My thoughts on women on Radio 1
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17 posts in this topic

I think women get a much tougher time in most career paths, with radio being a strong subject for debate. Are there enough women on radio? On Capital (which, I'll admit, I don't really listen to), the only decentish woman - Kat Shoob - presents alongside a man. 

But down to my specifics: women on Radio 1. I don't think the station is particularly strong with women. Annie Mac is ace; she's one of those loveable, knowledgeable, wonderful presenters that never gets old. Great shows, and a great move to Zane's show for her. Adele is pretty good too; it's not bad at all for a 4am show, and she has some decent features. She's got a great, broad accenty voice too. A decent listen.

Before I rant about these two women, I think some of their content - Clara's old Kiss stuff & her chart presenting, and Alice with Greg - is great. And radio is really, really hard. There's no editing, unsociable hours and we all have bad days. But this is the forefront of radio; "Where it begins". So here's my views... where do I begin?!

While she always seems so happy and positive - which is great - Clara Amfo has literally nothing to talk about. Even her handover is poor, usually resulting in something along the lines of 

Nick: So, Clara, what have you got lined up for us at 10am?

Clara (who's had a good hour to plan this): Err, we'll be playing a shoddy Live Lounge from last year and also the same music we play all day? 

She won an award for radio ages ago with the judges saying her "infectious love of radio was clear". Listen, love radio or not, you have to actually be able to say something. I listened to her show over the holidays - she just smiles her way through the show, not really saying anything?

While many of you (OohErr, I'm looking at you) will disagree, I think Alice Levine is also a bit naff. Unlike Clara, she usually has much to say about nothing, making for rather a cringey listen (her most memorable catchphrases "yass" and "all the (food / music / balloons)". Her show isn't so much of a show as a Spotify playlist, with her links being the annoying adverts. And her features? What, you call getting people to describe how boring their weekend is as a feature? It just makes me feel a bit meh about my weekend, and I don't want that. 

Your views, as always, greatly appreciated on this one. What do you think on women on Radio 1?

 

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I think there's some great talent on Radio 1 in terms of women. I think they're underused though. Clara is a big asset to the station but she doesn't seem used in the same way Fearne was. I know Fearne was a star, but Radio 1 needs to build up the profile of these women.

Alice Levine makes me LOL and I enjoy Adele when I get a chance to hear her.

So personally I think they all have potential but it's up to the station to make it work. They need the publicity. Just like Mills had stuff like One Night With Laura to really get himself known, there needs some big moments to thrust them into the spotlight.

Sent from my iPhone using the Unofficialmills.co.uk mobile app

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Woo, I got a shout out!

The trouble with Clara is that she's still very commercial radio - she has a personality, but she's used to the format of "two songs, short link with shout outs and trails ahead, two songs", with no content other than the music itself. It's a shame - I feel like she's a wasted potential.

Alice is a very funny woman - she's clearly a believer that "content is king", but admittedly that content isn't that strong. I don't that's a problem with her specifically though - with good production (as she had when Aled produced her) she could be excellent. I do believe that she is the natural heir to Scott Mills - when he leaves (god forbid), I think she could take over from him and have largely the same style and features, even inherit Chris. Again, potential but not fully realised as of yet.

I like Adele, but I don't think she's particularly funny or original. She's a very enjoyable listen, and clearly loves radio, but I don't see a bigger future for her after Early Breakfast. Her show is basically a continuation of Dev's run on Early Breakfast with a few of her own features thrown in (that awful Gemma period ignored). Adele is good, but not funny or edgy in the same way Scott, Greg, Matt, Dev or Alice are.

Annie Mac just exudes cool and I'm surprised how successful she's been in that slot considering she was primarily a dance DJ. Her handovers with Greg are nowhere near as good as Zane's though. On a slightly unrelated note, I listened to Zane for the first time in months the other day and he doesn't sound happy. He's moved away from his old shouty energetic enthusiastic style and now sounds very sombre and bored. Maybe it's just a natural progression for him as he matures, but it's just not the Zane I know. Also, without a handover at the top of his show he has no opportunity to show off how funny he is and how he doesn't always take himself seriously.

