BLOG: BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra Controller Ben Cooper explained to a packed room his strategy: to reach younger listeners.
Firstly he talked about the problem BBC Radio 1 faces in reducing their average age – an instruction from the BBC’s regulator, the BBC Trust. A big issue is “trendy adults” – those older audiences who enjoy what Radio 1 does and don’t want to stop listening.
Schedule changes have meant replacing heritage Breakfast and Drive presenters as well as recruiting new talent for the Evenings and Weekends. Musically, Radio 1 have moved away from playing some older artists (e.g. Robbie Williams) and they’ve concentrated on creating landmark events, such as Hackney Weekend and the Teen Awards, both of which seem to politely suggest to older audiences that this station may not be for them anymore.
The on-air teams all have programme briefs and performance boards, so they can keep in mind what they’re supposed to be doing, but also to measure the effect that this has had – both from RAJAR audience figures, but also from retweets, video views and Facebook interaction.
As a public service broadcaster, Ben Cooper thinks the BBC’s current mission isn’t that different from the mission 70 years ago. At Radio 1 they Inform (about new music), Educate (through social action) and Entertain (with entertaining presenters).