plus suggested solutions. We will also hear how building their resilience, emotional intelligence and leadership skills has navigated them through their radio industry journey so far.

– Suggest what the radio and audio industry can do to promote equality of ambition and opportunity in this modern and changing world.

– Offer some reverse-mentoring to those who are in a position of power and influence, to assist them to walk the walk.


Swarzy Macaly – KISS Presenter

TV/Radio Presenter Swarzy Macaly won the KISS Chosen One in 2016 and now presents KISS Breakfast every Saturday morning from 6-9AM. She is also the official voice of BBC Sounds, a regular contributor to BBC Radio 5Live, and the host of 4Music’s TV Show, The UK Music Video Chart. 

Swarzy has also presented two BBC documentaries that both went live in August 2019: ‘Me VS Climate Change’ and ‘Instagramification’.

Outside of TV and radio, Swarzy loves to host live events and panel discussions. Known for her charisma and passion for people, culture, and social justice, Swarzy’s fearlessness and ability to listen whilst thinking on her feet allow her to bring rooms, events and conversations to life.

In Part 1 we heard from:

Trevor Nelson

As a pioneer in the black music scene, Trevor started his broadcasting career at then pirate station Kiss FM. He has won numerous honours including 4 MOBOS and an MBE for his work with the millennium volunteers. Trevor currently broadcasts across two radio networks: BBC Radio 1Xtra Sunday 10am-1pm and on BBC Radio 2 Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation Monday-Thursday 10pm-Midnight.

Nels Hylton

Nels is a 24-year-old presenter and producer from London specialising in connecting new music with listeners. Found on Transmission Roundhouse as the voice of the show ‘Master of None’ and the winner of BBC New Voices in Kent 2020. Day to day he is also a freelance producer found creating content for brands like BBC Radio 2 and Somethin’ Else.

Aminata Kamara

Aminata presents a weekly show on BBC Radio Leicester where she champions local talent, and harnesses honest conversation. She initially went to Leicester in 2008 to study Drama at De Montfort University (DMU), but now 12 years on, the city has become her home. In 2012 she was awarded Leicester’s Young Person of the Year, at the African and Caribbean Achievement Awards and a year later she was nominated for The Woman’s Start-up Business of the Year Award by Leicestershire for Business.

Toni McDonald

Toni is a breakfast co-host and Saturday morning presenter, she has been a voice on BBC Hereford and Worcester since September 2006. She is a Brummie born and bred, but her family extends to Worcestershire with relatives in Bromsgrove and old school friends in Hartlebury. Toni has spent time on-air and behind the scenes at BRMB (now Free Radio) and Heart in Birmingham; Southern FM in Brighton, Hampshire’s Ocean Radio and Severn Sound in Gloucester (now Heart Sussex, Heart South Coast and Heart Gloucestershire respectively).

In Part 2 we heard from:

Lorna Clarke – Controller of Pop Music – BBC

Lorna Clarke is Controller of Pop Music at the BBC, with responsibility for the portfolio of five national popular music networks (Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, Radio 1Xtra, Asian Network) as well as Live Events, music television commissioning and the Visualisation team.

With over 30 years broadcasting experience under her belt, Lorna kicked off her radio career in 1985 as a news reporter at BBC Radio Cornwall, which was followed by various production roles at BBC London/GLR, Metro Radio in Newcastle, and BBC World Service. Lorna made the switch back to commercial radio by becoming Programme Director at Kiss 100 FM in 1990, the year it began broadcasting legally after spending many years as a London based pirate station.

Bernard Achampong – Station Director – Premier Christian Radio

Bernard Achampong is the founder of radio & podcast production company Unedited: and currently Station Director for Premier Christian Radio.

Bernard has over 25 years of music & audio industry experience starting as a university and pirate radio presenter and club DJ and under the guise of DJ Asante heading up the Warner Music Street Team in the Midlands. Bernard went to work at BBC 1Xtra for almost 12 years as their Station Sound Producer and also had stints working for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Radio 2, BBC News channels and BBC World Service. He has six Sony radio awards and 27 other audio production nominations. Bernard produced the genre-defining podcast, ‘Dark Web’, which is still a top ten Audible title, three years after its release. He is an Associate Lecturer in Entrepreneurship for Coventry University and Radio Production for the University of Derby.

Nicole Logan – Station Manager – Transmission Roundhouse

Nicole Logan is a cultural strategist and producer, working across: audio, events and artist management. Over the past 7 years Nicole has worked with: the BBC, Ambassadors Theatre Group, Sonia Friedman Productions, Radio 1/ 1Xtra, Universal Music, The Brit Awards and the Roundhouse, on a range of cultural projects and initiatives, that further her ambitions to make arts and culture more inclusive and authentically serve diverse audiences.

Ivor Etienne – Radio & TV Music Consultant and Media Analyst. CEO – Etienne Media

Ivor Etienne started off as a Sound Engineer in 1983 for a community project called “Interchange” and taught students how to operate sound equipment, record demo sessions and also arranged showcases promoting their talent within the community. In 1987 he joined the BBC as a studio manager and over a 5-year period he worked with producers and presenters on Radio 1,2,3,4 and the world service recording, he also worked in Radio 1 and 2 continuity and live sessions. In 1992 Ivor joined BBC Radio 1 as a producer, he was the first black producer to work for the network and over the years he brought to them the idea of The Steve Edwards Soul Show (the first modern Hip Hop and R&B music show to be featured on Radio 1). He was Managing Director of Choice FM. After the takeover of Global Radio Ivor left to work abroad in Nigeria and for a number of years consulted across a number of stations before returning to set up Ruach Radio, The Beat London 103.6FM and also become a director at Ultravision TV, a black Caribbean online TV channel who wants to “Inform Educate, Entertain and Inspire” new, current and established black broadcasters.

Leanne Alie – Commissioning Podcast Producer – PopHub Network at BBC Sounds

Leanne is a Commissioning Podcast Producer for the PopHub Network at BBC Sounds. She develops podcast titles specifically for Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra and Asian Network. She is also a podcast producer and produces the award-winning podcast Dope Black Dads as well as Dope Black Women. She also runs her own diversity consultancy where she works with organisations within the audio industry to improve diversity, inclusion and representation, and has worked with the likes of The British Podcast Awards, London Podcast Festival and Audio UK to name a few.

With thanks to James Mobbs for digital asset design


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