Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

BBC Radio 1

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Where It Begins


First air date
30 September 1967

BBC Radio 1

Broadcast area
United Kingdom: FM, DAB, TV United States: TV Canada: Satellite radio Worldwide: Internet radio

FM: 97.6 MHz - 99.7 MHz (UK) 97.1 MHz (Jersey) DAB: 12B - BBC National DAB RDS Name: Radio 1/BBC R1 Freeview: 700 Freesat: 700 Sky (UK only): 0101 Virgin Media: 901 Virgin Media Ireland: 907

Contemporary hit radio, news, entertainment, speech, showbiz

BBC Radio 1 is a British radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in modern and current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00 pm, including electronic dance, hip hop, rock, indie or interviews. It was launched in 1967 to meet the demand for music generated by pirate radio stations, when the average age of the UK population was 27. Recently, the BBC claimed that it still targets the 15–29 age group, although the average age of its UK audience in 2008 had risen to 33. BBC Radio 1 started 24-hour broadcasting on 1 May 1991.


First broadcast

Radio 1 was established in 1967 (along with the more middle of the road BBC Radio 2) as a successor to the BBC Light Programme, which had broadcast popular music and other entertainment since 1945. Radio 1 was conceived as a direct response to the popularity of offshore pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline and Radio London, which had been outlawed by Act of Parliament. Radio 1 was launched at 7:00 am on Saturday 30 September 1967.

The first disc jockey to broadcast on the new station was Tony Blackburn, whose cheery style, first heard on Radio Caroline and Radio London, won him the prime slot on what became known as the "Radio 1 Breakfast Show". The first words on Radio 1 – after a countdown by the Controller of Radios 1 and 2, Robin Scott, and a jingle, recorded at PAMS in Dallas, Texas, beginning "The voice of Radio 1" – were "... And, good morning everyone. Welcome to the exciting new sound of Radio 1". This was the first use of US-style jingles on BBC radio, but the style was familiar to listeners who were acquainted with Blackburn and other DJs from their days on pirate radio. The first complete record played on Radio 1 was "Flowers in the Rain" by The Move. The second single was "Massachusetts" by The Bee Gees. The breakfast show remains the most prized slot in the Radio 1 schedule, with every change of breakfast show presenter exciting considerable media interest. The initial rota of staff included John Peel and a gaggle of others, some hired from pirates, such as Keith Skues, Ed Stewart, Mike Raven, David Ryder, Jim Fisher, Jimmy Young, Dave Cash, Kenny Everett, Simon Dee, Terry Wogan, Duncan Johnson, Doug Crawford, Tommy Vance, Chris Denning, Emperor Rosko, Pete Murray, and Bob Holness. Many of the most popular pirate radio voices, such as Simon Dee, had only a one-hour slot per week, ("Midday Spin.") Annie Nightingale, who joined in 1970, was Britain's first female DJ and is now the longest serving presenter, having constantly evolved her musical tastes with the times.

1970s peak

Initially, the station was unpopular with some of its target audience who, it is claimed, disliked the fact that much of its airtime was shared with Radio 2 and that it was less unequivocally aimed at a young audience than the offshore stations, with some DJs such as Jimmy Young being in their 40s. The very fact that it was part of an "establishment" institution such as the BBC was a turn-off for some, and needle time restrictions prevented it from playing as many records as offshore stations had. It also had limited finances (partially because the BBC did not increase its licence fee to fund the new station) and often, as in January 1975, suffered disproportionately when the BBC had to make financial cutbacks, strengthening an impression that it was regarded as a lower priority by senior BBC executives.

