'The team are buzzing': Radio 1 head of programmes talks Greg James' move to Breakfast

'The team are buzzing': Radio 1 head of programmes talks Greg James' move to Breakfast

Aled Haydn Jones, BBC Radio 1 head of programmes, has told Music Week that Greg James has made a “brilliant” start as presenter of the Breakfast Show.

Speaking in the latest issue, Haydn Jones revealed that preliminary BBC figures of the audience for the launch show were “huge”. 

“The numbers are the biggest I’ve seen on the Breakfast Show for a long time,” he said. 

In the latest set of RAJAR figures, previous Breakfast presenter Nick Grimshaw had 5.29m listeners - well behind the 9m for Chris Evans at Radio 2. Radio 1’s overall audience dipped to 9.24m as the station battled to retain the fickle youth audience. 

Aled Haydn Jones said James and the team have been focusing on the Radio 1 listener in an effort to keep the show on top in the youth market

“That’s Greg’s personality - we expected to get something like that from Greg,” he said. “Quite often when we were having conversations about features, the team would gravitate to, ‘What does the audience want?’. 

“What we’ve been working on is dividing the show up into 50-minute chunks to make sure that if you have a short listening window for Breakfast, because you have your rigid routine - having breakfast, driving, going to work - that you are able to get a beginning, middle and end of something and enjoy that show no matter which part you join. In previous years, that thinking hasn’t been there - we just made a three-and-a-half-hour show which you consume a bit of. But this is designed for the listener in mind, which sounds too obvious but you can hear the results.”

Following last week’s Tune Of The Week for Promises by Calvin Harris and Sam Smith, the track debuted at No.4 and is now a No.1 contender. But this week’s choice - Mura Masa’s Complicated (feat. Nao) - is more leftfield and a sign that the show can help break acts. 

“It’s key for the industry that the Radio 1 Breakfast Show puts music first - and Greg is a fan of music,” said Haydn Jones.

Calvin Harris was a guest for the launch and Haydn Jones said that superstar artists would continue to be a key part of that slot.

“The Breakfast Show is a shop window for the radio station and Radio 1 is the biggest for the youth audience, so those artists come to us - and when they come to Radio 1, they do the Breakfast Show.”

It’s key for the industry that the Radio 1 Breakfast Show puts music first

Aled Haydn Jones

While the RAJAR results will deliver the first ratings verdict in a few months’ time as the battle for Breakfast continues, Haydn Jones said the initial reaction to the show has been “brilliant”. 

“We’ve been working on this show for a couple of months and it’s just been so nice to give it our best shot, put it out there and have such a warm, positive response back, it’s been brilliant,” he said. “The team are buzzing. They nailed it, I was so proud.”

He added: “What’s great about this show is by putting the listeners first, it’s going to be consistently good, funny and entertaining. We have now started looking at the next six months of content and we’ll get opportunities to do specials.”

As a former producer for Radio 1’s longest-serving Breakfast presenter Chris Moyles (now on Radio X), Haydn Jones compared their presenting styles in the time slot.

“They are both genuine people on the radio - what you hear is what you get,” he said. “There’s no pre-planning of who he [James] is. Quite often on radio, the hard thing is to get the genuine personality to come across, and Greg absolutely nailed that - that’s the connection people have with him.”

To read Music Week’s interview with Greg James pick up the latest issue - or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story, click here.

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