BBC White Paper Finds Radio 1 Is Too Mainstream

Totally lamestream, apparently.
Doug Peters/PA Archive

BBC Radio 1 is too mainstream and should ditch pop music in favour of less well known artists, the government said on Thursday.

The radio station is largely indistinctive from its commercial rivals and plays much of the same music too often throughout the day, it added.

The criticism came as Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, 56, unveiled the BBC White Paper, the result of a huge consultation with over one hundred thousand members of the public.

Ashton Irwin of 5 Seconds of Summer performs in the BBC Radio 1 'Live Lounge'
Ashton Irwin of 5 Seconds of Summer performs in the BBC Radio 1 'Live Lounge'
Doug Peters/PA Archive

The White Paper (PDF) will be used to determine the broadcaster's future and plan how it funds programmes and services.

A survey of 2,093 people for the government found many couldn't say whether Radio 1 was more distinctive than Capital FM or Absolute Radio.

HM Government

Almost a third, some 31%, agreed Radio 1 was "quite similar" to its closest commercial rivals, apart from the adverts.

And the station's target audience of the under-25s were more convinced of this than others, the report said.

On music choice, the report said: "The BBC should play a mix of popular tracks alongside new and less well known music to ensure that these tracks reach large audiences, but a balance is needed to ensure it is sufficiently distinctive."

Radio 1 operates a series of playlists ranging from A to C as well as a new music list. Tracks on the A List are played more frequently than those on the C List.

“We are regularly breaking new artists that might otherwise go undiscovered”

- Former Head of Music, Radio 1

"We are regularly breaking new artists that might otherwise go undiscovered and championing great UK music here and internationally," he wrote.

Meanwhile, some of the station's other output was singled out for praise.

"Indeed, some of [the BBC's] most distinctive programmes such as... the Newsbeat programme on BBC Radio 1 and Jeremy Vine show Radio 2 have such large audiences because they are so good," the culture secretary said.

Newsbeat's documentary programming, often "pushed to the margins of the schedule" should be brought into more peak times of day.

Programming including 'The Surgery with Gemma and Dr Radha' and the Teen Hero Awards were examples of the station's distinctiveness, the government said.

It added that there should be a 100% increase in "social action" campaigns on the station from the current two per year to four.


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