Since graduating from our BA Journalism and English Programme in 2017, Kaya has gone on to become a journalist and producer at the BBC, working on prominent national radio stations such as BBC Radio 1xtra and BBC Asian Network.

Kaya Aftab portrait

Why did you choose to go to university?
I always wanted to learn more and study a subject I really enjoyed. I found this course at Salford and it felt like the perfect fit for me. I also felt that it would better improve my chances of getting a job in the industry and open my eyes on what it would be like.

Why did you pick Salford?
I picked Salford because when I came to visit on the open day, I just felt right at home. I found it insightful on what the course would be like by speaking to the lecturers and visiting the campus. I was obviously completely blown away by Media City. I think being right in the hub of Media City felt like the opportunities would be endless - it just felt exciting.

What made you want to get into the creative industries?
I’ve always been a creative person and I really enjoy that. I just think that there is something extremely satisfying seeing an idea or something you’ve made come to life.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
It would have to be Rob Littlejohn. He was my first editor when I moved to London to work at the BBC. I’d been offered this great opportunity to lead produce a national radio show. I was only 23 at the time and it was a chance for me to show people what I was about. It was daunting, but I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that if Rob didn’t give me a chance. He saw something in me and believed in me even if I didn’t. His support was amazing and really brought out the best in me. He has got to be one of the best editors I’ve worked with, I learnt so much from his leadership and creativity which has stayed with me today.

What’s been your favourite television series/film that you’ve watched in 2023?
This is a tricky one! I can’t really think but I did enjoy this season of ‘Selling Sunset’ on Netflix.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?
I think the work I was doing over the pandemic. Over the course of two years, I went from producing the late-night show, to 1Xtra Breakfast, Asian Network Breakfast, and a news show. It felt really intense working under such confined conditions which were constantly changing but I was really proud of how I handled the breadth of shows and the content. Due to COVID-19, there were limitations – especially when it came to creativity but that also challenged you to think outside the box. It always kept you on your toes which was fun. Through my work over the pandemic, I was awarded the Radio Academy’s 30 under 30 for the class of 2020 and that felt really special given the year we had.

What role do you see yourself doing in five years?
This is hard because I would never have imagined doing the things I am already doing! I would love to be producing and directing some impactful documentaries. I really like storytelling, speaking to people and showing that in a visual way so that would be cool!