Faron McKenzie (UK) // BBC 1Xtra
Faron McKenzie was appointed Head of BBC 1Xtra in August 2020. He is responsible for the strategic direction and growth of the BBC’s national radio network dedicated to amplifying Black music and culture. Faron is a youth audience specialist with over 20 years’ experience in the creative and entertainment industries protecting, promoting and developing brands through a combination of strategic business consulting, talent development, and digital marketing.
As BBC 1Xtra’s Head of Station, Faron has overseen the station’s first ever partnership with Children in Need, launching a £10 million fund over 10 years to support and benefit Black children and young people in the UK. He has lead 1Xtra’s first ever broadcast partnership with Wireless Festival – bringing culturally relevant and exclusive content to audiences across BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer. And under his leadership, BBC 1Xtra launched the UK’s first ever Official Afrobeat Charts Show in partnership with The Official Charts Company. In 2022, Faron oversaw important station wins such as Best Station Sound and Best Specialist Music Show at the ARIAS, as well as Best Radio Station at the Urban Music Awards. Already in 2023, BBC 1Xtra held the title of Best Radio Station at the Urban Music Awards, and won GOLD for Best Station Sound and GOLD for Best Music Breakfast Show at the 2023 ARIAS.
Before being appointed Head of Station, Faron spent two years transforming BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and the Asian Network’s marketing strategy. He was the pioneering force behind the hugely successful and first-ever paid strategic partnership with GRM Daily and LinkUp TV for BBC Three’s The Rap Game series and in July 2020 he lead the development and execution of the BBC’s first ever Creative Diversity Xperience (CDX). As part of this work, Faron worked alongside June Sarpong (BBC Director of Creative Diversity), to bring together iconic stars, cultural disrupters and influencers for a two day virtual festival aimed at showcasing and celebrating the vibrancy, innovation and leadership of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic talent in the creative industry.
Directly prior to joining the BBC, Faron was the Managing Director of Youth Marketing agency DISRUPT, delivering brand, digital and influencer marketing strategies for multinational organisations and global brands such as; Thomas Cook, Absolute Vodka, and House of Marley. Outside his formal responsibilities, Faron has made a dedicated effort to support, develop and nurture a next generation of executives in the creative community. He is committed to ensuring there is diversity of thought where decisions are being made which impact diverse communities across the UK.