| 01 Jun 2023
RJ Gabby Sanderson: "I don't like commercial stuff in the UK charts"

The International Radio Festival (IRF) plays host to a number of voices from across the globe on a single platform. Being associated with the fest for two years and one of the main speakers for its third edition is a woman who juggles several hats. DJ, TV presenter, producer, music journalist and a radio jockey (RJ) Gabby Sanderson will be broadcasting the morning show at Zurich this year.

Currently working as a radio jock for RTE 2XM in Ireland, Sanderson also writes for a leading music magazine ‘Hotpress’ in the country. Her achievements include creating one-of-a-kind radio show ‘Ibiza Rocks’ which garnered over 100,000 listeners and her podcasts being downloaded around 500 times daily.

In a casual exchange with’s Chandni Mathur, Sanderson narrates her experience of being associated with the IRF and also updates her on various roles in the radio and music business.


How does it feel on being associated with the fest for two years?

I got involved with the fest last year and that’s when I created the show ‘Ibiza Rocks’ for radio. It’s a very lively show which brought live music back to Ireland. I broadcasted the show last year at the fest. This year, they did the pop-up edition for the Olympics in London where we broadcasted Swiss and British urban sounds and had renowned bands, DJs, celebrities and athletes on the show. It was an amazing experience and it feels great to be a part of the family again.

What would you like to say about IRF being such a huge platform for radio worldwide?

This festival reminds people how important radio really is. Everybody listens to music, no matter what kind of genre or style. Music can totally change your mood. And I have noticed that the people who work for radio are really passionate about music. The exciting part is that here everybody wants to share their knowledge about music and show what their side of the world is listening to which is enriching. I have learnt a lot by interacting with people from different nations.

Which show are you airing in IRF?

My show is ‘The XClusive’ which I do for the BBC in Ireland, for the station RTE 2XM. The show features genres like alternative, nu metal, elecro, rock n roll, indie and more. The music is encompassed with interviews and live session recordings of various bands. Apart from that, I will also host the breakfast show and make an announcement every two hours so it’s going to be very hectic. But it’s amazing to meet people from across the world who share the same passion.

You have been  a DJ, music journalist, TV presenter and RJ. How do you manage all the roles?

I write for a fortnightly music magazine in Ireland called ‘Hotpress’ which is the number one magazine there. I write something called ‘I’m with the band’ which is basically about interviewing various bands and their latest on the music front. Basically, I merge my work with the other roles I play. So, if I am doing an interview with a band for my radio show, I also write about it. Similarly when I was doing the IRF in London, I wrote columns because I had bands on my show everyday. I have always merged my work as it’s all under the big umbrella of music and it’s nice to be able to express yourself in different ways.

I have also done TV where I did a music show for Channel 4 in UK. The show was about bands taking us through their journey to fame, childhood and inspiration. But right now, its radio that I really want to focus upon.

What kind of programs do you host on radio?

When I did ‘Ibiza Rocks’, it comprised of Indie and rock n roll music and we were the only radio station that played that kind of music in the country. And the show that I do in Ireland for BBC is called ‘The XClusive’ so we debut a lot of new tracks from a mix of genres ranging from electro, indie, dubstep and more.

As a RJ what kind of listeners do you get? How do you engage them?

I try to make sure that when I talk to my listeners it’s like I’m talking to a friend and I try to play some audio behind to make it sound casual. I have to be conscious that my voice should be audible and understood. I also try to create a sense of excitement around the band or artiste whose track I’m going to play.

According to you where has radio reached today?

Now with the power of technology, I think radio is now everywhere. You have apps on your phone through which you can access radio easily which was not so before. It is a very powerful and strong medium and with technology and social media it has increased its reach.

What are your views on the music scenario across the globe today?

I think there are not enough bands coming through at the moment and it’s a shame because earlier the bands were dominant, the charts were raging with their tracks which cannot be seen as much now. I don’t like the commercial stuff that plays in the UK charts which comprises of only dance feel, because there is no soul and no lyrics which is very unfortunate. I really want bands to come around again and rule the charts.

Do you have to take conscious efforts to be updated on the latest trends in music?

It does take some effort but it’s a pleasure to do it. I do try and listen to a lot of other radio shows as well to educate myself. There is always new music out there and you have to be aware on what’s new and latest. Sometimes bands too send me their latest tracks so that’s a great way to be updated. And I would not want to do it any other way.

What is the kind of music that you like?

I like a mix of music. Infact mixing music and sudden switching excites me, like suddenly switching over from a hip-hop to a Beatles number and going back to a dance track.