Faron McKenzie named new head of BBC Radio 1Xtra


FARON MCKENZIE is the new head of BBC Radio 1Xtra, it has been announced today.

McKenzie, who joined the BBC in 2017, recently led the BBC’s first-ever Creative Diversity Xperience (CDX) which took place on 28 – 29 July.

As head of CDX, McKenzie worked closely with June Sarpong, BBC director of creative diversity, and Miranda Wayland, head of creative diversity, to bring together iconic stars, cultural disruptors and influencers to showcase the vibrancy, innovation and leadership of Black, Asian and minority ethnic talent in the creative industry.

During his career at the BBC, McKenzie has helped to evolve BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network by implementing some of the most successful marketing campaigns, most notably launching the first-ever paid strategic partnership with GRM Daily and LinkUp TV for BBC Three’s The Rap Game series, and Radio 1’s Annie Mac collaboration with Refinery29.

He has also played a pivotal role in commissioning and developing multiple BBC Sounds podcasts, including 1Xtra’s Brave Conversations, How To Thrive and Dope Black Dads.

Before joining the BBC, McKenzie worked at youth marketing agency Disrupt, where he focussed on growing young, diverse audiences for many global brands. 

McKenzie said: “I am delighted to be able to creatively mould, and steer the most culturally relevant leading digital youth radio brand at the epicentre of black music and culture, BBC Radio 1Xtra.

“We are in a thriving time for black entertainment in the UK and overseas powered by a surge of creativity from new and legacy talent who are topping the charts and selling out stadiums. We have new audiences with an insatiable appetite for entertaining linear and digital content that is authentic and unapologetic.

“I am confident in the proven abilities of my new team, with a brand new forthcoming Breakfast Show, and our world renowned DJs. We are set and ready to lead a new dawn in digital radio.”

Lorna Clarke, controller of BBC Popular Music, said: “Now more than ever, a bold and creative 1Xtra is needed to reflect the culture of black audiences in the UK across all platforms. Having worked across Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network, coupled with his experience of digital and social media, Faron is well equipped to lead the team into the next era.”

McKenzie’s 1Xtra colleagues are among those who have congratulated him since the news broke this morning.

Richie Brave, host of 1Xtra’s Brave Conversations, tweeted: “Listen, do you know how big Faron McKenzie being the new head of 1Xtra is? Do you all know how great this guy is? I couldn’t be happier to hear this, congratulations man. You really are an inspiration.”

1Xtra presenter Nadia Jae tweeted: “Congratulations boss man Faron McKenzie.”

McKenzie will start his new role in early September.

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