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hit and miss,

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07.03.2011

Advantages:
Great for introducing the public to new artists and music

Disadvantages:
bland, dumbed down, daytime playlist and content, tries too hard to be with it

Detailed rating:

Quality of reception

Quality of programming

Range of programming

How good are the presenters?

Quality of information

23 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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Radio killed the radio star

If it isn't broke don't fix it. Unfortunately this is one piece of advice that the bosses of Radio 1 either have never heard of, or ignore completely.
When Radio 1 is good, then its excellent to listen to, but when it's bad, it leaves you searching around frantically for another radio station, or something else to listen to as it just becomes annoying very very quickly.
This mainly is down to the DJ who is on at the time, but the DJs themselves seem to have a very questionable selection process. In the past has been good at times, but at others, like at this current time, is dire.
Trying too hard to be cool, and trendy, it falls into the trap of constant repeats, especially of the dreaded "playlist", which for a non commercial station is pointless.
It also tends to blow its own trumpet far too much, especially around festival season. (listeners could be forgiven for thinking that Radio 1 invented Glastonbury, rather than just being a Radio station that broadcasts some of the music from there).
Coupled with DJs that believe their own hype, take themselves too seriously at times, and some have no real background in the music industry at all.

Main DJs

Some of the main DJs who seem to stick out on Radio 1:

Chris Moyles (the Chris Moyles show)
Love him or hate him, Chris, like Jeremy Clarkson with Top Gear, is still the main name everyone links with Radio 1. Although since I began working night shifts, it's not as often as I would like to be able to listen to his show. Covering the big draw, the breakfast slot, Chris and his team. (including Comedy Dave, Aled Haydn Jones and Dominic Byrne) are more or less unique among the rest of the Radio 1 shows.
Although, like a few people, I feel that Chris would not be as popular as he is without his team to support him, especially with the excellent observations from Dave.
Chris, if you have read his biography, can trace his interest in radio back to when he was a young boy, taken to a recording studio by his Dad, and felt there and then that it was for him. (Even though his parents may not have wanted him to follow that path).
He worked up through various DJ jobs, including being an in store DJ in a clothing chain, to, what he would class as lesser stations. before being offered a job with Radio 1, and then promotion, to what he feels is his dream, presenting the breakfast show.
Chris is irreverant, cheeky, sexist at times, can be offensive and definately plays the Lad. but the format works, and is one of the main reasons for the number of listeners to the station. Not afraid of speaking his mind, especially if he doesn't like something (sometimes to the embarresment of the shows producer, or the bosses of the station). He is aware, given the stations past, that things won't be like this forever. Sooner or later he will be off the breakfast show, for whatever reason, and someone will be there to replace him. While he's there though, he's enjoying the ride, and taking a great number of fans along with him
Main criticism of Chris?
He's a bully, although he would deny this, and has said a few times on the show that if you think that, then you don't understand the joke. That is a poor excuse for what is, at rare times, nothing more than simple bullying behaviour. Everyone in the team falls foui of this, none more than Aled, who even says himself is not a victim of bullying - but even though I have a great respect for Aled, I feel there is more behind this then any member of the show lets on. You could take this right back to school, and if the "leader" of your clique makes fun of you, no matter how much it hurts, then you accept it, because you don't want to make a fuss, and run the risk of bringing further ridicule on yourself. I've seen it time and time again when observing how people react to these sort of situations, and I know that it takes a special kind of person to actually stand up and say "Hey, a joke's a joke, but you are going too far with this".
Whether its a joke or not, and whether Chris is like this away from the studio, is besides the point - its what is heard over the air, and when the main target audience being young, its the sort of behaviour they will accept as the norm. (probably not understanding the "joke" behind the bullying anyway).

Fearne Cotton:

