Sepi Roshan is the founder of Astute Radio, a station that gives women from minority groups a voice. She talks to Sound Women about how radio can be a powerful tool and help improve confidence…
Almost 90% of people listen to radio. Yet, the voices of women – and to a larger extent, the voices of women from ethnic minority backgrounds – remains under-represented on air. Despite efforts to increase diversity, many minority women still have a hard time breaking down barriers to entry and succession.
Astute Radio was formed out of a a desire to change the status quo. We started on the 8th March 2013 – International Women’s Day.
The station’s a platform and community where we can express our views and experiences about life in business, work and home. We welcome different views and opinions and provide opportunities for women from ethnic minority backgrounds, the LGBT community and the disabled. Many people ask me, ‘Why radio?’, my response is that it takes the spotlight off a person’s gender, background, disability, sexuality or what they look like – you listen to what people have to say and don’t get distracted by the rest. As a result, our presenters are as diverse as the topics they explore.
Astute Radio is also built on the belief that there are many ways to find your voice in radio, besides presenting. Radio roles such as editing, production, social media, blogging and management are some of the opportunities we provide.
Our team is rich and varied and our ethos is to offer a nurturing, supportive environment to everyone. One of our team has dyslexia and suffers from depression, but we work around that. We have encouraged her creativity and the freedom to express her views to other presenters on how to craft and pull a story together. Her strong passion for Astute Radio’s core values encourages and enables her to come out of her shell and express herself.
We value individual opinions, views and styles. We believe that everyone has something valuable to say – they just need the platform, support and the confidence to say it. Another person in our team says she used to feel like an alien walking the earth: isolated because she couldn’t find anyone who valued or shared her opinions. We provide that understanding, coaching and nurturing to help people build confidence in their truth. Going from a shy person to presenting at conferences has been a benefit for another of our team and proof that when given the chance, people blossom.
Finally, me: a minority woman from a Middle Eastern background, finding her voice by challenging some of society’s expectations set for girls and women – helped along the way by inspiring people of all genders and backgrounds. I know that together, we can build the oasis in the desert, needed by so many women: positive change and the better representation of minority women in radio.
If you want to get involved with Astute Radio email: hello@astute–radio.com