Following the announcement that BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper is exiting the station, there has been industry speculation about the future direction of the network.
In the latest issue of Music Week, promotions execs react to the departure of Cooper. The longstanding controller of Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network collected the trophy for Station Of The Year at the Music Week Awards earlier this year.
“Ben was always forward-thinking, trying to evolve the station and was always good at bringing in new talent at the right time,” said Damian Christian, Atlantic’s director of promotions and Warner Music UK SVP of promotional strategy. “His love of music and his love of the station inspired him to keep trying to maintain such high levels.”
Since becoming controller in 2011, Cooper has stabilised Radio 1’s RAJAR figures while growing the station’s digital footprint. Over the summer, the station announced it now has more YouTube viewers than radio listeners.
Ben was always forward-thinking, trying to evolve the station and was always good at bringing in new talent at the right time
In the latest set of RAJARs, Radio 1 was on 9.352 million weekly listeners, compared to 9.6m a year ago.
“[Cooper] should be remembered for his efforts in redefining what a modern and forward-thinking radio station should be,” said Christian Nockall, director of independent radio promotions firm Your Army. “He has managed to keep audiences engaged and ensured the youth networks have retained a unique place as the starting point for breaking new artists and launching global campaigns.”
New pop controller Lorna Clarke has told BBC colleagues that she is “looking at structure”.
“I’ve known Lorna since she was at Kiss and I think she’ll be a great appointment,” said Christian. “Everyone who’s worked with Lorna speaks so highly of her. It’s a big challenge, but [Radio 1 is] in a good position and I think she’ll drive it on in her own style.”
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