An interview with last year’s Mixcloud Online Radio Awards winner Ear Hustle

In case you didn’t know, there are now only four days left to submit nominations for the 2018 Mixcloud Online Radio awards. The deadline is fast approaching! If you love online radio, from cutting-edge music shows to the hottest new Podcast, you can nominate yourself or nominate the shows, stations and radio personalities you love.

Submissions for this year’s awards close on Thursday 26 April. Entry is free and you can submit your nominations at

As part of our new series shinning a light on 2017’s winners, we caught up with Maggie Taylor from Radiotopia, the network behind the critically-acclaimed Podcast, Ear Hustle, which last year took home the Rising Star award for Best Online Talk Show.

An illustration by Antwan William, one of the co-creators behind Ear Hustle
An illustration by Antwan William, one of the co-creators behind Ear Hustle.

Ear Hustle has everything you need from a Podcast: it’s gripping, it’s sincere and it reveals tales from a world we all too often forget about: prison life. It was a very worthy winner in last year’s Mixcloud Online Radio Awards, and we were excited to find out more from Maggie about what the Podcast has been up to.

Tell us a bit about the Ear Hustle Podcast.

Ear Hustle brings you stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it. The Podcast is a partnership between Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and Nigel Poor, a Bay Area artist. The team works in San Quentin’s media lab to produce stories that are sometimes difficult, often funny, and always honest, offering a nuanced view of people living within the American prison system.

What do you love most about Podcasts and online radio?

What I love most about Podcasts is their accessibility – anyone can listen to Podcasts anywhere, and for free.

What most excites you about the future of Podcasts and online radio?

I’m excited to see more Podcasts by up-and-coming producers. Inclusivity and diversity are also important and I want to see more underrepresented voices, like the men of San Quentin.

What’s next for Ear Hustle?

This season, Ear Hustle will have new additions to the production team. Nigel and Earlonne are bringing on Pat Mesiti-Miller, a producer for Snap Judgment, to help them produce Ear Hustle’s second season. Pat is also working with a group of incarcerated men at San Quentin, teaching them about sound engineering and design.

Stories will cover sex trafficking, death row, creativity in prison and father/son relationships, among other topics. The team has also brought on David Jassy, the incarcerated Swedish musician who contributed to sound design during season one when Antwan Williams’ privileges were limited.

The show is also adding a new segment called Count Time, this will be bonus content at the end of the episode that will allow us to share what I like to think of as tidbits of sound, curious pieces of audio that we want you to hear: jokes, recipes, music, very short stories — just a little extra to make you think.

We’re also are trying to go to different parts of San Quentin.

You can follow Ear Hustle on Mixcloud:

Interested in entering this year’s awards? You can also find out more about the Mixcloud Online Radio Awards with our seven reasons you should enter.

An interview with last year’s Mixcloud Online Radio Awards winner DR MYSTERY

Now in its fifth year, the Mixcloud Online Radio Awards is the biggest celebration of online radio in the world. Each year, thousands of you enter the awards – either nominating yourself, or nominating the shows, stations and personalities you love.

Submissions for this year’s awards close on Thursday 26 April. Submit your nominations at

But what does it take to win a Mixcloud Online Radio Award?

To help answer this question, we thought we’d shine a light on some of last year’s winners, showcasing the finest shows and personalities online radio has to offer.

First up in the series is the fascinating DR MYSTERY, aka Natasha Maximova, who last year won our Rising Star award for Best Online Music Show. The UK-based DJ and radio presenter can be found presenting her show ‘Into Continental’ on Reform Radio, a brilliant community-led station in Manchester.

DR MYSTERY is quickly building a reputation as a selector with a keen ear for cutting-edge sounds from all over the world. Tune into an episode of Into Continental and you might hear ambient sounds from Japan, Gqom club tracks from South Africa and more fascinating examples of music you’ll struggle to find on conventional radio shows.

2017 Mixcloud Online Radio Awards winner DR MYSTERY
2017 Mixcloud Online Radio Awards winner DR MYSTERY

We caught up with the mysterious radio star to ask a few questions about her show and to hear her thoughts on the world of online radio:

Tell us a bit about the Into Continental radio show.

‘Into Continental’ is a bi-weekly show exploring unexpected sounds coming from different countries across the world. Every show I choose a particular country and play music only by artists from that country; digging deep into the underground and beyond.

What do you love most about online radio?

With online radio there is more freedom of expression. There are fewer rules. I find these aspects very attractive and I think the content produced by online radio stations is more versatile and caters to all sorts of listeners.

What most excites you about the future of online radio?

Nothing specific. I’m just excited to see what will be the next step in online broadcasting!

Why does something like the Mixcloud Online Radio Awards matter?

The Mixcloud Online Radio Awards are a great way to connect with the world. You find out about so many new DJs and radio shows, and I think it’s a great tool to get your name out there and attract some attention to the art you create.

What’s next for the Into Continental and DR MYSTERY?

Take over the world, ha.

