Before joining the music industry, Lindsay wrote two episodes of BBC TV series ‘Angels’, then a radio play for Capital Radio. He then wrote three plays for the Black Theatre Co-Operative, all performed at Royal Court Theatre Upstairs. Since joining the music industry in 1981, he has worked as journalist at Black Echoes, a radio broadcaster, co-written a black music encyclopaedia, worked at 5 different record labels, created free! magazine (later re-named Touch), and helped radio station Kiss FM earn a legal licence. Whilst working at Kiss (86-94), he presented shows and was Head Of Music between 1990-94. Since 1999, Lindsay has worked at MTV. He was initially employed by MTV to create R&B and hip hop TV station MTV Base, and then went on to launch MTV Hits and MTV Dance in 2001. Lindsay still works at MTV, programming music videos. Lindsay has also self-published a novel (about the music industry) and, in 2012, self-published a ‘stocking filler’ book entitled ‘The Crap Husband’s Guide To A Successful Marriage’. In 2013, Every Generation Media published ‘Masters Of The Airwaves’, written by Lindsay and co-author Dave VJ, which is a history of British black music radio.
Please tell us about typical working day for you?
I wake up at 6.00am, walk to work (6.1 miles) and start work at 8.30. I’ve been walking to work for about four years. I like to finish at 5.00 but, if all my daily tasks are not completed, I work until they are complete. That could be 6.00? 7.00? Or 8.00?
What made you enter this line of work?
I joined MTV in 1999. They wanted to create an urban music TV station and they knew I’d created the music policy at Kiss FM, so I launched MTV Base in 1999. MTV has been an essential part of my life since it launched in 1981, so it was a really honour to start working there.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
My greatest accomplishments in business have been the things I’ve helped to create and launch: free! magazine in 1989 (later re-named Touch), Kiss 100 FM in 1990, MTV Base in 1999, and MTV Hits and MTV Dance in 2001.
What has been your biggest challenge in the business so far?
The perpetual challenge in business is to maintain your market share. I love being No. 1 but I prefer being No. 1 all year long!
What are your future career plans?
My future plans are to maintain and grow the TV channels I work on.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Every experience, even the traumatic ones, have been educational. Every mistake I made taught me a good lesson!
What’s the best compliment you could receive in your line of work?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I love it when people copy me. I’m a creative person and some people in the creative industries are not, so they are always reliant on ideas people like me!
It is VITAL to educate and inspire the next generation; important to give them good habits and principles. Whether they listen is down to them! Kids always think they know it all!
Lindsay delivering a talk & educating the 2inspire Academy: Young, Gifted & Talented Group
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
I would always advise anyone to know what they’re talking about. Knowledge is power. Serious people only want to deal with serious people. A business expert can spot a phony a mile off!
What or who inspires you in business and why?
I’m always inspired by people who believe 200% in what they’re doing and have the drive and determination to see it through. Lots of people have dreams and make plans and talk about doing things but never make them happen, let alone see them through! Success takes courage and mental strength.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
My favourite quote is something I always say in my talks and lectures: “Be nice!” Good manners and a cheerful disposition go a long way. Good people would rather deal with good people. If you can converse and find common ground with someone, you can create a business relationship and maybe even a friendship?
You can catch Lindsay on his weekly radio show on www.mi-soul.com (and DAB all over London), ‘The A-Z Of Mi-Soul Music’ (Saturdays 1.00pm.)