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A.Dot: The rise and rise of 1Xtra's record-breaking breakfast host

From BBC - November 8, 2017

A.Dot is having a good year.

In the past month alone, the presenter has launched BBC One's new music show Sounds Like Friday Night, led 1Xtra to its highest ever breakfast show audience, and, perhaps most importantly, purchased some new gardening utensils.

"My proudest moment was when I invested in a leaf-blower," she tells BBC News.

"I take great care of my garden, and I think there are moments in life when you realise you are an adult, and one of those is when you buy your first leaf-blower from Argos."

Well put.

Successful leaf maintenance aside, Dotty (whose real name is Ashley Charles), has every reason to be in a good mood.

Last month's radio listening figures (or Rajars, as they are known in the industry), showed that the 1Xtra breakfast show she fronts now reaches 390,000 people every week - making her the most successful morning host in the station's history.

"The Rajars were great news, it's always an incredible vote of confidence to see statistically, in an industry-recognised metric system, that you are doing well," she says.

"But I think if you allow the praise to define you, then you will ultimately allow the criticism to diminish you.

"So I try not to focus too much on the Rajars. As incredible as the figures have been, I try to just make sure it's business as usual."

The 29-year-old is speaking to BBC News ahead of Thursday evening's Student Radio Awards, which recognise upcoming broadcasting talent.

(Winning best male at the ceremony in 2006 put Greg James on Radio 1's radar and led to a daytime presenting job.)

Dotty says her advice to anyone keen to get into radio presenting "would be to not try and emulate any broadcasters that have come before you".

"I think there are some greats," she says. "Terry Wogan was an incredible broadcaster. Scott Mills, if you ever want to learn how to be absolutely slick on radio, is a great example.

"But I think the most important thing about being a new broadcaster is you can learn from those people that have come before you, but you should always try to find your voice, and work out exactly where you fit in this growing industry."

She goes on: "For me, when I first started on radio, I was not trying to be like any other presenter. I wanted to be the anti-presenter.

"So where your traditional presenter would say, 'was not that a brilliant song', I'd rather be the person that says, 'well, that song is six out of 10' - you know, just be honest. And I thought maybe my thing can be that I am honest, and say what people are thinking."

The formula seems to be working - as her breakfast show has just been extended to four hours, and now starts at 6am.

"When Blue Planet II ended on Sunday, it was bedtime," she says of her new early starts.

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