What to say about Fearne? Well quite a bit really, which is suprising because she is bland. There's no denying that she is a very attractive woman, but underneath the skin is just chattering essex girl with nothing really interesting to say.
Having no real firm opinion of her own it seems, she wants to seem so cool and be friends with everyone. But what is her background exactly? I'm not sure, but the earliest sighting of her I can remember is from Fingertips, a childrens television art type programme with co host Stephen Mulherne.
How Fearne has seemed to manage her meteoric rise through the ranks of tv and radio broadcasting is beyond me, as she just seems to remind me of the bland Anthea Turner. Fearne took over from Jo Whiley, Jo herself could be a little dull at times, but she at least did know what she was talking about, and seemed to put the background work in for her show - Chris Moyles however seemed to get Jo to come out of her shell somewhat with his flirty banter on handover - something that doesn't seem the same with Fearne. (Jo can still be heard flitting between Radio 1 and Radio 2).
Even the Live Lounge set, carried on from Jo. has lost it's edge, whether the performing artists just don't have the same enthusiasm for it anymore, or the acts themselves don't have the appeal (Jo used to get some cracking acts on this slot). There may be many factors, but the whole show now Fearne is presenting has lost the edge it had.
Whoever is holding Fearne aloft however, has some pretty sharp teeth as nobody outside the BBC seems to dare say anything bad about her. The only one of any note was T4 presenter Maquita Oliver, who used to host the early breakfast show before Chris. On remarking that the best way to save Top of The Pops would be to "get rid of the devil woman that is Fearne Cotton" (something I agreed with), it wasn't long after that Maquita Oliver found herself out on her backside - pity, as she was a far better DJ than Fearne is.

Greg James:
Greg, although he takes a main daytime slot on the schedule, seems to be another strange choice. However he does seem to have a little more about him than Fearne. His run through the alphabet, where he quickfires the public over the telephone to name various theme items to each letter of the alphabet, can create some laugh out loud, or cringeworthy answers - seems a silly and simple idea, but actually works. Along with the feature of inviting a group of friends from the general public to be in the studio with him is a nice touch.
Greg seems to have one hand tied behind his back with the dreaded playlist though - and also with his timeslot, is either unable or unwilling to say or do anything that could cause offense.
Probably ending up, most people when asked how they like Greg would (maybe after asking WHO?) - wrinkle their face up, hmmmmmmmm for a few moments before saying " . . yeah he's ok. I suppose".
Like a bag of Cheese and Onion crisps then, nothing really spectacular, but most people could eat them.

Scott Mills:
Camper than a muddy field at a music festival, Scott seems to be the other main draw to compliment Moyles earlier in the day. Although Scott's show lost quite a lot with the departure of sports reporter Mark "Chappers" Chapman. Actually, before he left, I would have said I wasn't really that keen on Chappers, as he would go on far too long about football (I hate football) and seemed to be mostly a grumpy git, the hole he left after his sudden departure made it suprisingly clear just how the show did need hm. With Scott's camp bubblyness being brought a bit nearer to earth with the stoical Chappers.
Scott is at his best when he isn't seeming to worry about what people think of him. and when he is this way, at his most self critical, and when bringing the whole world down with him then he can be more cutting than Moyles, sadly though, this isn't often enough, and more often (especially after the depature of Chappers) he seems to sneer and poke fun at other people. This gives a feel of a trashy gossip magazine (you know the ones). This, in turn, leads you to feel that he is just jumping on a bandwagon (again like those magazines) and not realy doing the research and legwork for interesting information and features himself. (or his team either for that matter).
One feature which can be hit or miss on Scotts show being "Oh. whats occuring" which sometmes pits members of the public against those in the studio to guess the outcome of various questions.
"How many times do you think Peter Beardsley said "Yeahh Well Ya know" in a two minute interview?"
or the visit to Stupid Street, some thoroughfare in London where hapless members of the public are jumped upon by a roving reporter and given such an ambiguous question that the majority of people probably wouldn't be able to give any answer at all.
Scott's show still seems plagued by the dreaded playlist, but it has been known, on rare occasion, for him to slag a song off. (Although even here it seems more to do with the general concensus and not really his own opinion).

Zane Lowe
Drafted in from New Zealand, to take over the late John Peel slot, Zane, it has to be said, has done a decent job here. Zane seems more linked to the "In New Music We Trust" soundbite than any other DJ on Radio One, and you get the feeling of his passion for the music industry, more so than most of the other DJs in the day before him. (Chris lncluded) especially after Jo leaving the mainstream.
With various themes, not only running through the week, but also the odd special through the year, Zane, and those working behind him on his show, are putting the legwork in when the show is not on thei air.
Whether you like all the music Zane plays, is besides the point, Zane plays edgy and new music, and brings much needed attention, like Peel before him, to a more mainstream audience for musicians that otherwise may not have gotten the break they deserve. Saying that though, Zane does give a good nod to the classics, without being hampered by that playlist, but instead playing those tracks that make you think "Yeah, that one was damn good".
With some of the comments, and reactions of the guests he has in the studio however, at times there is the just the faintest tinge that Zane is winging it, and if he is then he has done very well indeed, and is more likely down to joking or some twisted irony that Zane has: On more than one occasion though, he has made a comment, or given reference to a song, that has not only caused a sharp intake and splutter amongst the studio guests , but more than likely those listening in to the show. to where Zane has quickly recovered with something along the lines of "JUST KIDDING GUYS HAHAHAHA"
There has been that brief wonder - in that has he actually been kidding? and is Zane now mumbling under his breath "holy s*** that was close".
(If you want to get the idea of the same effect, imagine saying that you "actually like Alan Carr" with some mates in the pub, and wait for the silence. then quickly add that you were joking).

