Sonita Alleyne OBE, FRSA (born 1968, Bridgetown, Barbados) is the co-founder and former CEO of Somethin’ Else, one of Britain's leading cross-platform media production companies. Alleyne is a member of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Biography and career
Alleyne was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, and brought up in Leytonstone, East London. Having attended Leyton Senior High School for Girls, she matriculated at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1985. While an undergraduate, she helped organise the college Spring Ball and sang in a jazz band with Henry Gee, later a Senior Editor of Nature. In 1988, she graduated with a BA in Philosophy and began working as a financial adviser for Royal Life. A year later she joined Jazz FM's publicity department and, in her two years at the station, proceeded to become a trainee producer.
After being made redundant in 1991, Alleyne set up Somethin' Else, a music publicity business (named after the landmark jazz album by Cannonball Adderley), with former colleagues Jez Nelson and Chris Philips. The company quickly expanded and began producing original content for the BBC and commercial radio. As CEO, Alleyne led many projects herself, including the development of Radio Music Shop, the world's first retail radio station. By 2008, Somethin’ Else was, according to The Independent, ‘the biggest syndicator of radio programmes in the UK, outside of the BBC, distributing shows to more than 200 radio stations in 65 countries’.
In October 2009, Alleyne stepped down as Chief Executive and took on the role of Non-Executive Director. Fellow co-founder Jez Nelson succeeded her as CEO.
Since 2008, Alleyne has chaired both the national arts charity Sound and Music and the Radio Sector Skills Council. She is also a member of the Court of Governors at the University of the Arts London, a Non-Executive Director of the British Board of Film Classification and a trustee of the Islington Arts and Media Trust. She sits on the UK Culture Committee for UNESCO and contributes to the Government Department of Work and Pensions as a member of the London Skills and Employment Board and the National Employment Panel. In the past, she has been a judge for the Precious Awards, which celebrate the entrepreneurial achievements of black women, and the Sony Awards, which are among the most prestigious awards in the British radio industry.
In July 2012 the Government announced that Alleyne would join the BBC Trust, the governing body of the Corporation.
Awards and recognition
In 2000, Alleyne received the Award of Excellence from the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners. In 2002, she won the Carlton Multicultural Achievement Award for TV and Radio. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and the Radio Academy. In 2003, she was awarded the OBE for services to broadcasting.
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- "Governors Who's Who: Sonita Alleyne OBE". University of the Arts London. 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
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- BBC Trust (11 July 2012). "Aideen McGinley appointed BBC Trustee for Northern Ireland and Sonita Alleyne appointed BBC Trustee". Retrieved 23 December 2012.