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Foundation FM female-led radio
Frankie Wells, Ami Bennett, and Becky Richardson have founded Foundation FMCourtesy of Foundation FM

A guide to the DJs behind London’s new female-focussed radio station

The fresh faces of Foundation FM tell us what you can expect to hear

Radio needs shaking up. A few years ago, the stats were clear: young people were tuning out, and the gender imbalance on the medium was making it feel archaic. Start-ups like Radar, which launched in 2014, looked to be breathing new life into the landscape, but it became marred by accusations of sexual harassment, racism, homophobia and a toxic working environment back in April. Of course, there’s NTS, Rinse and Reprezent – but while these stations are all-inclusive and youth-focused, there’s none that explicitly focuses on nurturing female talent.

Enter Foundation FM, a female-led station hoping to remix radio for the new gen. We caught up with a handful of the promising line-up on the day of the station’s launch to see what they have in store.

SISTREN

It’s been a big year for Sistren: not only did the podcasting collective climb the ranks of the Dazed 100, they’ve taken up residencies at Transmission Roundhouse, and now Foundation FM. Describing their new show as “Mystic Meg and Sabrina meets Charmed and The Craft”, this new Monday night show is focussed on healing, unlearning toxic behaviours, and decolonising the mind.

“If 20gayteen has taught us anything, it’s that the future is female and we need to find as many ways as we can to connect and come together,” they told Dazed. They’re looking forward to making their new show on a station with a ‘for us, by us’ mentality. “Think of the coven you heard about and wanted to join when you were younger, but were too shook to seek out because everyone said it was evil even though your intuition told you otherwise. Now, imagine that, accompanied by a playlist full of ethereal and otherworldly vibes by womxn and non-binary babes only. That’s the most we’re willing to give, really – we’re not tryna kill the mystery already.”

KAMILLAH ROSE

So many traditional radio formats are dictated by routines young people don’t have any more (especially in London). Who is driving during drive time – who has a car? Similarly, it makes little sense to have a breakfast show you will miss the majority of because you can’t connect during your commute, or you don’t actually wake up at six. Enter the rise of the ‘brunch show’. Foundation FM’s brunch host, Kamillah Rose will be serving bottomless conversations rather than copious amounts of cheap alcohol.

“My aim is to be as responsive as possible to general happenings in the world that can impact our female audience,” she told Dazed. “I want to be able to facilitate discussions, and celebrate and inspire our listeners with not only banging music selections but with guests too.” Rose will combine chat with two mixes weekly, music guides from various publications, talking heads from the industry, and audience interaction via Twitter and Instagram Stories.

THE RECEIPTS

We can only conclude that the Receipts girls are hell-bent on dominating the airwaves with the year they’ve had. This residency on Foundation FM follows shortly after the trio earned their place in the new BBC Sounds channel, as well as continuing their own independent no-filter broadcast online. “We're hoping to be able to incorporate our listeners (via audience interaction) as well as amazing guests and fabulous music you'll be surprised just how eclectic we all are – so don't be surprised if you hear Celine Dion and Skepta on the same show,” they say.

ROSIE LOWE

“Women make up the majority of radio listeners, yet they're still a minority presenting on the airwaves,” explains Rosie Lowe, who will be doing a monthly show on Foundation FM. “It’s amazing to have a safe space to share our passions, knowledge and diversity under one platform.” A musician by trade, Lowe will play her favourite music (“some jazz, some soul, some new, some old”) and talk with other artists to unpick all the real stuff that happens behind the scenes. She adds: “We’ll be talking (about) navigating the industry, inspirations and everything in between. I’m interested in creating a space for the ‘unseen’ people; the people behind the scenes that make it possible for the rest of us to be able to flourish.”

