It’s the question many loyal listeners of BBC Radio 1 are asking. “Why is everyone leaving Radio 1?”
It follows the news today that long-running presenters Phil Taggart, Huw Stephens and Dev Griffin are all leaving the station at the end of the year.
Their departures follow Mistajam – who chose to leave in order to join Capital – plus Alice Levine, Maya Jama and Cel Spellman who have all left in the last few months.
The departures have all taken place amidst major schedule changes – Radio 1’s three day weekend format was short-lived, with Matt and Mollie again changing slot and Greg James reverting back to a five day week.
If you pay attention to social media, fans are becoming frustrated with what feels like constant changes and have been left asking why it feels like everyone is leaving or changing slot.
There are three main reasons for all the changes:
- New leadership
With a new leader, comes change, and this June Aled Hadyn-Jones became the new Head of Radio 1, replacing longstanding boss Ben Cooper. At the time, Lorna Clarke, BBC Controller Popular Music, said: “Aled has some exciting and ambitious new directions for Radio 1, and we are looking forward to a fresh approach for the station. As the number one network for young audiences across the country, we want to take some risks and really push ourselves to do more across all platforms.” You’re now seeing that fresh approach.
2. Pressure on the BBC
If you pay attention to politics, you’ll know there is mounting pressure on the BBC to deliver value. That means, they have to offer something different to what their commercial competitors are offering, because the public pay for it. It also means that there is growing pressure for them to meet the needs of their target audience, and the age group for that audience is 5-29 year olds. For that reason, presenters who are not proven to be popular with that age group, will inevitably have to leave.
Radio has never been more competitive and you’ll have seen the likes of Capital and KISS quickly evolve and make big bold changes. New breakfast shows, new competitions, new spin-off shows… all of that is much harder for the BBC to do, but in the case of Radio 1, they’ve not got much choice at the moment but to make radical changes, because of that mounting pressure on them.
Radio audience figures are released four times a year, via an organisation from RAJAR – how well all the changes go down will be apparent through these.