Despite this, it gained massive audiences, becoming the most listened to station in the world with audiences of over 10 million claimed for some of its shows (up to 20 million for some of the combined Radio 1 and Radio 2 shows). In the early-mid-1970s Radio 1 presenters were rarely out of the British tabloids, thanks to the Publicity Department's high-profile work. The popularity of Radio 1's touring summer live broadcasts the Radio 1 Roadshow - usually as part of the BBC 'Radio Weeks' promotions that took Radio 1, 2 and 4 shows on the road - drew some of the largest crowds of the decade. The station undoubtedly played a role in maintaining the high sales of 45 rpm single records although it benefited from a lack of competition, apart from Radio Luxembourg and Manx Radio in the Isle of Man. (Independent Local Radio did not begin until October 1973 and took many years to cover virtually all of the UK). Alan Freeman's 'Saturday Rock Show' was voted 'Best Radio Show' 5 years running by readers of a national music publication, and was then axed by controller Derek Chinnery.

1990s changes

In his last few months as controller, Johnny Beerling commissioned a handful of new shows that in some ways set the tone for what was to come under Matthew Bannister. One of these "Loud'n'proud" was the UK's first national radio series aimed at a gay audience (made in Manchester and was aired from August 1993). Far from being a parting quirk, the show was a surprise hit and led to the network's first coverage of the large outdoor Gay Pride event in 1994. Bannister took the reins fully in October 1993. His aim was to rid the station of its 'Smashie and Nicey' image and make it appeal to the under 25s. Although originally launched as a youth station, by the early 1990s, its loyal listeners (and DJs) had aged with the station over its 25-year history. Many long-standing DJs, such as Simon Bates, Dave Lee Travis, Alan Freeman, Bob Harris, Gary Davies, and later Steve Wright, Bruno Brookes and Johnnie Walker left the station or were sacked, and in January 1995 old music (typically anything recorded before 1990) was banned from the daytime playlist.

Many listeners rebelled as the first new DJs to be introduced represented a crossover from other parts of the BBC (notably Bannister and Trevor Dann's former colleagues at the BBC's London station, GLR) with Emma Freud and Danny Baker. Another problem was that, at the time, Radio 2 was sticking resolutely to a format which appealed mainly to those who had been listening since the days of the Light Programme, and commercial radio, which was targeting the "Radio 1 and a half" audience, consequently enjoyed a massive increase in its audience share at the expense of Radio 1.

After the departure of Steve Wright, who had been unsuccessfully moved from his long-running afternoon show to the breakfast show in January 1994, Bannister hired Chris Evans to present the prime morning slot in April 1995. Evans was a popular but controversial presenter who was eventually sacked in 1997 after he demanded to present the breakfast show for only four days per week. Evans was replaced from 17 February 1997 by Mark and Lard – Mark Radcliffe (along with his sidekick Marc Riley), who found the slick, mass-audience style required for a breakfast show did not come naturally to them. They were replaced by Zoë Ball and Kevin Greening eight months later in October 1997, with Greening moving on and leaving Ball as solo presenter. The reinvention of the station happened at a fortuitous time, with the rise of Britpop in the mid-90s – bands like Oasis, Blur and Pulp were popular and credible at the time and the station's popularity rose with them. Documentaries like John Peel's "Lost in Music" which looked at the influence that the use of drugs have had over popular musicians received critical acclaim but were slated inside Broadcasting House.

Later in the 1990s the Britpop boom declined, and manufactured chart pop (boy bands and acts aimed at sub-teenagers) came to dominate the charts. New-genre music occupied the evenings (indie on weekdays and dance at weekends), with a mix of specialist shows and playlist fillers through late nights. The rise of rave culture through the late 1980s and early 1990s gave the station the opportunity to move into a controversial and youth-orientated movement by bringing in club DJ Pete Tong amongst others. There had been a dance music programme on Radio 1 since 1987 and Pete Tong was the second DJ to present an all dance music show. This quickly gave birth to the Essential Mix where underground DJs mix electronic and club based music in a two-hour slot. Dance music has been a permanent feature on Radio 1 since with club DJs such as Judge Jules, Danny Rampling and Seb Fontaine all having shows as well as Radio 1 hosting an annual weekend in Ibiza.