You can follow Dr Mystery on Mixcloud:

Interested in entering this year’s awards? You can also find out more about the Mixcloud Online Radio Awards with our seven reasons you should enter.

Bench DJ comp winner – DJ Dave Crane!

A week last Thursday night, the Bench DJ Competition final took place at the cool NoHo bar in the Northern Quarter of Manchester; this was a night of great music and saw the Bench Parklife DJ Competition winner from this summer, Rob Drake, play a set too.

The final of the Bench DJ Competition, in association with The Warehouse Project, Mixcloud, SAE & Vestax, kicked off on Thursday night at NoHo bar in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

Five finalists battled it out to be crowned winner, each playing a 30 minute set to a packed crowd and judges from the industry, including electro trio The Japanese Popstars, Paul Nolan, Head of Electronic Music Production for SAE, Lee Stone, Promotions Manager for The Warehouse Project, and representatives from Bench.


DJ Dave Crane from Leeds won the phenomenal prize, winning a New Year’s Eve set at Warehouse Project, the chance to play at Bench events next year, a £2,000 course in Electronic Music Production from SAE & £1,000 worth of software and equipment from Vestax.

Dave was clearly thrilled to win, saying: “I’m over the moon! It’s such an amazing feeling to win out of the hundreds of other talented DJ’s from around the world! After all the hard work I’ve put into my music over the years it’s finally paid off. To play alongside my heroes at one of the best parties in the world is a true honour. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and pushed me over the years, hopefully this could be the start to living my dream.”

Not short of experience, Dave has been DJing for over 15 years and plays House, Tech, Techno and Classics. He can be foundon SS Radio every other Monday on his House Mates Show, showcasing guest mixes from DJs like Jonathon Ulysses, MYNC Project, Timo Garcia & Mark Mendes to name a few.

Over his career he has played alongside names such as Carl Cox, 2 Many Djs, Judge Jules and Zombie Nation amongst others, while playing for events like Euphoria, Gatecrasher, 4Clubbers, Life’s Chemistry, Blend & Echo.


Mixcloud asked winner DJ Dave Crane some questions following his success:

How did you first hear about the Bench DJ competition?

I was reading Resident Advisor when I saw the post. This was the first time I heard of Mixcloud too, two good finds in one day, I use Mixcloud all the time now.

What made you want to enter the competition?

I have been entering DJ competitions for years and have won a few too. I entered the Cream DJ Comp a few years ago and got to the finals where the Cassette Jam boys won it. After that competition, not many others really attracted me until I saw the amazing prizes for winning the Mixcloud & Bench one.

How did you go about making your mix, what went into selection choices, what equipment did you use?

I used Pioneer CDJs and equipment to make the mix. I wanted to create a party atmosphere with the mix but keep it sounding fresh and original. I sifted through all my tunes and settled on a few current releases mixed in with some classics from the last couple of years which represent my style. I always feel that an introduction is important when preparing sets like this as you need to stand out from the others. Its hard to make a set flow and progress within half an hour, so I edited the tunes in Ableton to enable me to make the mix flow better and include more tunes. I mixed the set live on 3 CDJs.

How did you promote your mix / entry?

I informed all my friends on Facebook, Myspace and in my group. Emailed friends and family and networked with some of the people on Mixcloud. I also used my House Mates radio show to promote the entry and messaged all the Dance music forums too.

How did you feel when you found out you’d qualified for the finals?

When I got the email from Kayley at Bench I was over the moon! Out of the 100s of talented entries from around the world and all the different genres, I managed to to stand out from the rest! It was an amazing feeling!

What was your strategy for the final, did you prepare / practice in advance?

I practice most days, keeps me out of trouble ;-). I knew I needed a completely new set and so went through similar process as last time but added a few special extras to stand out.

How does it feel now you have won, are you canceling your NYE plans?

Playing one of the best parties in the world on one of the most important nights of the year, it’s amazing, such a great feeling! I was playing at This Way up and Kill the Disco @ Distrikt in Leeds alongside Sebastian Budniak, Adam Daniels, Deacon and a few others. Those guys have kindly let me go play the WHP instead 🙂

Do you have nything else to say, any shout outs?

I would just like to thank all my friends and family for all their support and encouragement – enjoy the music and hopefully I will see some of you soon!

Here is DJ Dave Crane’s winning mix from the Bench DJ Competition Final:

BBE Mixtape Competition Winner!

So we have our mixtape king….

Chris Read

After some careful deliberation, our judging panel have selected DJ Chris Read (Music of Substance) as the BBE mixtape competition winner, with this entry:

Congratulations to Chris for taking this, to the top finalists for making it through and all the DJs who entered.

Here’s what our Judges had to say about the their difficult decisions:

“Chris Read’s mix the best, very well mixed, cut and scratched, plus the choice of music is right up my street.” – Richy Pitch

“for me its down to oddio, chris read…oddio playing alot of my favs, but chris is touching on some hip hop as well…” – Kon from Kon & Amir

Big thanks again to all who took part, to BBE for making it happen and to our competition partners JunoDownload and Whosampled.