Changes at Radio 1

21 Sep

Fascinating changes at Radio 1 as Station Controller Andy Parfitt brings in yet another raft of changes. Parfitt’s strategy is partly to bring in more and more new faces and young blood, but the most amazing changes is less about who’s in and who’s out and more about the changes to the programming.


Radio 1’s previous reputation for delivering new music, more music ,and more new music is now turning into more programming, new programming and more new programming. Items like documentaries, investigations, reports, news and even pseudo gameshows are suddenly cropping up all over the evening schedules. One show in particular even has what seems like a version of Desert Island Disks but reskinned for the Radio 1 late noughties…….the mind boggles.


So why are they doing all of this? Well Radio 1’s remit is to reach 15-29 year olds but recent research has shown that their median age of listener is now up to 33…OUCH!, So they need to freshen up, get younger and get with it – before the young things all get with someone else!


Will it work? Only time will tell but you can be sure that the Radio 1 Controller and his team will be watching the audience ratings and the average ages like hawks when the next RAJAR results come out in about a months time. If their actions prove to be a success, you can be sure that this summer’s and autumn’s bloodletting (Jo Whiley, Edith Bowman, Steve Lamacq et al) will be a mere precursor to the fun and games ahead.


I was privileged enough to be interviewed by a BBC News team on Thursday morning about the changes at Radio 1. The piece screens on BBC News, other BBC channels and will be on the website from this weekend. It’s a fascinating time in the radio industry and as ever your Radio Experts are on hand to navigate you through.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio agency. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk

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