Listening numbers continued to decline but the station succeeded in targeting a younger age-group and more cross gender groups. Eventually, this change in content was reflected by a rise in audience that is continuing to this day. Notably, the station has received praise for shows such as The Surgery with Aled, Bobby Friction and Nihal, The Evening Session with Steve Lamacq and its successor Zane Lowe. Its website has also been well received. However, the breakfast show and the UK Top 40 continued to struggle. In 2000, Zoë Ball was replaced in the mornings by friend and fellow ladette Sara Cox, but, despite heavy promotion, listening figures for the breakfast show continued to fall. In 2004 Cox was replaced by Chris Moyles. The newly rebranded breakfast show was known as The Chris Moyles Show and it increased its audience, ahead of The Today Programme on Radio 4 as the second most popular breakfast show (after The Chris Evans Breakfast Show hosted by Chris Evans). Moyles continued to use innovative ways to try to tempt listeners from the 'Wake up with Wogan' show; in 2006, for example, creating a 'SAY NO TO WOGAN' campaign live on-air. This angered the BBC hierarchy, though the row simmered down when it was clear that the 'campaign' had totally failed to alter the listening trends of the time – Wogan still increased figures at a faster rate than Moyles. The chart show's ratings fell after the departure of long-time host Mark Goodier, amid falling single sales in the UK. Ratings for the show fell in 2002 whilst Goodier was still presenting the show, meaning that commercial radio's Network Chart overtook it in the ratings for the first time. However, the BBC denied he was being sacked. The BBC show now competes with networked commercial radio's The Big Top 40 Show which is broadcast at the same time.

Many DJs either ousted by Bannister or who left during his tenure (such as Johnnie Walker, Bob Harris and Steve Wright) have joined Radio 2 which has now overtaken Radio 1 as the UK's most popular radio station, using a style that Radio 1 had until the early 1990s. The success of Moyles' show has come alongside increased success for the station in general. In 2006, DJs Chris Moyles, Scott Mills and Zane Lowe all won gold Sony Radio Awards, while the station itself came away with the best station award. A new evening schedule was introduced in September 2006, dividing the week by genre. Monday was mainly pop-funkrock-oriented, Tuesday was R&B and hip-hop, Thursdays and Fridays were primarily dance, with specialist R&B and reggae shows. Following the death of John Peel in October 2004, Annie Nightingale is now the longest serving presenter, having worked there since 1970.


The licence-fee funding of Radio 1, alongside Radio 2, is often criticised by the commercial sector. In the first quarter of 2011 Radio 1 was part of an efficiency review conducted by John Myers. His role, according to Andrew Harrison, the chief executive of RadioCentre, was "to identify both areas of best practice and possible savings."

The controller of Radio 1 and sister station 1Xtra changed to Ben Cooper on 28 October 2011, following the departure of Andy Parfitt. Ben Cooper answers to the Director of BBC Audio and Music, Tim Davie.

On 7 December 2011, Ben Cooper's first major changes to the station were announced. Skream & Benga, Toddla T, Charlie Sloth and Friction replaced Judge Jules, Gilles Peterson, Kissy Sell Out and Fabio & Grooverider. A number of shows were shuffled to incorporate the new line up. On 28 February 2012, further changes were announced. Greg James and Scott Mills swapped shows and Jameela Jamil, Gemma Cairney and Danny Howard joined the station. The new line up of DJs for In New DJs We Trust was also announced with B.Traits, Mosca, Jordan Suckley and Julio Bashmore hosting shows on a four weekly rotation. This new schedule took effect on Monday, 2 April 2012.

In September 2012, Nick Grimshaw replaced Chris Moyles as host of "Radio 1's Breakfast Show". Grimshaw previously hosted Mon-Thurs 10pm-Midnight, Weekend Breakfast and Sunday evenings alongside Annie Mac. Grimshaw was replaced by Phil Taggart and Alice Levine on the 10pm-Midnight show.

In November 2012, another series of changes were announced. This included the departure of Reggie Yates and Vernon Kay. Jameela Jamil was announced as the new presenter of The Official Chart. Matt Edmondson will host a weekend morning show and Tom Deacon will return to present a Wednesday night show. Dan Howell and Phil Lester, famous YouTubers also joined the station. The changes took effect in January 2013.

