Annie Nightingale Launches Sound Women’s First Event

The first ever Sound Woman event was the hottest ticket in town, as women from all corners of the radio industry gathered to hear journalist and radio critic Miranda Sawyer in conversation with BBC Radio 1′s first female DJ – the legendary Annie Nightingale MBE.

The event was a chance for all our members to get together and celebrate the successful launch of Sound Women. So at the very grand University Women’s Club in London’s Mayfair (because we’re worth it), and over wine and sandwiches (thank you BauerMedia), around ninety women met, talked about radio, and raised a glass to the industry they love.

In the library, Sound Women founder Maria Williams welcomed everyone:

Sound Women wants equality for all women in audio. You might be just starting out, or in the middle of a rich and varied career. Whether you’re the next Director General, a presenter on Roundhouse Radio, or leading the Capital Newsroom, Sound Women is for you.

We felt honoured to have Annie Nightingale with us on the night. Annie talked to Miranda Sawyer about her extraordinary career, and revealed how she persuaded the all-male bosses of Radio 1 to give her a radio show in 1970. We heard clips of her starting out, including one where she explained why she preferred broadcasting on radio to playing in a club “because people don’t throw things at you”.

You can listen to her speech in full here:

Annie is a true pioneer for all women in radio. She revealed how surprised she was, when after opening the door at Radio 1, it took another 12 years for the next female DJ to come along, and talked very openly about the ups and downs in her career. We heard about her mugging in Havana, to knowing that “the tap on the shoulder” could come at any time, and her proudest moment collecting the Sony Award for Special Achievement in 2011.

In the audience Q&A the Queen of Breaks demonstrated her passion for music, wicked sense of humour and good sense. She advised one young broadcaster starting out to “be yourself, be the person you would want to work with” but was also astounded that 40 years on, women are still asking for advice on how to succeed in the industry.

We thank Annie for coming to talk to us on a cold January evening, and for the time she spent afterwards talking to people individually.

The night ended with a Fi Glover raffle spectacular!  1Xtra DJ Gemma Cairney won a digital radio, Radio 4 presenter Jane Garvey gave away a visit to the historic Woman’s Hour studios, and 6 Music’s Nemone drew the winner of backstage passes to see Jamie Cullum at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, and a Green and Blacks chocolate hamper.

We’re determined to do this again soon, and to set up events all over the country. If you’d like to help us please get involved by email.

Special thanks to Folded Wing for their behind-the-scenes podcast of the event which you can listen to here:

Drinks and sandwiches sponsored by Bauer Media.

[slideshow]