Nick Grimshaw
You may know Nick from T4. He did actually present on Radio one in an earlier time slot, but frankly was lacklustre. However now presenting from 10pm, the time slot seems to suit him much more, and also he can be slightly more cutting with his comments. One main drawback though, is his friendship with the untalented Edith Bowman, who, even more than Fearne Cotton, escapes me how she has managed to wangle herself into the postion she has, or rather had, as she was kicked off her time slot in favour of Greg James, (Thanks for small mercys at least).
Although I'm not trying to pick Nicks friends for him, the odd name drop of Edith is at best an annoyance.
Nicks main problem is that his show links from Zane's cutting edge music, to whichever DJ follows him with their unique flavour, whether it is the underrated Nihal with his Asian beats (a damn good show it has to be said) or Daniel P Carter with his rock show, etc. What I am trying to say is that Nick seems to be hampered again by the dreaded playlist, and not really left as much to play what he would like (Or at least I am hoping what he would like) However he does get some great artists to perform live on his show - and although Nick isn't as cutting as some, he does manage to pull off decent interviews.

Although there are more DJs on radio one, these mentioned above are the only ons with what could be classed as regular, midweek, daily slots - The others having weekly shows or weekend slots.
The only other DJ not mentioned here for his early morning show is Dev, but then if you have heard any of his show, then you will probably realise why there isn't much point in talking about it.
And now, the news

Newsbeat
Newsbeat is the cool and trendy name given to the news and the team which produces and presents it. This is where the problem starts, because with trying to appear cool and trendy, the news items are dumbed down so much that even Childrens BBC news show Newsround looked decidedly highbrow compared to some of the daft items they present.
Seeming to try to cater to a public with an ever shortening attention span, their articles are presented along with an annoying background beat which is not needed, and worse, at some times completely inappropriate. For instance when discussing the grisly recovering of a murder victims body - do we really need a 180bpm rave beat clattering along in the background? ? ?
Whoever is responsible for the news items that newsbeat cover really needs the sack - infact most of the team do as the knee jerk reporting, and poorly researched items only seem to be able to do one thing - and that is provoke a controversial reaction from young people. (One of the main problems with how media report news anyway - but newsbeat take it to a new, completely irresponsible position).
Also their emphasis on trivial items when there are far more important topics to discuss - yes we are still aware of the target audience age group here - Newsbeat will perhaps give a minute or so to what could be a worldwide implicating disaster, then dedicate 10 minutes to the online connection problems being suffered by Call of Duty Black Ops players - then another 5 minutes to a single football match result. GET SOME DAMN PERSPECTIVE PLEASE ?- and it's not because I don't like football, as I wouldn't expect a 5 minute run down of the world superbike results either.

1xtra

The sister station of Radio 1 which plays all the hip hop, R&B, etc etc.
Yes yes very good, but do we need it shoved down our throats constantly?
Even a daring Chris Moyles commented on this subject live on air, when a jingle for 1xtra was played during his show
"If you liked that, then tune into 1xtra where we play all the . . . "
"Do we get a jingle on 1xtra then? Do they play something like Kylie Minogue then say that you can hear music like this over on Radio 1?"
OK so Chris said it mostly in jest, but he has a point. Is there anybody who is interested in listening to the type of music on 1xtra that has not heard about them? Because if there is, then the chances of them listening to Radio 1 itself are so close to nil, its not worth bothering about. Yes, highlight the "sister" station now and again, but its drummed (and bassed) repeatedly to the extent that it will have the effect of alienatiing people instead - and if you saw the facebook page of radio 1, you would understand that it already is.

Strange then, as with the more commonplace migration of DJs between Radio 1 and Radio 2 (Jo Whiley and Trevor Nelson to name two) you would expect there would be more mention (any mention?) of their various shows on R2? So why is Radio 2 seen as a rival to Radio 1 when 1xtra is seen as a sibling ?