Anyway, those are my views on women (on the radio, that is) and everything else under the sun, it seems.

Edited by OohErr
bensteele likes this

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Interesting... Thanks for your thoughts, guys! 

And as for Zane, well, while he should be at the top of the radio pile, he's been left to stagnate with money-hungry Apple. The only press they had was the launch - and that was largely about Zane rather than the station - and as for now? In all honesty, I completely forgot it even existed as a station. Looking at their Twitter following, of around 400,000, they don't seem to be making the big shout they wanted to. 

I doubt he has as much creative freedom, and the show won't be as important to society (thus meaning worse guests, little fanbase). 

Something tells me Zane misses Radio 1. And, of course, Radio 1 misses Zane. 

 

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Something tells me Zane misses Radio 1. And, of course, Radio 1 misses Zane. 

 

I think you're probably right. Although I think Zane, if he was to return to the UK scene, would have plenty of choice of radio stations should he do it.

There's Virgin trying to get cut through, and Radio X.

I can see why he was tempted by Apple, but I agree it's not had such an impact since the launch. It also ate into my data!

Sent from my iPhone using the Unofficialmills.co.uk mobile app

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4 minutes ago, Jono said:

There's Virgin trying to get cut through, and Radio X.

 

Radio X have done a pretty good job, although totally ballsed up with the whole "laddy station" thing - with their PR team saying one thing, and their key breakfast presenter saying another. 

As for Virgin Radio? Pretty piss-poor. Just because you're Virgin doesn't mean you have to introduce the station on a train. It does not add to the audio value at all if you don't actually get off the train and go to various places. 

Haven't bothered tuning in since.

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I've been off this week so I've spent quite a lot of time listening to Clara - I've refined my opinion somewhat. God her show is boring. I'm sure she's not dull as a person, but when you hear her show for any extended period of time it becomes so samey! Every link is something along the lines of "Artist and Song there on Radio 1, still to come on the show blah blah blah". Such a wasted opportunity. Did anybody hear her when she was on 1Xtra weekend breakfast? Was she any good then?

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18 hours ago, OohErr said:

I've been off this week so I've spent quite a lot of time listening to Clara - I've refined my opinion somewhat. God her show is boring. I'm sure she's not dull as a person, but when you hear her show for any extended period of time it becomes so samey! Every link is something along the lines of "Artist and Song there on Radio 1, still to come on the show blah blah blah". Such a wasted opportunity. Did anybody hear her when she was on 1Xtra weekend breakfast? Was she any good then?

I used to flick between between 1 and 1Xtra at weekends, both very different vibes and you can pick some great presenting techniques up from (most of) 1Xtra's daytime programming.  Clara's show was really good; interesting, some decent features and a lot of audience engagement. I think she had a great exclusive "Clara club"-like feel, it all felt very exclusive but inclusive at the same time. Very infectious happiness. 

I'm glad you spent time listening to Clara and have changed your opinion - while her social media is interesting (she does seem interesting!), seems she hasn't been taught properly (annnd has a bad production team) 

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Just to put my two penny worth in....

Clara - I think the judgements are slightly harsh on her. We have to recognise that the 10-1 slot is very music focussed on the Live Lounge and doesn't really have any other features, I think deliberately perhaps? (Aside from the Sara Cox velcro suit game, lolllllllll) Compared to Fearne, Clara is always out at gigs each night and engaging with new music and constantly chatting about that, which is just who you need for a Radio 1 presenter in this slot. Fearne on the other hand, was exceptionally past it and had clearly disengaged with new music a long time ago. She preferred to chat about what cake she has baked last night. I distinctly remember when she came back from maternity leave after Rex and co-hosted the Breakfast Show with Grimmy and they played Daft Punk - Get Lucky, which had been played to death all through the summer (she came back in Sept). She said after the record had finished that it was the first time she had heard it and I was absolutely astounded!