Former breakfast presenter Sara Cox hosted her last show on Radio 1 in February 2014 before moving to Radio 2. In March 2014, Gemma Cairney left the weekend breakfast show to host the weekday early breakfast slot, swapping shows with Dev.

In September 2014, Radio 1 operated a series of changes to their output which saw many notable presenters leave the station - including Edith Bowman, Nihal and Rob da Bank. Huw Stephens gained a new show hosting 10pm-1am Mon-Wed with Alice Levine presenting weekends 1pm-4pm. Radio 1's Residency also expanded with Skream joining the rotational line-up on Thursday nights 10pm-1am.

From December 2014 to April 2016, Radio 1 included a weekly late night show presented by a well known Internet personality called The Internet Takeover. Shows have been presented by various YouTubers such as Jim Chapman and Hannah Witton.

In January 2015, Clara Amfo replaced Jameela Jamil as host of The Official Chart on Sundays (4pm-7pm) and in March, Zane Lowe left Radio 1 and was replaced by Annie Mac on the new music evening show.

In May 2015, Fearne Cotton left the station after almost 10 years. Her weekday morning show was taken over by Clara Amfo. Adele Roberts also joined the weekday schedule line-up, hosting the Early Breakfast show.

In July 2015, The Official Chart moved to a Friday from 4pm-5.45pm, hosted by Greg James. The move took place in order to take into account the changes to the release dates of music globally. Cel Spellman joined Radio 1 to host Sunday evenings 4pm-7pm.


From inception for over 20 years, Radio 1 broadcast from an adjacent pair of continuity suites (originally Con A and Con B) in the main control room of Broadcasting House. These cons were configured to allow DJs to operate the equipment themselves and play their own records and jingle cartridges (called self-op). This was a departure from traditional BBC practice, where a studio manager would play in discs from the studio control cubicle. Due to needle time restrictions, much of the music was played from tapes of BBC session recordings. The DJs were assisted by one or more technical operators (TOs) who would set up tapes and control sound levels during broadcasts.

In 1985, Radio 1 moved across the road from Broadcasting House to Egton House. The station moved to Yalding House in 1996, and Egton House was demolished in 2003 to make way for extension to Broadcasting House. This extension would eventually be renamed the Egton Wing, and then the Peel Wing.

Until recently, the studios were located in the basement of Yalding House (near to BBC Broadcasting House) which is on Great Portland Street in central London. They used to broadcast from two main studios in the basement; Y2 and Y3 (there is also a smaller studio, YP1, used mainly for production). These two main studios (Y2 and Y3) are separated by the "Live Lounge", although it is mainly used as an office; there are rarely live sets recorded from it, as Maida Vale Studios is used instead for larger set-ups. The studios are linked by webcams and windows through the "Live Lounge", allowing DJs to see each other when changing between shows. Y2 is the studio from where The Chris Moyles Show was broadcast and is also the studio rigged with static cameras for when the station broadcasts on the "Live Cam". The station moved there in 1996 from Egton House.

In December 2012 Radio 1 moved from Yalding House to new studios on the 8th floor of the new BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, just a few metres away from the "Peel Wing", formerly the "Egton Wing", which occupies the land on which Egton House previously stood: it was renamed the "Peel Wing" in 2012 in honour of the long-serving BBC Radio 1 presenter, John Peel, who broadcast on the station from its launch in 1967 up until his death in 2004.

Programmes have also regularly been broadcast from other regions, notably The Mark and Lard Show, broadcast every weekday from New Broadcasting House, Oxford Road, Manchester for over a decade (October 1993–March 2004) — the longest regular broadcast on the network from outside the capital.

