Radio 1’s Andy Parfitt visits Bournemouth University and discusses the future of radio

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The Programme Controller of Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra talks about keeping ahead in a changing industry

Keep as broad as you can

Radio I and Radio 1Xtra’s Programme Controller Andy Parfitt visited Bournemouth University (BU) this week to re-launch BIRSt (Bournemouth’s Internet Radio Station) and to share his industry expertise with students.

Andy gave some valuable advice to MA Radio Production students. “Keep as broad as you can,” he said, “because the world we’re going into is a world where all devices have screens. Radio and visual technology will come along together in the future. Radio production, web content production and visual production are all converging without question.”

The session that followed, in which Andy talked about the nature of Radio 1 in a world full of developing technologies and listener habits, was packed with students eager to hear advice on how to stay ahead in a changing industry. There was an extended Q & A session at the end which covered everything from journalism on Radio 1 to Zane Lowe and Westwood. Ever the diplomat, when asked who his favourite presenter was, Andy refused to be drawn!

Andy stressed the importance of understanding your target audience, listening to feedback from academics and experts, but most importantly staying abreast of new technologies and exploring other methods of reaching your audience.

He used the example of how Radio 1 and 1Xtra use mobile technology, such as Ipods, smartphones and the internet, rather than just the traditional radio. He said: “The journey Radio 1 is making from an analogue radio station to a multimedia brand is well underway.”
Andy was particularly impressed with the work of MA Radio Production student Tom Wake who designed and developed the website for BIRSt. Andy described the site as “a very clean design” and was interested in the tools Tom has used.

Professor Sean Street said: “Radio 1 – and Andy Parfitt in particular – are good friends of ours here in the Media School, and it is always a pleasure to welcome him and other members of his team. Andy is a member of our Radio Industry Advisory Panel, and his time with us on this occasion was also an opportunity for us to discuss current issues in radio training, ensuring that our teaching and technical provision remains relevant and up to date”.

Andy was appointed boss of Radio 1 in March 1998 and has led the station to a listener increase of nearly 12 million per week and to its current position with the most successful listener ratings in years. In 2002 he oversaw the birth of the digital station, Radio 1Xtra, which plays contemporary black music.

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