Tell us about your foray into becoming a radio producer?
I won a talent competition back in 2001. The BBC wanted to open up and get in more raw talent. I applied for the radio position as I had always been interested in how the voices come out of this 'box'. 17,500 people had applied for this new talent scheme. For the application process, they presented us a with a few challenges, two were to come up with a new slogan and a to also create a new programme for Radio 1. My idea was a program called 'Tune', which was a battle style type road show in clubs to find new DJ and MC talent (I think Simon Cowell owes me money!). Forty people went through to the interview round, six got the job and I was one of them. It was a real life saver as I've always had a passion for music but never really knew what direction I wanted to take it.
Take us through a typical day in your life at the station
I currently produce the 'Ace and Vis' weekend show. I usually plan 4-6 weeks ahead. A big part of my week is spent directing the team, answering emails and doing a lot of forward planning. On the actual day of the show, my team and I prepare scripts for the presenters, outline the content and manage the logistics. The pressure really comes from being in a live situation. Otherwise it's pretty relaxed. But then i have been doing it for 10 years. You've got to think about who the presenter is and how they would say things. You have to be a bit of a chameleon; the needs of DJs are different. My job is to turn around information and content so that they can present it.
I also spend a lot of time listening to music, seeking out new talent and artists that I am going to support. All the shows at BBC 1Xtra make time for free plays, which allows people to find out about new stuff. I'm really precious about that.
I also work on other projects, such as the BBC Radio 1Xtra Summer Soundclash 2011, which I put together with my executive producer. It was a free event with over 2000 guests and artists such as Chipmunk, Boy Better Know, Donae'o, Roll Deep, Shola Ama, Ny, Mz Bratt, Sway, Lethal Bizzle and Maverick Sabre performing live.
Tell us something people might not know - or ever expect - about working as a radio producer
At 1Xtra, you get to work very closely with the artists and help them develop, give them pointers, advice. I spend a lot of time talking to artists, about their work; I've been there right at the beginning for a few artists, Wretch 32, Chipmunk, Mz Bratt even Jay Sean... It's been a real privilege to be involved in the early stages and to have played a part in their career.
In addition to forming a close relationship to the artists, producers spend a lot of time with the marketing and interactive departments. Nowadays, communication is very 3D. We encourage our listeners to interact to us directly through videos, twitter, facebook, etc. With that, listeners are much more verbal in what they like and don't like. Taking this into account allows us as producers to make the experience of being an 1Xtra listener even more exciting. We also run regular focus group across the country, which are an essential tool for us as a youth brand, as they allow us to speak to our audience directly; we don't just dictate to them.
There are very intimate talks about the participant's life in general, interests, family, how the use their phones, which applications are of interest. Many great ideas, such as the development of The Radio 1 Big Weekend and the events I have worked on were the results of focus labs.
Tell us why do you love doing what you do
When I first came into the game, people used to tell me all the time that I should be on air but I wasn't really sure if I wanted to be a presenter. I made a decision that I wanted to be a great producer, so I pushed any interest I had as being a presenter aside, because I didn't want that notion to infect my work as a producer. I wanted to be great at my job.
When I was approached again about becoming a presenter years later, I tried it, but I realised that I didn't enjoy it in the same way as I did as being a producer. As a producer you are building content, coming up with ideas and making them happen - I love that. I think it's important that you stay true to who you are and if you can find a way to express yourself, and make a living at it, that's rare and it's fantastic.
What talent would you say that 1xtra has broken in recent years?
Chipmunk, Wretch 32 and Tinchy Stryder, Lethal B, Donae'O were the key players in recent years. And there's a lot of amazing new talent come through this year, such as Yasmin, Emilie Sande, Mz Bratt, Lioness, Lady Leshurr A Dot, RD, Princess Princess Nyah, Ny, to name just a few. You really get the sense that everybody is working together as a unity again. The female version of Tinchy Stryder's 'Game Over' is a great example of this...the ladies are taking over!
What advice would you give to other women who are trying to break into radio
It's worth pointing out that there are not enough female presenters in radio, in particular in specialist radio. Psychologically radio seems to be more of a male thing. You've got to have to be able to talk about a number of things in a confident way. We as women often talk from a personal perspective and not everybody wants to hear that. You've got to get the balance right. It is about confidence. With radio you share without it being all about you. Women who can do that and do it well are big players in the industry and do it for a long time. Hence I'd say, be aware of that and study presenters who are good at this
Behind the scenes, there are plenty of women running the show; it's almost game of 'spot the geezer'. All the men are at the top. We certainly need more women to drive to the top. Another thing about working in radio is you need to leave your ego out of the door; you have to get the bigger picture, which is about supporting the artists and new talents and entertaining the audience.
Apart from being a fabulous radio producer - what other skills can you boast about?
I love to bake cakes. Love cakes! I've worked on some nice projects too. Lethal B was looking for adult themed cupcakes for his agent... so I made them gold-glitter c*s, p*s and ts...and they tasted great. I did birthday cupcakes for Reggie Yates, which The Saturdays presented to him live on show. I recently made a picture cake for Lioness to celebrate the launch of EP Rawness at The Jazz Cafe, Camden. I'm creating sweet moments in music - lol! I would love to get my cakes backstage at the Brits or the MOBOs, even better I'd love to have my own emporium and support live music and showcase new talent in my shop. Cakes and music are very close to my heart. Check out www.kupkase.com for more info.
Also check out some hot cuts that Kasey is feeling right now....
Hide The Cracks / Charlie Sarah Williams White
Tease U Queenie
Infatuation Elisa Do Brasil Feat. Miss Trouble