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Radio One New Schedule Doing It For Kids

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mark occomore

Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 9955
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: Radio One New Schedule Doing It For Kids Reply with quote

For those of us who grew up with the Golden Hour, Fat Harry White and Confessions, there's both a flutter of excitement and a tinge of apprehension whenever Radio 1 gets a new lick of paint, writes Paul Smith.

In our hearts, the Nation's Favourite - up until about 1997, at least - is still our station, the soundtrack to our hormonal fumblings and illicit sips of Diamond Blush.

Alas, our misspent youths have passed, and in these days of BBC Trusts and public accountability there has to be provision for today's teenagers. And so the evolution of Radio 1 continues from tomorrow, October 12, with schedule changes that - according to last month's press release - "turbo-charge" the station to attract teenage listening.

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt introduces kid-friendly Dick and Dom to Sunday mornings, Kelly Osbourne takes up residence on Sunday evenings and the chart show gets a reboot, with Reggie Yates and Fearne Cotton. Remember when chart presenters lived forever?

"This [schedule] simplifies and strengthens Radio 1 and is an important step in providing programmes focused on the under-18 audience," said Mr Parfitt when the changes were unveiled last month.

Smashing news, because aside from warming the big chair at Yalding House, Mr Parfitt is also the BBC's teen tzar- a role created last year by director general Mark Thompson, with the specific aim of developing content for 12 to 16-year-olds.

So far, so teentastic. Sunny D all round. Well not quite, because headlining these changes is Chris Moyles, who rolls out of bed half an earlier from Monday, to begin the breakfast show at 6.30am.

According to the latest audience research, the average age of a Radio 1 listener at breakfast time is 32. If you're required to attract a teenage audience, why provide more content that appeals to listeners a whole generation older? As a boss of mine once instructed me: "Target the audience you want, not the audience you've got."

Radio 1's official service remit states the station should "reflect the lives and interests of 15-29 year olds but also embrace others who share similar tastes".

So Radio 1 is not just for "young people", but for people who like listening to radio for "young people". Yet Moyles is clearly radio for "old people" - everyone over the age of 29.

There's only one reason to start a successful breakfast show earlier, aside from further ruining the social life of your presenter: to increase the average amount of time a listener spends tuned into it, which in turn increases the station's market share.

If you enjoy Moyles at the moment, then from Monday Mr Parfitt is hoping you'll be tempted to set your alarm clock that little bit earlier. If Lesley Douglas could twist Wogan's arm to be on air at 7am, you can bet your Rajar-diary she would.

Turbo-charged, simplified and strengthened the new schedules may be, but Much More Moyles is less about developing Radio 1's youth audience, and more to do with protecting and growing audience share - in a demographic, as it happens, precious to commercial radio.

So are they really just doing it for the kids?

Guardian Organ Grinder
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