UK analogue frequencies

Radio 1 originally broadcast on 1214 kHz medium wave (or 247 metres). On 23 November 1978, the latter was moved to 1053/1089 kHz (275/285 m), but did not broadcast nationally on its own FM frequencies until late 1987. The BBC was allocated three FM frequency ranges in 1955, for the then Light Programme (now BBC Radio 2), Third Programme (now BBC Radio 3) and Home Service (now BBC Radio 4) stations. This meant when Radio 1 was launched, there was no FM frequency range allocated for the station, the official reason being that there was no space even though no commercial stations had yet launched on FM. Because of this, from launch until the end of the 1980s Radio 1 was allowed to take over Radio 2's FM transmitters for a few hours per week – Saturday afternoons, Sunday teatime and evening – most notably for the Top 40 Singles Chart on Sunday afternoons – 10:00 pm to midnight on weeknights including Sounds of the Seventies until 1975, and thereafter the John Peel show (Mon - Thurs) and the Friday Rock Show and most Bank Holiday afternoons when Radio 2 was broadcasting a bank holiday edition of Sport on 2.

To coincide with Radio 1's 20th birthday, the first full-time FM broadcast went live in the London area on the 31 October 1987, but this was at low power on 104.8 MHz FM. A year later the FM frequencies became national when the existing police communication allocation changed, freeing up what is known today as 97-99 FM, which the BBC acquired. The rollout of Radio 1 on FM began on 1 September 1988, starting with Central Scotland, Midlands and the north of England and a month later, to co-inside with an extension of broadcast hours, Radio 1 stopped broadcasting on Radio 2's FM frequencies on weeknights and on Sunday evenings and by 1990 all usage of Radio 2's FM frequencies had ended. Radio 1 made great efforts to promote its new FM service, renaming itself on-air initially to 'Radio 1 FM' and later as '1FM' until 1995. The engineering programme was initially completed in 1995.

The Conservative government decided that to increase competition on AM and disallowed the simulcasting of services on both AM and FM, affecting both BBC and ILR. Radio 1's medium wave frequencies were reallocated to Independent National Radio. Radio 1's last broadcast on MW was on 1 July 1994, with Stephen Duffy's "Kiss Me" being the last record played on MW just before 9:00 am. In the initial months after this closure a pre-recorded message with Mark Goodier was played to warn listeners that Radio 1 was now an "FM-only" station. During this time Radio 1 began broadcasting on spare audio subcarriers on Sky Television's analogue satellite service, initially in mono (on UK Gold) and later in stereo (on UK Living).

Digital distribution

The BBC launched its national radio stations on DAB digital radio in 1995, however the technology was expensive at the time and so was not marketed, instead used as a test for future technologies. DAB was "officially" launched in 2002 as sets became cheaper. Today it can also be heard on UK digital TV services Freeview, Virgin Media, Sky and the Internet as well as FM. In July 2005, Sirius Satellite Radio began simulcasting Radio 1 across the United States as channel 11 on its own service and channel 6011 on Dish Network satellite TV. Sirius Canada began simulcasting Radio 1 when it was launched on 1 December 2005 (also on channel 11). The Sirius simulcasts were time shifted five hours to allow U.S. and Canadian listeners in the Eastern Time Zone to hear Radio 1 at the same time of day as UK listeners. On 12 November 2008, Radio 1 made its debut on XM Satellite Radio in both the US and Canada on channel 29, moving to XM 15 and Sirius 15 on 4 May 2011. Until the full station was removed in August 2011, Radio 1 was able to be heard by approximately 20.6 million listeners in North America on satellite radio alone. BBC Radio 1 can be heard on cable in the Netherlands at 105.10 FM.

SiriusXM cancellation in North America

At 12am on 9 August 2011, Sirius XM ceased carrying BBC Radio 1 programming with no prior warning. On 10 August 2011 the BBC issued the following statement:

The BBC’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide has been in partnership with SIRIUS Satellite Radio to broadcast Radio 1 on their main network, since 2005. This agreement has now unfortunately come to an end and BBC Worldwide are in current discussions with the satellite radio station to find ways to continue to bring popular music channel, BBC Radio 1, to the US audience. We will keep you posted.

Thousands of angry Sirius XM customers began a campaign on Facebook and other social media to reinstate BBC Radio 1 on Sirius XM Radio. One week later, Sirius and the BBC agreed on a new carriage agreement that saw Radio 1 broadcast on a time-shifted format on the Sirius XM Internet Radio platform only, on channel 815. The channel is still unavailable on the satellite platform of the service.

