Greg James promoted in Radio 1 schedule rejig

By | Published on Wednesday 29 February 2012

Radio 1

Radio 1’s recently appointed new Controller Ben Cooper has done some more tinkering to his station’s schedules, the biggest tinker being the swapping of Greg James and Scott Mills, so that the latter will move to the early afternoon slot, and the former to the more prestigious drive time show.

While the rest of the BBC is facing allegations of too readily favouring youth, at Radio 1 the criticism has been the opposite, that the nation’s favourite is failing to engage its target youth demographic, with many longstanding programmes and DJs now appealing more to the 25+ audience.

While Radio 1 bosses might argue that its critics exaggerate the problems, and that the station’s music policy and news programming is specifically geared towards the teen audience, the average age of its DJs does provide critics with ammunition, and it’s been expected since former Deputy Controller Cooper took over the top job from his long entrenched predecessor Andy Partfitt that a bit more youth would be injected into the schedules, albeit by evolution rather than revolution.

Hence the 26 year old James taking the prime time slot from the 38 year old Mills. Meanwhile two other 26 year old DJs – T4 presenter Jameela Jamil and 1Xtra DJ Gemma Cairney – will both get off-peak slots in the latest rejig, and 24 year old Danny Howard, discovered via a Radio 1 talent search, will get a Saturday afternoon show. Meanwhile another 38 year old, Edith Bowman, will see her hours cut by being shifted from Weekend Breakfast to the one hour weekly review show.

Of course the elephant in the room remains the Chris Moyles breakfast show, a real dilemma for Cooper in that it has been operating outside Radio 1’s core remit for years now, but is still one of the country’s most popular radio shows, despite a recent wobble in listening figures.

It is widely thought Moyles is nearing the end of his Radio 1 career, though he will likely go on his own terms while Cooper is in charge, whereas had an outsider been given the top job post-Parfitt there might have been a more sudden axing of the show. Needless to say, speculation of a successor has already begun, with some interpreting James’ promotion this week as a sign he might be a contender. But I’m still quietly lobbying to give Matt Edmondson the job.