Goodbye Zane, Hello Annie; Goodbye Fearne, Hello Clara

A couple of people of note have left BBC Radio One.  Well, others have left too, but from ‘minority’ and specialist interest programming. Whilst acknowledging their departure, the world won’t really notice the loss of these lesser knowns.

Ok, you’re right, the world won’t really notice Zane or Fearne missing from Radio One either, and equally the world won’t notice Zane Lowe in the captain’s chair at the helm of Apple’s Beats 1 Itunes only radio station.

I’ve always liked and enjoyed Zane’s presentation style.  He can speak fast and energise the listener, interplay excitedly with the songs and the music he’s playing, and speak knowledgeably with anybody involved in the making of it.

Whilst on occasions being exhausting to listen to, his week-daily 7pm to 9pm show was a gift. It certainly provided a real connection with the music.  As a ‘radio DJ’ Zane Lowe is a relevant and modern version of the original radio DJ of the 1960s.  Their bubbling enthusiasm wrapped around and darted in and out of the ‘records’ as they played them.  A similar style is used on many of the London pirate stations playing the new strains and genres of music today.

Sadly it is a style that the old fogies of radio hate.  Even more sadly, the old fogies of radio are the old people who rather than do something more useful with their lives like taking up knitting, run radio stations, or radio ‘brands’ as they are now known.  They force radio formats to emulate an iPod, playing song after song, sometimes with a strange constipated sounding voice linking the two, and then muting the ‘radio DJ’ to just making set and safe announcements similar to those heard explaining platform changes at railway stations.

Sigh.

Zane Lowe is a creative making creative radio and will be greatly missed from Radio One, but still listenable to by owners of Apple products who can work out how the heck to ‘stream’ Beats 1 on their devices.  Being Apple, that’s going to be a problem.  Beats 1 enters a world already full of streaming radio stations, and most other streaming radio stations can be tuned into by anybody, not just iSheep. So, unless the future for Beats 1 is more platforms, there’s no point.  Not that the format will be in error, just the inability for anybody normal to find it.

But, off he goes to live the life in Los Angeles and reap the rewards he actually really deserves, replaced by the excellent Annie Mac.  I’m a great Annie Mac fan and she will do the timeslot proud, but move it in a slightly different direction I suspect.

Also new to a timeslot that I think she will do well in is Clara Amfo.

For some reason, 400 years ago it was decreed that the 10am to 1pm slot should be hosted by a female, and that’s what’s happened for a very long time.  Fearne Cotton has held the reins for a long while.  To be honest she gets on my nerves a little and, to my thinking, grew ‘too old’ for the show quite a few years ago.  She’s been a hard one to ‘fire’ being as you can’t fire people when they are off on maternity leave.  However, being pregnant again, she decided to leave of her own accord (or so we are told) in order to pursue other media opportunities after her extended period of being a mum at home.  We’ll see.  I think she’s far more TV than radio these days.

And the mid-morning show’s new host is the lovely Clara Amfo.  I really like her. She sounds alive, up for it, and she twines herself around the music with an infectious enthusiasm that Cotton lost along the way.  I liked Clara when I spotted her in other places, mainly on 1Xtra, and part of her success is that she ‘gets’ radio and the purpose of the ‘radio DJ’.  There are too many people on the radio or running the radio who don’t actually understand radio.  Clara does.  So, I’m really happy about hearing her on the regular ‘Live Lounge’ gig.

And not a moment too soon, the death of the Top 40 show on Sundays could have seen her out of a job!



Categories: Media, Radio

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