The radio DJ and TV presenter opens up about making it in the industry in celebration of his VERO takeover.
Over the past week, new gen radio star, presenter and social media personality Jack Saunders — known for his dynamic music taste and larger-than-life personality — has been taking over our VERO account with music picks, TV recommendations and everything else you need to get through the last stretch of lockdown.
Now that his takeover is coming to an end, Jack called us up for a wide-ranging chat about his entry into the industry, the new musicians he’s got an eye on and where he’s ended once lockdown lifts.
Have you always been interested in radio? Are there any radio legends you grew up listening to?
Yes, ever since I was like 13. The fact I could play music and entertain for a job blew my mind. I grew into music broadcasting as I went to university, devoting any listening time to Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and pretty much any specialist music output the BBC had from classical to metal. I wanted to be an expert in it all.
Who are some of the bands who have shaped you?
Arctic Monkeys are my favourite band of all time. Alex Turner’s lyricism was like he was reading my mind at times. Eminem will always be a hip-hop GOAT for me. The emo-rap we are experiencing now, lyrically Eminem was doing at points on Marshall Mathers. Mark Ronson’s approach to pop music warped my understanding of how to make a banger.
How did you first get started on radio?
Student Radio. I was part of Nottingham Trent’s station Fly FM. There, I worked out exactly the kind of broadcaster I wanted to be. It had amazing connections with Radio 1 and commercial radio that I got to meet so many producers and bosses, a few of whom I can credit in guiding me to where I am now. It was integral to my journey.
Do you have any advice to people who’d like to follow in your footsteps?
Work hard, be innovative in your style and thinking, listen to feedback, work on your flaws and always be nice.
What was it like also switching to TV work as a presenter? What was the learning curve like?
A little, but I think working in radio first made it easier as you only have your voice to paint the picture in radio. Moving to TV has allowed me to blossom even more as a presenter though. The MTV Rocks Chart is the ten best alt tracks of the week and me dressing up doing skits and bringing mad ideas to life. It’s a different kind of release.
As somebody within the industry, what are your thoughts on the Me Too movement within rock?
Absolutely necessary. Too many talented women trying to launch careers are being taken advantage of. Forget the music, that’s not right in any circumstance. There is no room for predatory abuse in the music industry. The faster it’s out the better.
Definitely. Switching gears now, are there any musical up-and-comers you’re excited by?
Do you have a musical guilty pleasure?
Guilty pleasures do not exist for me. I’ll get wild to Cardi B just as much as I’ll muso out to Radiohead.
You’re well known among your fans for your Call of Duty finesse. What attracts you to gaming?
“Finesse,” I’ll take that. I don’t think they are. The gaming industry is bigger than the film industry. That should really tell you the potential it has as a medium. Add streaming into that and there is a chance for someone like me to utilise it as another way to connect with my audience. It’s what I’m doing at the moment with [my segment] Feedback Friday and my Call Of Duty: Warzone tournaments. They say you should never mix work with pleasure but on this occasion, I think it’s ok!
What are your film and book recommendations to help get through lockdown?
I don’t really read books or watch films, but I have been binging Below Deck on Amazon Prime. It’s like Made In Chelsea on a Yacht.
Where will you be going once you’re fully vaccinated?
Where is anyone else going other than the pub?!
Finally, what’s next for you?
Difficult to say right now. Things are still up in the air, but as soon as we get the okay my club night Hopscotch will be coming back for a big post-lockdown launch party!
VERO is an authentic social network — no ads, no algorithms, just great content. Go to vero.co to sign up and follow @hungermagazine for more exclusive content and to catch Jack’s music takeover, which runs until 5 March.
5 March 2021