Alice - I think she is actually one of the funniest people on Radio 1, if not the funniest. She has the driest, most sarcastic humour and I think she is absolutely hilarious. Similar humour to Matt Edmondson so I wouldn't mind if either of them took over on a weekday slot, they are both very deserving. They both know that they are never going to be tastemakers for the next Mercury awards, but they are fantastic presenters for a youth audience. 

Adele - I think her move to Radio 1 was very well deserved. I only get to hear her if I work nights but always hear on the 6:45am chat with Grimmy.  She always has a lovely warm chat with Grimmy and its clear that they get on very well. The times I do hear her early show I think she is really great actually, and not that it is hard, but such a vast improvement on Gemma Cairney!

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Did anyone catch Sophie Little in for Huw Stephens last night? I don't think we've heard the last of her.

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Alice: Half decent. Relatively unadventurous, about par for the course for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon but nothing to write home about. Having said that I prefer her in that slot to Huw Stevens - his daytime shows were painful.

Clara: Waste of time really. Just there to make sure that there's a female in their daytime schedule and since she's ethnic minority too that's a bonus as far as the BBC is concerned. Hard to see where her talent actually lies.

Adele: Perhaps the best of the bunch, checked her out on iPlayer and thought she was doing a decent job in that slot. At 37 she doesn't have a big future ahead of her at Radio 1 though and whether the BBC will find work for her elsewhere I'm not sure.

Annie Mac: Great radio personality. Not so sure about her taste in dance music.

But no mention in this thread of the queen of Radio 1 Annie Nightingale? The first lady on Radio 1 in 1970, and in the three years prior to that there had been no women on the station whatsoever. 76 years old and still holding down a job on the station! I listened to her show recently on a long late night drive and was torn between thinking "she still has her finger on the pulse thanks to her years of experience" and "Jesus Christ this is a complete embarassment". I wonder how many people actually listen to that show and can't help but think that she survives because no one would ever have the balls to axe it given that she's such a Radio 1 institution?

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51 minutes ago, Paul_ said:

But no mention in this thread of the queen of Radio 1 Annie Nightingale? The first lady on Radio 1 in 1970, and in the three years prior to that there had been no women on the station whatsoever. 76 years old and still holding down a job on the station! I listened to her show recently on a long late night drive and was torn between thinking "she still has her finger on the pulse thanks to her years of experience" and "Jesus Christ this is a complete embarassment". I wonder how many people actually listen to that show and can't help but think that she survives because no one would ever have the balls to axe it given that she's such a Radio 1 institution?

Oh, forgot about Nightingale! I have a huge amount of respect for the woman, although I've never listened to much of her show - I prefer waiting for the good specialist stuff to make it to daytime instead of sift through it myself, so her show isn't for me. I think she has a big following and knows her stuff and is generally amazing at what she does - age doesn't determine your ability to discover and present music to people, in my opinion.

 

51 minutes ago, Paul_ said:

Adele: Perhaps the best of the bunch, checked her out on iPlayer and thought she was doing a decent job in that slot. At 37 she doesn't have a big future ahead of her at Radio 1 though and whether the BBC will find work for her elsewhere I'm not sure.

As nice as she seems and as pleasant as she is to listen to, I think giving Adele R1 early breakfast was a strategic error on Ben Cooper's part. Now she's there, he can't get rid of her for a while, her show is quite good, and there's nowhere else for her to go, but her being in that slot prevents it being given to someone from the next generation of R1 (like Jordan North who's been given a lot of cover recently - surely it's only a matter of time?).

