Ric Blaxill: My Life In Media

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The Independent Online

What inspired you to start a career in the media?

Listening to the radio. While growing up, radio was a good friend: from Radio 1 to Radio Luxembourg, comedy on Radio 4, sport on Radio 2, phone-ins on Radio London and the then new London station Capital Radio. I absolutely loved radio, but it was listening to Kenny Everett that made it really exciting to me.

What was the family newspaper, and did you read it?

The Daily Mirror, which I used to browse through.

What were your favourite television and radio programmes?

Radio was Kenny Everett, the Top 40, John Peel, Roger Scott, The News Huddlines and In Concert. Television was Top of the Pops, The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Doctor Who and The Monkees.

What's the first medium you turn to in the morning?

The radio alarm goes off to Phill Jupitus on 6 Music. I prowl around the dial a couple of mornings a week to check out what else is going on at breakfast.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I try to read a tabloid and a broadsheet a day, plus music and broadcasting publications. I also use the MediaGuardian website, as well as produxion.com, the Music Week website, Popbitch, and many other music sites, such as drownedinsound.com

What's the best thing about your job?

As a music and radio fan, it doesn't get much better than working at 6 Music! We have access to the whole of the BBC music archive. Scheduling that alongside a new and exciting playlist, some of the best alternative and pioneering music from the past 40 years, and live performances in our studios every day means that 6 Music is unique in what it offers listeners. It's the iPod shuffle of radio, but better.

And the worst?

Being the best-kept secret in radio. Awareness of 6 Music is key to our development because once people find us, they tend to like us. Even love us.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

As a young producer at Capital Radio, turning up to produce my first outside broadcast with the presenter Richard Allinson but without the programme box - so no records, CDs, running orders, headphones. You name it, I forgot it. Funny how quickly you learn, isn't it?

What do you tune into at home?

A lot of 6 Music, but I have always listened to a lot of radio so it's second nature for me to have a main station and then flick around elsewhere.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

The Sunday Times, and, as far as magazines go, Uncut and Viz.

Name the career ambition that you want to fulfil before you retire

I honestly don't know the answer to that. I've been very lucky in producing and managing some high-profile television and radio shows. And nothing has ever been planned. So, I'll stick to that formula and see what happens.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

Something connected to music, either for a label, artist management, working for a venue or for a local authority that has funding to support local music.

Who in the media do you most admire, and why?

David Liddiment, who was my boss at Top of the Pops and TOTP2, and Lesley Douglas, my boss at 6 Music. Lesley's vision for what we can achieve is exciting, and I'm proud to be working alongside her. Her advice has helped me in what I've achieved so far at 6 Music, and I'm still learning from her.

The CV

1988: Joins BBC Radio 1 as a producer, rising to senior producer

1994: Begins television career as producer of BBC1's Top of the Pops, leaving after stint as the show's executive producer

1997: Spends a year as A&R director for Independiente records

1998: Development and series producer for SM:TV Live, CD:UK with Ant & Dec and Cat Deeley, and All Wright with Ian Wright

2000: Moves back to radio as creative director of StormLive digital and internet radio

2001: Produces music documentary series The Pop Years for LWT and Sky

2002: Appointed programme controller of 95.8 Capital FM, before becoming a senior radio executive

2004: Takes on present role as head of programmes for BBC 6 Music