Hating BBC Radio 1

Has daytime BBC Radio 1 managed to get rid of all the old people who were listening? I think it has.

It must have been bad having all those cling-ons, some stuck listening to BBC Radio 1 well past their sell-by date because they were Chris Moyles fans. All hanging on because Chris Moyles had grown old with them. Too old. Far too old.

Then the haters of the BBC, especially those Borg running commercial radio stations, sorry, ‘commercial radio brands’, started pointing and saying, “Look! Look! Look! Radio 1’s got listeners over 30 years old. They’re over 30! It’s not fair, they’re stealing our listeners, they should be shut down, they are costing us Billions of Pounds in lost revenue. Slash all the BBC Radio 1 people with large knives and hide their bodies.

So, the BBC had to clean up its act.

Imagine a shoe that’s accidentally stomped in some very clingy squishy dog pooh. See that dog pooh? That’s what Radio 1 listeners over 30 were. And they needed to be cleaned off with disinfectant. Rubbing shoes back and forth in wet grass wouldn’t do it, it needed an actual old screwdriver, running through the ridges in the sole of the shoe.

It’s taken a good 18 months, but to my reckoning, BBC Radio 1 is sounding at its best ever. And young. Don’t forget ‘young’.

It’s always been difficult because BBC Radio 1 has always been two stations. Daytime and Evenings/Overnight. From 4am through to 7pm it’s basically a current chart and new music station with personality-led features and chat in-between the songs. This is the bit the Borg most fear. From 7pm until 4am it’s a range of specialist music-led shows.

To its eternal shame, the commercial radio sector does absolutely nothing to challenge or ‘compete’ with the latter, other than moan. This is why the BBC leads the way in ‘breaking’ new music, and generating actual audiences. The commercial sector used to command reasonable audiences with specialist music shows, but in more recent decades they sacked everybody, preferring to homogenise a single format 24 hours a day.

And when it comes to BBC Radio 1‘s daytime output, this is always miles ahead of the commercial sector. Musically it is adventurous alongside a staple diet of chart and current hits. When was the last time the commercial sector actually ‘broke’ a new act? BBC Radio 1 isn’t shy about doing this in the daytime.

On commercial radio the only time the presenters speak is when they are reading corporate messages or are telegraphing a long block of commercials. (Does anybody know why they do that?) On commercial radio, all voices sound the same or merge into one, not unlike the voices that make announcements at railway stations.

On BBC Radio 1 the presenters are recognisable personalities, regularly available on multi-platforms, including the telly, and they are allowed to be themselves and so they build a listener fanbase alongside the station’s listener fanbase. Despite employing ex-girl band members, ex-boy band members, ex-telly presenters, the commercial sector puts them on the air but sets about silencing them or homogenising them to the quieter and impersonal corporate image.

The commercial sector used to not do this, and used to have personalities on air. They prefer not to do that any more, yet want to moan and complain when the BBC does it and has better audience figures than them. Why?  Surely doing what Radios 1 and 2 are doing isn’t that hard.  It never used to be.

Strange world, the world of radio, innit.