Starting on 15 January 2012, The Official Chart Show began broadcasting on SiriusXM 20on20 channel 3, at 4pm and 9pm Eastern Standard Time.

On 19 August 2014, SiriusXM again stopped carrying BBC Radio 1 programming with no advanced notice. The stream is no longer available on the Internet Radio platform.


From 1999 until 2012, Radio 1 split the home nations for localised programming in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to allow the broadcast of a showcase programme for regional talent. Most recently, these shows were under the BBC Introducing brand. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had their own shows, which were broadcast on a 3-week rotational basis in England.

From January 2011 until June 2012 Scotland's show was presented by Ally McCrae. Previously it was hosted by Vic Galloway (who also presents for BBC Radio Scotland); who had presented the show solo since 2004, after his original co-host Gill Mills departed.

Wales's show was hosted by Jen Long between January 2011 until May 2012. Previously Bethan Elfyn occupied the slot, who had at one time hosted alongside Huw Stephens, until Stephens left to join the national network (Stephens still broadcasts a show for the Wales region, a Welsh-language music show on BBC Radio Cymru, on a Monday evening between 7pm-10pm.)

Phil Taggart presented the Northern Irish programme between November 2011 and May 2012. The show was formerly presented by Rory McConnell. Before joining the national network, Colin Murray was a presenter on the Session in Northern Ireland, along with Donna Legge; after Murray's promotion to the network Legge hosted alone for a time, and on her departure McConnell took her place.

The regional opt-outs originally went out from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Thursdays (the Evening Session's time slot) and were known as the Session in the Nations (the 'Session' tag was later dropped due to the demise of the Evening Session); they later moved to run from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm, with the first half-hour of Zane Lowe's programme going out across the whole of the UK. On 18 October 2007 the regional programmes moved to a Wednesday night/Thursday morning slot from 12:00 am to 2:00 am under the BBC Introducing banner, allowing Lowe's Thursday show to be aired across the network; prior to this change Huw Stephens had presented the Wednesday midnight show nationally. In January 2011, BBC Introducing was moved to the new time slot of 00:00 to 02:00 on Monday mornings, and the Scottish and Welsh shows were given new presenters in the form of Ally McCrae and Jen Long.

The opt-outs were only available to listeners on the FM frequencies. Because of the way the DAB and digital TV services of Radio 1 are broadcast (a single-frequency network on DAB and a single broadcast feed of Radio 1 on TV platforms), the digital version of the station was not regionalised.

The BBC Trust announced in May 2012 that the regional music programmes on Radio 1 would be replaced with a single programme offering a UK-wide platform for new music as part of a series of cost-cutting measures across the BBC. In June 2012, the regional shows ended and were replaced by a single BBC Introducing show presented by Jen Long and Ally McCrae.


Because of its youth-orientated nature, Radio 1 plays a mix of current songs, including independent/alternative, rap, hip hop, rock, house, electronica, dance, drum and bass, dubstep and pop.

Due to restrictions on the amount of commercial music that could be played on radio in the UK until 1988 (the "needle time" limitation) the station has recorded many live performances. Studio sessions (recordings of about four tracks made in a single day), also supplemented the live music content, many them finding their way to commercially available LPs and CDs. The sessions recorded for John Peel's late night programme are particularly renowned.

The station also broadcasts documentaries and interviews. Although this type of programming arose from necessity it has given the station diversity. The needletime restrictions meant the station tended to have a higher level of speech by DJs. While the station is often criticised for "waffling" by presenters, an experimental "more music day" in 1988 was declared a failure after only a third of callers favoured it.

News and current affairs

Radio 1 has a public service broadcasting obligation to provide news, which it fulfills through Newsbeat bulletins throughout the day. Shared with 1Xtra, short news summaries are provided roughly hourly on the half-hour during daytime hours with two 15-minute bulletins at 12:45 and 17:45 on weekdays. The main presenter is Chris Smith, with Tina Daheley presenting during Radio 1's breakfast hours.

