WHY I: GEORGIE ROGERS
Georgie Rogers is a prodigious talent in radio broadcasting, presenting and djjing. With a CV resplendent of a veritable who’s who of top dog employers including BBC 6 Music, Virgin Radio, Apple Beats 1, Coca Cola, XFM, Topshop, Secret Garden Party, and a name synonymous with being a dogged champion of new talent, Georgie's tenacity and passion has cut her apart from the pack from the start.
Radio is a notoriously difficult business to make it in so I was very interested to chat to Georgie about her rise in her industry, an industry some have said is harder to break than making it as a popstar. If there's a ever a lesson in showing what having earnest passion, drive and a resilient spirit is, it's with Georgie. Settle down for an awesome WHY I interview with the astounding Georgie Rogers.
Tell me about where you're from and a little more about yourself.
I'm a radio presenter, music journalist and DJ from London. I grew up in Radlett, Hertfordshire just north of London. I had a great suburban childhood with the benefits of being able to sneak up to Camden for gigs or Fabric nightclub as soon as I hit my teens. I've been living in London, east mainly for the past 10 years.
Talk me through your career to date
I've been broadcasting since 2007, well 2004 if you count a slightly rookie but charming Sunday night student radio show on Burn FM in Birmingham. As well as being a music reporter on air on BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 2 and Apple Music's Beats 1, I've presented for Amazing Radio, Diesel, Secret Sessions, Strongroom Alive, Coca Cola, The Selector, Secret Sessions, XFM, Vevo and the newly re-launched Virgin Radio, which is my current home on Sunday nights with a show called Music Discovery.
I'm in the ultimate radio sweet spot curating and hosting three hours of music, mostly new, each week. I've been DJing party tunes along the house and disco spectrum for six years which has resulted in sets at some of my favourite festivals Secret Garden Party, Field Day, Standon Calling and for a bunch of brands like Topshop, Benefit, Hunter and the V&A museum for their Friday Lates series and new exhibition launches. Over the years I've been fortunate enough to interview some all-time heroes, a Beatle and a Zeppelin are two bucket list moments and then there was Ryan Gosling! I get to share my passion for music with other music lovers and call it a career so I feel very lucky.
How did you break into the radio-presenting and the DJ industry?
After internships at BBC Birmingham, Channel 106 and Virgin Radio I started a placement doing music journalism for XFM. That led to my first paid job doing red carpet interviews, writing articles and putting together music stories for the website. It felt like my calling, I'd done English and Drama at Uni and I loved music, bands and gigs. A break came writing the news for the website at BBC 6 Music after a chance meeting at the NME Awards. I was a full-time music journalist there for three years, learning reporting and broadcasting skills on the job. I've been there ever since, freelancing regularly and occasionally popping up on Radio 2 to do Ken Bruce's Music News.
Hosting my own shows came when I got the Breakfast Show on national digital new music station Amazing Radio in 2010. That then led onto Strongroom Alive, cover on The Selector by The British Council and later a return to XFM as a DJ at the end of 2012. I had my own show on XFM on Friday mornings,. This year I started on the newly launched Virgin Radio. DJing is something that started as my bit on the side. Getting people dancing and proving a release for them is a great feeling so once I started I got hooked.
Your achievements are incredible, you've had your own show on Virgin Radio, hosted on BBC 6 MUSIC, a debut show on Amazing Radio, host of numerous festivals...How have you managed this trajectory?
I've just kept working hard towards achieving my dreams.
I'm a typical Scorpio when it comes to determination so I've tried to keep proving myself, listening to everything, improving, grafting and meeting people in my industry. It's amazing how things come full circle and people I met early on gave me significant breaks years later.
It took some time to find my voice and really feel comfortable putting myself out there transitioning from journalism to running the show but it feels so normal to me now, to be in a studio pressing buttons and nattering away.
What achievements are you most proud of?
When The Rolling Stones' career retrospective 'Exhibitionism' at the Saatchi Gallery was announced I was asked to present the launch. I grew up listening to their music so that was a genuine honour. Most recently it would have to be being asked to head up Music Discovery on Virgin, being trusted to curate a credible mix of new music while re-discovering the greats and having the freedom to be creative.
How do you believe the female voice can be better amplified within the male-dominated radio-presenting/music industry? Is it important to do so?
