Early Breakfast Show presenter Adele Roberts tells DIVA how she went from finding her feet on student airwaves, to woman-ing the UK’s biggest radio station


Adele Roberts’ first experience on the airwaves was at Leeds Student Radio. “I saw LSR’s stall during freshers week. I was a club DJ at the time and really wanted to celebrate house music”.

She asked then station managers Nicki and Imogen if she could do a mix show for them and – thankfully for our ears – they said yes: “I’ll be forever grateful to them for giving me a chance, it started me off on my journey.”

DIVA: What drives you?

ADELE ROBERTS: A passion for music. It’s like a never-ending love affair; a compulsion. I got my first job when I was 10 years old delivering newspapers for 6p per house so I could buy music. As I got older, whatever job I was doing during the day helped me earn what I needed to buy records so that I could try and live my dream by night.

How would you describe an average day at work in five words?

Early, exciting, funny, varied… a blessing.

What’s the best thing about your job? 

Getting to meet new people everyday. No two days are ever the same.

What’s the worst thing about your job? 

I worry too much sometimes but I’m realising that’s because of me, not my job. Also, winter. It’s much harder to operate during the cold and dark months. As the sun goes down, so does my body – I have the body clock of a six-year-old.

Adele Roberts

What’s been the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? 

My confidence. My dad is one of my biggest inspirations; he’s also a builder and works so hard. Sometimes, that makes me feel like a bit of a fraud when, really, I just have a job with a different skill set.

What’s the most ridiculous thing that’s happened to you at work?  

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, popping into Radio 1 to surprise me! They came in to wish me good luck before the 2017 London Marathon which I ran in support of their mental health charity Heads Together. Did it even really happen?!

Has your sexuality, gender identity or race ever been an issue?

I feel so lucky to be able to say that I can’t think of any time where any have been. I’ve seen these issues affect colleagues though and, as I’ve become older, I’ve learned to speak up when I see it happening. I want to be an ally.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Making programmes with my girlfriend, Kate, and being as visible as possible – it’s important to try to be change you wish to see in the world. 

What advice would you give someone pursuing a similar career?

Don’t be disheartened if you hear “no”. It happens to everyone. Rather than taking it as a no, see it as a “not now”. What’s meant for you won’t pass you by.

Who inspires you professionally? 

Anyone who’s authentically themselves. It takes courage.

What one superpower would make your job easier? 

Not having to sleep! Getting up at 2am everyday means I never feel fully awake. 

What’s the best career advice you’ve been given? 

Be yourself. Once you do that, the right doors will open for you.

How do you measure success?

If you’re happy, you’ve made it.

This interview first appeared in the April 2019 issue of DIVA – grab your digital copy right here!

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