Online visualisation and social media

In recent years, Radio 1 has aimed to include more of its content online in order to relate to the changing nature of its audience. Its YouTube channel now has over 3 million subscribers and many features and events are streamed on both that and the Radio 1 website.

The station also has a heavy presence on social media, with audience interaction now occurring mainly through Facebook and Twitter as well as text messaging.

It was announced in 2013 that Radio 1 had submitted plans to launch its own dedicated video channel on the BBC iPlayer where videos of live performances as well as some features and shows would be streamed in a central location. Plans were approved by the BBC Trust in November 2014 and the channel launched on 10 November 2014.


BBC Radio 1 operates a system that separates all of the DJs between 'Day' and 'Night' DJs.

  • 'Day' DJs play music generally orientated around the Radio 1 Playlist
  • 'Night' DJs play more eclectic and specialised 'New Music'.
  • Breakfast

    The breakfast show has been presented by many famous names over the years. Currently this slot is broadcast between 6:30 am and 10:00 am, Monday to Friday and is hosted by Nick Grimshaw.

    The Official Chart Show On BBC Radio 1

    BBC Radio 1's chart show had aired the UK Singles Chart exclusively on Sunday afternoons since the programme began; but this was moved to Fridays in July 2015. Currently broadcasting from 4:00 pm until 5:45 pm, the format, length and starting time have varied over the years. For many years, the show prided itself on playing all 40 singles in the top 40 but this practice ended when Wes Butters took over as presenter in 2003; then only tracks below number 20 to be played were the new entries. The show took its current format on 10 July 2015, being presented by Greg James in his usual drive time slot. Numbers 40 to 26 are quickly overviewed and then the top 25 are played in full.

    Bank Holiday programming

    Radio 1 provides alternative programming on some Bank Holidays. Programmes have included 'The 10 Hour Takeover', a request-based special, in which the DJs on air would encourage listeners to select any available track to play, 'One Hit Wonder Day' and 'The Chart Of The Decade' where the 150 biggest selling singles in the last 10 years were counted down and played in full.

    40th birthday

    On Sunday 30 September 2007, Radio 1 celebrated its 40th birthday. To mark this anniversary Radio 1 hosted a week of special features, including:

  • Special shows hosted by music legends at 9:00 pm each weekday.
  • Between 9:00 am and 10:00 am on the Chris Moyles show, the best music from the last 40 years (a re-creation of Simon Bates' Golden Hour).
  • Playing Radio 1's old jingles, which were created by JAM Creative Productions.
  • 40 different artists performed 40 different covers, one from each year since Radio 1 was established. All 40 songs were played in the weeks leading up to the release of the compilation album Radio 1 Established 1967.
  • On the anniversary day Chris Moyles was joined on a special Breakfast Show by Tony Blackburn
  • Vernon Kay interviewed past Breakfast Show presenters including Noel Edmonds, Dave Lee Travis and Mike Smith.
  • Ex Breakfast Show hosts Sara Cox & Zoë Ball teamed up to present an anniversary show on the Sunday.
  • Past newsreaders including Peter Bowes, Richard Evans & Rod McKenzie returned to present bulletins.
  • Charity

    Radio 1 regularly supports charities Comic Relief, Sport Relief and Children in Need.

    On 18 March 2011, BBC's Radio 1 longest serving breakfast DJ Chris Moyles and sidekick Dave Vitty broadcast for 52 hours as part of a Guinness World Record attempt, in aid of Comic Relief. The pair stayed on air for 52 hours in total setting a new world record for 'Radio DJ Endurance Marathon (Team)’ after already breaking Simon Mayo's 12-year record for Radio 1's Longest Show of 37 hours which he set in 1999, also for Comic Relief.