FEMME CULTURE

Continuing their mission to become a cultural hub that champions new talent, riotous collective Femme Culture are bringing their commitment to spotlighting cool women in the industry to the airwaves. Known primarily for their events where they mix thoughtfully curated exhibitions (ranging from photography, film and illustration), with DJ sets, they recently started a new label has uplifted on-the-rise artists. Having built the collective with a DIY ethos, Ludo and Elkka fit in seamlessly with the ‘for us, by us’ culture of Foundation FM.

“There is an always an incredible energy when womxn come together, create, generate ideas,” they tell Dazed. You can expect features like FC Selex, their favourite non-binary and womxn-led music of the month, and Guestmix, which will have residents playing their best sounds or clashing B2B. Bedroom Interviews will see the collective venture into the most private spaces of talent in the arts, politics, science and beyond.

Continuing their mission to become a cultural hub that champions new talent, femme culture are bringing their riotous collective to the airwaves. Known primarily for their events they’re known to mix of thoughtfully curated exhibitions ranging from photography, film and illustration, set against the backdrop of club music, and their new label has uplifted on-the-rise artists. So having built the collective with a DIY ethos, Ludo and Elkka fit in seamlessly with the for us by us culture of Foundation FM. “There is an always an incredible energy when womxn come together, create, generate ideas,” they tell Dazed. You can expect features like FC Selex, their favourite non-binary and womxn led music of the month, and Guestmix which will have residents playing their best sounds or clashing b2b. Then Bedroom Interviews will see the collective venture into the most private spaces of talent in the arts, politics, science and beyond.

JOSS ISM

“My show, titled Doyenne, will aim to highlight creative job roles that young women – although the show is of course, non-exclusive in terms of target audience – might not have known about, or may not have known how to get into,” said Joss ISM. She’s excited to join the ranks of what she calls a “non-judgmental platform” and hopes her show inspires listeners to think outside of the box through the personal stories of her selected guests. “I will bring on a different guest each week, starting with the women who inspire me, such as Minnie Harding at RCA (Formerly Adidas), Izzy and Dee from Bo$y LDN, Daisy Haddigan from Elite Models, Marina Mansour at KYRA, and Becky Tong at Juicebox.”

NATTY KASAMBALA

When she’s not working her day job at Columbia Records, you might have stumbled across Natty’s name from her Dazed, Crack, or Guardian bylines. Following on from her stint presenting gal-dem’s Reprezent radio show, she’ll be looking at the biggest music moments through the cultural lens for Foundation FM. Sort of like when she unpacked the references, and weight of the themes in Childish Gambino’s “This is America”, for example. She told Dazed: “I’ll be doing deep dives into music videos, spotlighting new artists and having chats with my favourite creatives. It’s basically going to be my articles brought to life on air, geeking out about music and visuals new and old with guests ranging from artists, producers and photographers.”

LOTTE ANDERSEN

Lotte Andersen has made a name for herself as someone who knows how to get a party started. Having headed up the now-defunct club night MAXILLA, she’s bringing that same scrapbook-like energy to her new show, Permission. “My work forms an investigation into group work, durational performance, body politics, trauma, euphoria and release,” she says. “The show is an extension of my practice, following on from my last show, How do You Feel About Lying at Tate Modern. A five channel video and sound installation, featuring archival footage of a performance I made last summer named Karaoke party.”

Andersen’s Foundation show will be an amalgamation of audio samples and loops of interviews, music and audio notes and sketches, using her collaboration with Shygirl at Tate as a the start point. Each month Andersen, will invite a guest artist to work with her on these live audio works. The first is London based artist Kamile Ofoeme, who showed alongside Andersen at Flipside this summer. Ofoeme correctly noticed the name of Andersen's artwork was a combination of a Drake and Marvyn Gaye lyrics ( Kiki Is Ok to be in my feelings if I'm never full, 2018). It sounds unlike any other radio show out there at the moment: “I am interested in knitting a narrative out of existing snippets and I will be inviting artists and collaborators to join me in building a live audio network.”

You can listen to Foundation FM here now