BBC Radio 1 was first launched on the 30th September 1967 at 7 o’clock. It took no longer than a few years for the new radio station to become the most listened to station in the world with more than 10 million listeners for some of its shows. In the Nineties, BBC Radio 1 clearly stood out of the crowd aiming at gay audiences and even covered the Gay Pride event in 1994 for the first time in radio history.
BBC Radio 1’s target audience is a group of people aged between 16 and 29. There are around 7 million of them in the UK, which represents 11% of the population. This part of the population is now better educated than ever, most of them are single – only one in ten is living with a partner. Most of them don’t read newspapers but will go on the Internet to get news. This group is technologically literate (mobile phones, computers, Internet etc) and is harder to shock with sex and drugs. This is the audience BBC Radio 1 is aiming to reach, though the audience it attracts is a little bit different.
According to Rajar (company which measures audience share), the average age of BBC Radio 1’s listeners is 33. This is apparently because of DJs like Chris Moyles and Scott Mills who would appeal to older listeners. As I haven’t been able to contact BBC Radio 1, I cannot make any statement regarding the nature of its audience. However, I believe that audience categories such as A and E are not very likely to listen to Radio 1. On one hand, people who listen to Chris Moyles or Scott Mills are older than the target audience and some of them are well educated. On the other hand, people who listen to popular music and/or interested in programmes such as X-Factor are more likely to belong to the lower middle class, skilled working class and working class – C1, C2 and D categories. More than eleven million people listen to radio 1 every week. BBC Radio 1 represents 9.9% of the listening share.
Running order of stories/ News Agenda
BBC Radio 1 has two news bulletins a day (12:45 and 17:45). The running order of stories is quite simple: first comes the main story, the one likely to catch listeners’ interest and that would usually be relevant to the whole country. News such as swine flu or flooding in Cumbria were the main stories in the last bulletins. In second place usually come stories about politics or the war in Afghanistan. The main stories in the last few weeks were dead soldiers in Afghanistan, MPs’ expenses, European Union etc. Human interest stories – mainly about crimes come in third position, though they are sometimes announced before political stories depending on their importance. For example, the story in which a man strangled his wife whilst sleeping was announced in the main headlines, which shows that there is no definite order. The fourth part of the bulletin deals with random news – celebrities, science, health, technology, law etc. Unsurprisingly, sport comes in last position.
The running order of the stories is very traditional, but the stories are covered from a youth point of view: they interview young people and they have correspondents who are able to bring the news “alive”. They are also looking for sensational news which appeals to a large share of the audience. I believe it is a fairly good quality news bulletin, I expected it to be more “tabloid-style”, with lots of gossip and nothing else. But the BBC has a reputation to preserve – and a contract to respect – and is aiming to entertain and inform listeners. The radio announces relevant and important news, though the stories are often simplified because the audience is young. Given that the bulletin lasts only 15 minutes, I think the coverage of the national news is quite complete. However, the international news is completely forgotten unless it has a link with the United Kingdom.