Someone once said to me an excuse for there being less women on the radio is because some stats revealed that women don't like listening to women on the radio. What a load of BS!
Most of my favourite broadcasters are female. There's certainly more women on air these days and I'm so proud to work at a national station with Edith Bowman in the coveted Breakfast slot. Edith, Kate Lawler, myself and The Mac Twins are on air regularly, there's lots of female producers and broadcast assistants and I can only speak for myself but I feel we are counted and appreciated. At certain stations it can still be a boys club as with much of the music industry. Just last year Pitchfork's Senior Editor Jessica Hopper asked the people of Twitter for experiences in music where you felt you didn't 'count'. She got hundreds of replies, so many of them infuriating examples of sexism. Since I started it's encouraging to be surrounded by more women in radio production, music production, presenting and Djing.
It's so vital to show young girls that it is possible to make it your career.
Most of my female contemporaries know the value of showing support, sticking together and helping each other out. Being competitive with each other is pointless. Looking back at my playlists now, it's an unconscious thing but I feature so many female artists so I guess I can do my bit that way. Websites like The Pool are delivering intelligent content for women that not just about lipsticks, but lipsticks AND politics, feminism, fashion, the arts and health. It feels like it's a big talking point at the moment so let's keep talking about it.
Have you had any role-models that have been critical to your career?
There are too many to write. For inspiration, John Peel, Sir Terry Wogan, Graham Norton, Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs - such a boss. I've always looked up to Claudia Winkleman and Zoe Ball for their warmth and character. Cerys Matthews and Tom Ravenscroft for their diverse music taste, their 6 Music shows are a must. I'm constantly amazed by Shaun Keaveny on BBC 6 Music Breakfast, when I'm working on the show or listening in the mornings. His natural gift, putting the mic up and letting his wit and humour flow. Lauren Laverne is a remarkable woman and broadcaster and I've loved her 6 Music show since it started.
What are your other passions?
Being outside, surfing, snowboarding, sailing, cycling, movies (usually a sob-fest or an action packed thriller), canal walks, coffee with friends, visiting galleries, a good night out dancing.
What led you to take up surfing quite late into your 20s?
Surfing was something I'd dipped in and out of, and as my friends were getting more into it I knew I needed an intensive week to break the back of it, so went to Morocco last March, then Costa Rica at the beginning of this year. Two weeks with incredible coaching at Surf Bikini Retreat in total paradise did wonders for my progression. I got myself a head height wave at the end of that time. I screamed the whole way! Next stop: Bali in January.
What are your goals within your career for the future?
I'd like to continue doing it for a long time, for it to be my career. I've been filming some backstage videos with Vevo recently which has been so enjoyable so I hope to do more on camera bits next year. The daydream of presenting the Glastonbury BBC telly coverage doesn't seem to ever go away, or Desert Island Discs, but Kirsty's got that down for a good while and I'm in the queue of what... everybody else in music broadcasting!
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
There's that John Lennon quote, "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". This year has taught me to live for the moment and do everything that makes you the happiest, because your world can change so suddenly.
What are your greatest motivations?
My mum, my harshest critic and biggest fan! Holidays...always. Travel. The women in radio running the airwaves, a family and everything else.
What inspires you?
Music (obviously!). Adventures. Visiting new places. A book you can't put down. Films that make you feel something on a massive screen. Pink skies over London and anywhere in the world for that matter. A well-made jacket. My 91 year-old Nonnie (grandmother). Times with family and friends telling stories. Eggs and avocados (I make a mean brunch).
Thank you Georgie and for more on Georgie check her out at:
@georgierogers Twitter & Instagram
Facebook - @GeorgieRogersPresents
Next time, I speak to the utterly incredible Lauren Cuthbertson, THE Principal Dancer with the Royal London Ballet. A seminal force in the world of ballet, Devon-born Lauren has fought back from illness and injury to dance in a number of the most epic of productions including leading roles in classical ballets, Juliet, Manon and Anastasia, role creations as the lead in Alice's Advevnture's In Winderland, Hermioine in The WInters Tale, and currently dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Peter Wright production of the stunning Tchaikovsky-scored The Nutcracker. An ardent and voracious patron of the National Youth Ballet and London Children’s Ballet, stay tuned for an in-depth interview with the stunning Lauren Cuthbertson.