Stop blowing your own trumpet

JOIN RADIO 1 LIVE AT GLASTONBURY
JOIN RADIO 1 LIVE IN IBIZA
JOIN RADIO 1 LIVE AT READING

apart from One Big Weekend, you would, as I said above, be forgiven to think that Radio 1 don't run these events, with all the hype and run up to them, and then the constant replays of the shows for days after. But with all their hype and lead up, the actual live performances from performers at these shows are sadly lacking, For instance you may get a couple of tracks from Muse headlining a particular stage but thats it - most of the time you just hear the various DJs stomping about between stages (complaining how far it is) and meeting a few overexcited babbling fans who say "Oh My God" all the time. For all the expectations, apart from the Ibiza shows, the live broadcast has actually very little decent content to make it really that worthwhile.
"Couldn't get a ticket? Don't worry 'cos Radio 1 will be there."
Yeah great, and don't they seem to like to rub your noses in it?

The Ibiza broadcasts being different here, as they do broadcast, usually from the weekend (starting on Friday nights) quite a bit of content from the performing DJ sets. But you could argue here, that playing/mixing a vinyl dance record to a crowd of semi naked ravers isn't exactly a live gig in the same way as The Foo Fighters rocking to an audience of thousands.
There are some live performers in Ibiza, but most turn out to be a disspoinment of an MC shouting "Yeah Yeah AYE-YEAH LETS MAKE SOME NOISE" over a backing track by David Guetta. If I was there then I could enjoy it, but over the radio it doesn't really work.

Although I love my rock music, I'm a raver too, and Pete Tong is still one of the best dance music DJs out there. With a wide range of dance music tastes, he still puts in the hard work to find music from around the globe.
Shame though that he is preceeded by Annie Mac, (replaced Dave Pearce? ?)
Not that I don't like the music that Annie plays, its her constant back patting and seemingly lack of legwork that gets me.
For some reason Annie has to play her own jingle every 30 seconds or so when she pops up after Scott Mills on a Friday evening, and it gets annoying very very quickly. Wanting to listen to the music to get yourself pumping up for a possible night out - except "ANNIE MAC ON RADIO ONNNNNNNNE WHOOOOOOO" by a squawky voiced woman, cuts through your nerves like a hacksaw.
It would help if Annie seemed to know more about the music she was playing, as there have been many occasions she has been caught on the show by guest DJs mentioning a new artist with only a "Oh really? I haven't heard of them, I will have to check them out"
I don't remember Pete Tong being suprised so much in this way,
Be a little more modest Annie, stop taking yourself so seriously, and not be constantly bigging up yourself, you would be more listenable and less annoying.

Pay the Licence Fee, Still get adverts

This has more recently become a noted issue among listeners to Radio 1. The sheer amount of advertising of BBC products on air.
not just of other Radio 1 shows, but of the televsion broadcasts (mainly the depressingly suicidal Eastenders), and other "cool and happening" stations like the Asian network, 1xtra,
Radio 1 at the festivals (as mentioned above) is also rammed down your throat as an event approaches.
The sheer amount of BBC product placement is more than an irritation, its damned annoying and can break up the enjoyment of a good show for what can only be very little gain. For example, I cannot imagine anyone that is, or is likely to watch Eastenders would find any benefit in its many mentions on Radio 1?
I expect this on a commercial station, but I thought I had paid my licence fee so the BBC had a different way of funding without having to rely on adverts.
Verdict

Brilliant for getting music from new artists, Radio One (with its legacy from its hard working DJs in the past such as John Peel) is second to none.
However during the day, where most of its listeners are tuned in, it becomes just like the myriads of bland, and inoffensive commercial radio stations that are just clones of each other with regional accents.
Radio One, you don't need to follow that path, you don't need pretty, but vacant presenters as no one can see them on the Radio anyway. Be edgy, dump the generic playlist , stop TRYING to be cool and BE cool (sorry Morpheus).
It has the money, without dragging it in from advertising, (which is what commercial radio has to worry about - hence its bland content). so it can dare to be different. so why isn't it?

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Comments about this review »

Coloneljohn 22.03.2011 18:00

Excellent review, though I have not listened to this station for many years now. John

MrBrightside1987 16.03.2011 12:55

Great review with lots of detail :)

torr 15.03.2011 19:51

Good, detailed, opinionated review.

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This review of BBC Radio 1 has been rated:

"very helpful" by (50%):

  1. Meggysmum
  2. MrBrightside1987
  3. torr

and 9 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.



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