From Boxing Day until New Year’s Day, BBC Radio 1 will be showcasing the best in new and emerging talent by giving 33 new DJs and presenters a once in a lifetime opportunity to broadcast on the UK’s biggest youth radio station.
33 new presenters head to the BBC
Many of the presenters have taken an unconventional route to their first slot on Radio 1, including Will Kirk from Sheffield, whose day job is in marketing.
Will has severe-to-profound hearing loss in both ears and wears hearing aids, and will be Radio 1’s first deaf or hard of hearing DJ.
Joining him will be Jevanni Letford from East London, who qualified as a lawyer before moving into a career in radio and music and is now the official tour DJ for KSI, and Danni Diston, originally from Cornwall, who currently works as a teaching assistant at a school for children with special educational needs.
Letford said: “It feels amazing and I am absolutely honoured. Having been DJing for over 10 years and putting in the work this makes all of the journey to date feel worthwhile.”
First black presenter of Rock Show
Several of the presenters began their presenting journeys in student, local, community or hospital radio, including 24 year old Nels Hylton, who has previously volunteered at the University of Portsmouth’s Pure FM and at community station Transmission Roundhouse.
This Christmas, Nels will become the first Black presenter to host Radio 1’s Rock Show.
“It’s really humbling to be selected as part of Radio 1’s Christmas lineup, even more so to be the first black broadcaster to present the Radio 1 Rock Show”, Hylton said.
“I can’t wait to host the show and prove that rock music is for everybody.”
Also hailing from student and community radio are presenter, DJ and YouTuber Shay Sade, from Reprezent and No Signal Radio; Dean McCullough, who volunteered at Wandsworth Radio before landing a slot on Gaydio; and Ellen Macleod, who started volunteering at Bolton FM in 2017 before heading to university.
Ellen, who was born with mobility difficulties and uses a wheelchair, is a current student at the University of Salford where she manages student station Utter Radio, as well as co-hosting a podcast with two friends.
Instead of Radio 1 Breakfast with Greg James, listeners will be able to hear Kerrie Cosh from Northampton and Robyn Richford from Glasgow on weekday mornings as they each turn their hand to hosting Radio 1 Anthems from 6-10am. Meanwhile, Shivani Dave will taking over the Weekend Breakfast slot from Matt Edmondson and Mollie King to host Radio 1 Anthems from 8am-midday on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 December.
Gender diversity front and centre
Shivani Dave (who is non-binary and uses they/she pronouns) said: “I love that I can be so out and proud and still be accepted into the Radio 1 family.
“Growing up this representation would have been huge for me, I only hope there is a young LGBTQ+ kid out there who sees me achieving my dream, and believes they can achieve theirs too.
“I am very rarely lost for words, but I can’t believe this. I am so excited to be part of Radio 1’s Christmas Schedule, and really ho-ho-hope I don’t blow it (I promise I won’t be so cringe on air!)”
Aled Haydn Jones, Head of BBC Radio 1, added: “We introduced this initiative in 2019 as a way of giving some new young presenters a chance to showcase their talent on a national level.
“One year on, it’s proven to be a fantastic springboard, with many of the presenters landing follow up gigs on Radio 1 and beyond.
“ I can’t wait to hear our latest batch of presenters on air over the festive period, and I look forward to seeing what 2021 has in store for them all.”
Radio 1 put out the call for presenters out back in October, asking for submissions from anyone with previous radio experience, be it in community, hospital, student or local radio.
The new roster have the chance to follow in the footsteps of the station’s current DJs including Greg James and Nick Grimshaw who both started out presenting on student stations, Clara Amfo who began her career as a radio intern, and Annie Mac who previously worked as Assistant Producer to Zane Lowe.
The 33 new presenters are (in alphabetical order):
- Alex West, 22, from Reading, and Numi Gildert, 26, from Macclesfield (The Official Chart on Radio 1)
- Cal Carthy, 25, from Hertfordshire (Radio 1 Dance)
- Connor Coates, 27, from Belfast (Radio 1’s Dance Anthems)
- Dan Alani, 29, from Birmingham (Radio 1’s Future Sounds)
- Danni Diston, 23, from Cornwall, and Sam MacGregor, 22, from Maidenhead (Radio 1’s Life Hacks)
- Darcy Kelly, 20, from Jersey (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Dave Treacy, 39, from Dublin (Danny Howard)
- Dean McCullough, 28, from Belfast (Radio 1 Anthems)
- DJ Davda, 21, from London (Radio 1’s Soundsystem)
- DJ Nate, 31, from Ealing (Boxing Day afternoon on 1Xtra)
- Ellen Macleod, 20, from Bolton (The Happy Hour from Radio 1)
- Emily Pilbeam, 23, from Leeds (BBC Introducing on Radio 1)
- James Cusack, 33, from Manchester (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Jess Iszatt, 29, from Hertfordshire (Radio 1’s Chillest Show)
- Jevanni Letford, 31, from London (Rickie, Melvin and Charlie)
- Kerrie Cosh, 29, from Northamptonshire (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Laurie Charlesworth, 27, from Leicester (Radio 1’s Drum & Bass Show)
- Mo Ayoub, 26, from London (Benji B)
- Nels Hylton, 24, from London (Radio 1’s Rock Show)
- Nikki Tesla, 26, from Birmingham (Annie Nightingale)
- Rakeem Omar, 28, from Birmingham (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Rebekah Walker, 26, from London (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Robyn Richford, 28, from Glasgow (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Sarah Gosling, 27, from Devon (Radio 1’s Future Artists)
- Sarah Story, 31, from Carlisle (Radio 1’s Dance Party)
- Shay Sade, 26, from Kingston (Radio 1’s Future Sounds)
- Shivani Dave, 25, from Swindon (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Spin-Milz, 20, from Chingford (The 1Xtra Takeover)
- Vicky Hawkesworth, 24, from Bolton (Radio 1 Anthems)
- Victoria Jane, 22, from Manchester (The 1Xtra Takeover)
- Will Kirk, 22, from Sheffield (Guest mix for Radio 1’s Drum & Bass Show)
Photos and biographies for all 33 presenters can be found here.