We begin the series of ” A look inside the online radio stations” with Xanthe Fuller - Creator Marketing & Partnerships Director at Mixcloud, and broadcaster at Soho Radio. We have chosen to begin with Xanthe as we consider her one of the informal pillars of Black Rhino Radio. She is one of the first people that promoted and supported us in building the station. 

I met Xanthe four years ago when Black Rhino Music hosted at Expirat Club the third conference from the series of ”Music and Communities”. Xanthe came to introduce to our audience a more in-depth perspective on the world of online radio stations and her work at Mixcloud and their support for all the stations. It was not only what Xanthe was talking about, but also the energy she was surrounded with when speaking about radio that was such an inspiration. She was not afraid or shy to say that building a station involves hard and lots of overtime, but she was always sure to mention the good times and the happiness this work brings to the team and the community. 

And so, it began. 

Online stations are here to stay, but what is the future of online radio?

The future’s bright for online radio. More and more exciting stations are starting up around the world, and lots of stations link up with one another across continents, which results in some very exciting outputs. I think online radio stations play a very important part in communities too. At a time when lots of places are lacking a sense of community, and people are feeling increasingly lonely, they tend to be hubs of culture, talent, and inspiration, as well as a great place to hang out and meet people.

Can you name the 5 top high points for an online radio?

1. No rules - more adventurous and rule-breaking than traditional radio;
2. A global audience;
3. A more democratic system - almost anyone can launch a radio station;
4. A place to discover new, breaking talent;
5. It’s the future - young people live online, so radio should be online too.

You have a monthly show on Soho Radio, what drove you into joining the team?

I had been a radio producer for ten years, working at BBC Radio 1, 2, and 6Music but had always wanted to present a show of my own. For a while, I did a show on East London Radio but when I found Soho Radio, it felt like the perfect fit, they had lots of my musical heroes doing shows on there, as well as a very diverse selection of formats, so I thought it was an exciting place to get involved.

What do you consider to be the best show you did?

My personal highlight was when I interviewed The Pharcyde, who is one of my all-time favorite hip-hop acts from the 90s. They totally lived up to expectations and were so fun to hang out with. I also really enjoyed editing the interview with all their music. This show is quite different from my other shows though. Usually, they’re mainly music with one half-hour guest mix and a brief interview. 

Do you remember the first artist you ever played?

Sly & Robbie feat. Shinehead

Do you prefer live or pre-recorded shows?

Definitely live. With a live show there’s a sense of occasion, and you sometimes get some adrenalin which gives the show a lot more energy. It’s even better if you’re interacting live with your audience too, then they feel involved in the party.

Is there any joke you consider the best you did on your radio show? Or one that comes to mind now?

I don’t tend to tell jokes, but I share lots of anecdotes from my life, which often have a comedy element to them. I once did a show straight after I broke my wrist falling off my bike, so I themed all the songs around the words hand, wrist, break, bike, etc. People got in touch to say that one made them laugh. 

What do you believe is the secret of a successful radio show?

Unique creativity and professional tech. A radio show that tells a story runs an interesting theme or has great chat, balanced nicely with the music, will stand out.

What should one never do in a radio show?

Panic. Things go wrong all the time with live radio but the audience will enjoy it if you include them in the disaster, stay calm and make it an entertaining moment.

Last one. What special guest would you like to talk to on your radio show?

I wouldn’t mind talking to Q Tip or Grace Jones! If we’re including dead artists it would be Bill Withers, Frankie Knuckles, or Bob Marley.