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Radio 1 launches relaxation channel in BBC Sounds app

By | Published on Friday 23 April 2021

BBC Radio 1

Following the launch of the Radio 1 Dance stream on the BBC Sounds app last year, the BBC station has now launched Radio 1 Relax. As the name suggests, this new stream aims to help listeners to chill the fuck out.

Like Radio 1 Dance, Radio 1 Relax pulls together existing content rather than creating anything new, and will simulcast some shows with the main Radio 1 station.

That includes programmes that simple curate relaxing music, plus wellbeing-centred editorial, such as the ‘Motivate Me Mix’, where celebs offer advice and techniques on “how to build and maintain mental fitness to weather difficult times”. Some of this content, while not new, has only previously been available as on-demand programmes, not as part of a linear stream.

By pulling all of this together in one place, listeners can get motivated first thing in the morning, stay calm and focussed throughout the day, wind down in the evening, and then be soothed to sleep come bedtime. That’s the theory, anyway.

“The challenges of the last year have meant more young people than ever are seeking out content centred around wellbeing and relaxation”, says Head Of Radio 1, Aled Haydn Jones. “The titles we’ve launched during the past twelve months with that in mind have proved incredibly popular, so I’m pleased we’re able to put it all into one stream on BBC Sounds, making it as easy as possible for our audience to find and enjoy”.

Deirdre Kehoe, Director Of Training And Services at mental health charity YoungMinds, adds: “The past year has been incredibly challenging for lots of young people. Many have told us that they’ve struggled to cope with the changes and loss of coping mechanisms brought on by the pandemic, and have experienced social isolation, anxiety, and fears around their future”.

“We welcome Radio 1’s focus on creating content that supports young people’s mental health and helps them unwind”, she goes on. “Advice about how to look after yourself during difficult times, as well as tips on mindfulness and meditation, can be helpful for some young people when they feel overwhelmed or anxious, and we hope that this is of benefit to them at this time”.

When Radio 1 Dance was announced last year, Tory MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Commercial Radio, Andy Carter, kicked up a fuss. He complained to media regulator OfCom that he didn’t see how the new dance channel served any public service remit and that he was concerned the BBC was using the little scrutinised BBC Sounds app to increasingly compete head-on with commercial radio services.

However, OfCom said that it did not believe that Radio 1 Dance posed a threat to commercial radio, in part because it simply repurposed existing content. That said, it did say that it planned to investigate the market position of the BBC Sounds app, its development, and its affect on commercial operations.

Whether any objections will be raised to the new relaxation channel remains to be seen, although it will be harder to argue that this one isn’t fulfilling the BBC’s public service remit.