Fashionable young women form the vanguard of Q Radio

"If you were looking at Q you might expect the show to be presented by a 40-year-old white man with a beard and a passion for guitars," says Ric Blaxill, when talking about the flagship programme of Q Radio, which launches today with a full schedule of presenters.

The image evokes Tommy Saxondale, Steve Coogan's hirsute caricature of a middle-aged former rock roadie, though it should be said that Tommy is a confirmed reader of Q's Bauer stablemate, Mojo magazine.

Rather than a beardy bloke, Blaxill and Q editor Paul Rees, have chosen Samanthi as their star turn, a former Xfm presenter who also works for DesiDNA, a BBC2 show on British Asian arts and entertainment. "She's in her mid-20s and is absolutely consumed by music and film. It would have been easier for us to secure that 40-year-old white guy, but it's required more depth and thought to bring Samanthi on board," says Blaxill.

Samanthi will be presenting the Qpm show at 6pm-9pm from Monday to Friday but Q Radio will move further into leftfield on Sunday evenings when, Amber and Nisha, The Broken Hearts, move into the studio. The Broken Hearts are one of London's most fashionable DJ acts – described by this newspaper as "A Hollywood musical on hallucinogenics".

Dressed in identical costumes, said to be inspired by "the iconography of Weimar Berlin, circus sideshows and the golden age of Hollywood", the pair, who also run a retro clothing shop in Brick Lane, east London, have performed at such venues as Tate Britain, the V&A, cat walk fashion shows and the trendy Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. "They go everywhere and dress immaculately, when they're in this building everybody asks who they are," says Blaxill.

Visually striking though these girls undoubtedly are, he has no doubt that their charm will translate to radio. "They play everything from the Thirties to now and are very well connected. They know a lot of people from the world of fashion, a lot of young authors, British film directors and actors. The content of their show will have a very lifestyle, culture-driven agenda. That's the kind of people we want on air," he says. "We don't want Q Radio to be a noodly, anorak-zipped-up-to-the-top station that preaches to people."

Saxondale might curl his upper lip and retreat behind his Mojo but Rees is happy if there's differentiation between the two titles. "If you are talking about Mojo, it's predominantly music," he observes. "Q is seen as broader than that." Audience research for the Q Radio project, which will see the station transformed into an interactive network after four years as little more than a computer-driven stream of music, hankered for a wider diet of entertainment content, a "much broader palette and interest range", as Rees puts it.

The station will be different from the blokey BBC 6 Music, from which Blaxill resigned as head of programmes last year, after the revelation that the station had twice awarded prizes to fictional competition winners. "I can't comment on that," he says. "No, no, I can't comment."

Blaxill identifies Radio 2, Xfm and parts of the Virgin Radio output as the closest equivalents to the Q Radio offering but points out that he expects the station's roster of presenters to set it apart from its rivals. As well as Samanthi and The Broken Hearts, Blaxill and Rees have hired the comedian Russell Kane, the music journalist David Quantick and the founder of the Acid Jazz record label Eddie Pillar. Blaxill also scoured the Bauer stable of radio stations for fresh talent, hiring Mark Somers from Viking FM and Adam Catterall from Rock FM.

Unlike Xfm, Blaxill believes, Q Radio would happily play Nick Drake. It will also be unafraid to play eclectic combinations of artists, such as "Futureheads, Gang of Four, Hot Chip and Human League in the same swoop of music". The station will take the opportunity to broadcast live content recorded at its Q Music Club shows at London's Hospital Club, with upcoming performances due from Martha Wainwright and The Feeling.

Q's heritage as a magazine means that it enjoys the trust of many music artists, and Rees hopes that the multi-platform offering of print, website and radio network will allow it to embark on some exciting projects.

The Glastonbury Festival, which Q has sponsored for several years, presents such an opportunity with next month's magazine, for which the festival's founder Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily have compiled a CD from the event's archive, providing content that will work across both the print and radio offerings. The Q website, which is being edited by the newly-recruited Anthony Barnes, a former arts and media correspondent for the Independent on Sunday, will have its own Glastonbury microsite.

Rees says the last thing he wants is for the 22-year-old Q to start gathering moth balls, though he says that the average age of its readership is less than that of NME. "Q has become more and more a music magazine, which is not a market that is growing and is arguably one that is getting older.

Q Radio is part of the evolution of the wider brand and Blaxill, who is looking at other Bauer audio options and the potential of driving audience to the new network from the website of the sister magazine FHM, is clearly excited. "This isn't just a seamless segue of music," he says. "It's a living, breathing radio station."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?