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On 08/06/2016 at 8:15 PM, Paul_ said:

 

Clara: Waste of time really. Just there to make sure that there's a female in their daytime schedule and since she's ethnic minority too that's a bonus as far as the BBC is concerned. Hard to see where her talent actually lie

I know this is your first post, but Paul, this isn't how stuff works on this forum - while you make valid and in my eyes, probably true, points on other presenters, especially Nightingale, bringing someone's race into an equation based on their personality could be seen as racist. 

While I assume this was unintentional, Radio 1 won't employ someone of a minority purely based on that fact - commenting on it is really rather unacceptable in my eyes.

I'd be interested to see whether my response would be of a similar nature to @Jono

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Rightly or wrongly, the BBC do make an effort to ensure that there is an ethnic diversity of presenters on all of their radio and TV output.

You can argue this is a good thing and that it is necessary to ensure that the BBC is representative of the diverse population it serves or you could argue that all appointments should be made solely on merit and nothing else should be taken in to consideration whether it's ethnicity, gender or anything else. There are good arguments on both sides.

If you don't belive me that the BBC take ethnicity into consideration then you may want to check out recent reports of them advertising for a new presenter for "The One Show" in which they asked specifically for applicants from an ethic minority background...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/bbc-accused-discrimination-after-seeking-8124004

Edited by Paul_

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On 08/06/2016 at 8:15 PM, Paul_ said:

Alice: Half decent. Relatively unadventurous, about par for the course for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon but nothing to write home about. Having said that I prefer her in that slot to Huw Stevens - his daytime shows were painful.

Clara: Waste of time really. Just there to make sure that there's a female in their daytime schedule and since she's ethnic minority too that's a bonus as far as the BBC is concerned. Hard to see where her talent actually lie

I'm fully aware of the BBC's intentions to bring a diverser range of people to the forefront of programmes and shows, the shit newspapers (Sun & Mail) were only recently screaming headlines of "THE BBC IS WHITE! NO WHITE? NO JOB (PLUS SEE KERRY FROM YORK'S SICK TITS ON PAGE 3 #ladz). 

But, Clara, to my knowledge, wasn't recruited for being "black" - she was originally on Kiss, then snapped up by Radio 1Xtra, worked her way up there and then to Radio 1. No malicious intent, no skin colour being brought in.

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I hear you, but worry that you misinterpreted my original post. I didn't suggest that she was appointed solely on the basis of her ethnicity. But the more ethnic presenters they have, the closer they can get to their target of 13% of all radio staff being ethnic minority. I'm not saying such a target is a bad thing, I'm just saying that if you think ethnicity plays not part whatsoever in programming/presenter deicisions then you don't know the BBC like I know the BBC...

Ben Cooper has a particular responsibility to promote diversity since he is also BBC Radio's "Diversity Sponsor".

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/diversity/pdf/dap-radio-2015-16.pdf

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On 8 June 2016 at 9:12 PM, OohErr said:

Oh, forgot about Nightingale! I have a huge amount of respect for the woman, although I've never listened to much of her show - I prefer waiting for the good specialist stuff to make it to daytime instead of sift through it myself, so her show isn't for me. I think she has a big following and knows her stuff and is generally amazing at what she does - age doesn't determine your ability to discover and present music to people, in my opinion.

 

As nice as she seems and as pleasant as she is to listen to, I think giving Adele R1 early breakfast was a strategic error on Ben Cooper's part. Now she's there, he can't get rid of her for a while, her show is quite good, and there's nowhere else for her to go, but her being in that slot prevents it being given to someone from the next generation of R1 (like Jordan North who's been given a lot of cover recently - surely it's only a matter of time?).

I'm a massive not-fan of Jordan North. He's never off one of my local stations (Rock FM, Preston) and I can't stand him on there, so when I heard his accent on R1 a while back and put two and two together, I was gutted. That being said, I love Adele, but don't get to hear her all that often! Annie Mac has grown massively on me recently, I religiously listen to Scott and Greg, and Moyles in the morning. Rambling a bit hear and getting off topic, but first post - Hey everyone!

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