Skip to main content
Kriss Herbert-Noble standing at a presenting desk in the Gaydio studio

'We will always represent the entire LGBTQ+ community': Interview with Gaydio's Kriss Herbert-Noble

To commemorate Pride Month, Sky HISTORY spoke to Kriss Herbert-Noble, the Network Content Director at Gaydio.

Image: Kriss Herbert-Noble

As the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ radio station, Gaydio has played an important role in the lives of the LGBTQ+ community and has soundtracked many important moments in the quest for equality.

From its very first limited broadcast in 2006 to its presence at events across the country in 2024, Gaydio has supported Pride events of all sizes over the last 18 years.

In the following interview, Kriss tells us all about the origins of Gaydio, the amazing individuals who helped build it up and how the station works to represent everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

How did the idea of Gaydio originally come about?

A lot has changed since the birth of Gaydio just under 18 years ago. It’s interesting to think back to it officially starting in June, despite Pride Month not really being a thing then. At the time, presenters weren’t able to be themselves on the radio. But on Gaydio presenters could talk about their boyfriends, girlfriends and going out to the local gay club.

Ian Wallace is one of the founders and he’s probably best placed to explain the idea: ‘Gaydio came about from a desire to support the Manchester Pride festival back in 2006. I met with my, to be, business partner, Toby Whitehouse and we came up with the idea of extending the reach of the festival by launching the UK's first FM radio station for LGBTQ+ people. This would not only reach out to people across the city at a time when there was a buzz-in-the-air, but it'd offer a platform for individuals, community groups and organisations.

‘At the time, the media landscape felt very different and our community just wasn't as visible as they are today. A core principle we adopted from the start is that Gaydio should reflect the culture of our community but be professional and credible to stand tall among a radio dial packed with many other services. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of support from the community, but in August 2006 Gaydio (V1) was born with our very first 28-day radio service.’

How is Gaydio different to other radio stations and why is it so important to have a radio station dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community?

A photograph of a person holding pride flags at London Pride in 2022
Image Credit: JessicaGirvan / | Above: A photograph of a person holding pride flags at London Pride in 2022

‘Cus it’s fabulous! We represent our community. People might argue why do we need an LGBTQ+ radio station, but the interests of our community, the entertainment we watch, or having that familiar tone of voice is what makes us different.

It’s not all about the fun stuff though. We talk about struggles that LGBTQ+ people might have, like fostering, adopting and dating. So, it’s not just Kylie (though of course we play her), it’s talking about the important things. We recently helped raise money for Terrence Higgins Trust for our World AIDS Day output and to help stop new diagnoses of HIV from 2030.

Travel is a big thing for us as well. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community, you can’t just go on holiday anywhere because it’s still illegal to be gay in 64 countries, and in many of the countries where it’s not illegal LGBTQ+ people still face prejudice.

Above all, you go to the pub with your mates because you get on with them, you share similar interests, you talk about the things that you enjoy, and that is what we do here at Gaydio. From the music we play to what we say, it’s all about being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The station launched full-time in 2010. What are your memories of that launch?

A photograph of the Gaydio website from 2011 promoting Nicksy's [Simon Nicks] award-winning daily radio show
Image Credit: Gaydio / | Above: A photograph of the Gaydio website from 2011 promoting Nicksy's [Simon Nicks] award-winning daily radio show

I wasn’t around, but I was back home in Gloucester and recall listening to the live launch from Manchester. Nicksy [Simon Nicks] launched Gaydio full time and I will forever hear the words, ‘The station launches… Now!’ Nicksy was a big name in Manchester at the time [during his on air career, Nicksy worked on a wide range of stations around the world including Atlantic 252, Key 103, Galaxy, Heart, Wire FM, Rock FM, Metro Radio, TFM, City Talk, Hallam FM, NRJ Lebanon, the UTV Network, Energy FM and Star Radio Cambridge] and he was keen to come on as he could be his true authentic self on air. That’s all we’re trying to do, help everyone live as their true authentic selves.

We always covered Manchester Pride, from the parades to stages, and ALWAYS the HIV vigil in Sackville Gardens. The way we cover these has changed. I have memories of Emma Goswell holding up a portable FM radio to her ear and reporting back to the studio via a Nokia phone! We’re a bit more tech-savvy now.

Gaydio is now available in many cities on DAB alongside on FM in Manchester and Brighton. How has the station grown with this broadcast expansion?

We launched full-time in June 2010, but previously we always popped up around Manchester Pride, because we were Manchester-based and focused. In 2013 we had the opportunity to take over some licenses previously held by QSoft, which broadcast Gaydar Radio. That turned Gaydio from a Manchester-focused station to one that included London and Brighton as well.

Manchester remains at the heart of what we do, but now we position ourselves as ‘The UK’s LGBTQ+ Station’ and broadcast to 12 cities on digital radio, as well as everywhere online. That means we focus on Prides up and down the country. From the smaller grassroots ones, which are so important to the community, to the larger ones in London, Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester.

Gaydio also runs an academy that provides the community with a variety of education and training courses. How important to Gaydio is giving back to the community?

A photograph of the Gaydio radio studios
Image Credit: Gaydio / Gaydio Academy | Above: A photograph of the Gaydio radio studios

Gaydio is a not-for-profit organisation, which means every penny that comes into Gaydio via grants or advertisements goes on the station. That includes our outreach programme, The Gaydio Academy. This is the umbrella for either our volunteers that come on board longer term, or for a smaller collection of courses.

We are proud to have volunteers who gain real-life hands-on experience at Gaydio. Many of our volunteers have gone on to get work in the industry for the likes of BBC Radio 1, Capital and Hits Radio. Our smaller courses support the community through the provision of confidence-building, skills-based education and training. We get plenty of praise from people who take part and have built confidence which has enabled them to go on to employment.

More info for the Gaydio Academy can be found here.

How important is it for Gaydio to represent the whole LGBTQ+ community, as well as people of all ages?

Even though our music policy is upbeat and feel good, with a mix of current dance and pop, we still play throwbacks. Gaydio will always represent the entire LGBTQ+ community and our presenters do just that. We’re also the only breakfast show to have a trans person hosting in the UK!

We know not everyone is a raving scene queen, some people (like me) like quieter times as well and we represent that. Our presenters range from 18-year-olds who are doing their first ever bit of radio, to people who are older and much more experienced.

At this point, I’d love to give a nod to those experienced team members who are no longer with us, Nicksy, Simon Peel, Brian Day and Jeff Graham.

How can people listen to Gaydio?

Gaydio is the UK’s LGBTQ+ Station. You can get us on FM radio in Greater Manchester on 88.4 FM and Brighton on 97.8 FM. We’re available on DAB radio across Greater London, DAB+ in Manchester, Brighton, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Portsmouth.

Download the Gaydio app or ask your smart speaker to ‘Play Gaydio’.