    The presenters started on 16 March 2011 and came off air at 10:30 am on 18 March 2011. During this Fearne Cotton made a bet with DJ Chris Moyles that if they raise over £2,000,000 she will appear on the show in a swimsuit. After passing the £2,000,000 mark, Cotton appeared on the studio webcam in a stripy monochrome swimsuit. The appearance of Cotton between 10:10 am and 10:30 am caused the Radio 1 website to crash due to a high volume of traffic.

    In total the event raised £2,622,421 for Comic Relief.


    In 1981, Radio 1 broadcast a radio adaptation of the space opera film, Star Wars. The 13-episode serial was adapted for radio by the author Brian Daley and directed by John Madden, and was a co-production between the BBC and the American Broadcaster NPR.

    Radio 1 Roadshows

    The Radio 1 Roadshow, which usually involved Radio 1 DJs and pop stars travelling around popular UK seaside destinations, began in 1973, hosted by Alan Freeman in Newquay, Cornwall, with the final one held at Heaton Park, Manchester in 1999. Although the Roadshow attracted large crowds and the style changed with the style of the station itself—such as the introduction of whistlestop audio postcards of each location in 1994 ("2minuteTour")—they were still rooted in the older style of the station, and therefore fit for retirement.

    BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend

    In March 2000, Radio 1 decided to change the Roadshow format, renaming it One Big Sunday in the process. Several of these Sundays were held in large city-centre parks. In 2003, the event changed again and was rebranded One Big Weekend, with each event occurring biannually and covering two days. Under this name, it visited Derry in Northern Ireland, as part of the Music Lives campaign, and Perry Park in Birmingham.

    The most recent change occurred in 2005 when the event was yet again renamed and the decision taken to hold only one per year, this time as Radio 1's Big Weekend. Venues under this title have included Herrington Country Park, Camperdown Country Park, Moor Park–which was the first Weekend to feature a third stage–Mote Park, Lydiard Park, Bangor and Carlisle Airport.

    Tickets for each Big Weekend are given away free of charge, making it the largest free ticketed music festival in Europe.

    BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend was replaced by a larger festival in 2012, named 'Radio 1's Hackney Weekend', with a crowd capacity of 100,000. The Hackney Weekend took place over the weekend of 23–24 June 2012 in Hackney Marshes, Hackney, London. The event was to celebrate the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in London and had artists such as Rihanna, Jay-Z and Florence and the Machine.

    In 2013, Radio 1's Big Weekend returned to Derry as part of the City of Culture 2013 celebrations. So far, Derry is the only city to have hosted the Big Weekend twice.

    In May 2014, Radio 1's Big Weekend was held in Glasgow, Scotland. Acts which played at the event included Rita Ora, The 1975, Katy Perry, Jake Bugg and Pharrell Williams. The event was opened on the Friday with a dance set in George Square, featuring Radio 1 Dance DJs such as Danny Howard and Pete Tong, and other well-known acts such as Martin Garrix and Tiesto.

    Ibiza Weekend

    Radio 1 has annually held a dance music weekend broadcast live from Ibiza since the 1990s. The weekend is usually the first weekend in August and has performances from world-famous DJs and Radio 1's own dance music talent such as Pete Tong and Annie Mac.

    BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards

    Since 2008 Radio 1 has held an annual event for teenagers aged 14 to 17 years. Originally named BBC Switch Live, the first event was held on 12 October 2008 at the Hammersmith Apollo. The event has been hosted by various Radio 1 DJs and guest co-hosts.

    In 2010 the event was renamed 'BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards', and includes awards given to celebrities and particularly inspirational young people. Now hosted at Wembley Arena, the event has included guests such as One Direction, Tinie Tempah, Fall Out Boy and Jessie J.

    The 2014 event took place on 19 October and was hosted by Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora.

    The 2015 event took place on 8 November and was hosted by Nick Grimshaw and Demi Lovato at Wembley Arena.

    The 2016 event took place on 23 October and was hosted by Nick Grimshaw and Dua Lipa.

    Edinburgh Festival

    Radio 1 often has a presence at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Past events have included 'The Fun and Filth Cabaret' and 'Scott Mills: The Musical'.


    BBC Radio 1 Wikipedia

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