Contains my correspondence with the BBC

Email response from Chris Humphrys, Content and Schedules Manager, Radio 1 and 1Xtra

Friday 4th November 2011

Thank you for your comments about 1Xtra, although it is a shame you seem to be basing your argument on just one particular programme.

With regards 1Xtra having a “London bias”, it is fair to say that a large proportion of the UK’s music industry is based in the capital, with many artists moving here as a consequence. London also has a larger population, so it’s probably hardly surprising there are more London based artists featuring across the station. This doesn’t mean the rest of the UK is ignored however.

We announced our plans for 1Xtra Live this morning which, following visits to Coventry , Sheffield and London’s Wembley, will this year go on tour to Manchester , Birmingham , Bristol and Brixton.

In terms of DJs, we’re open to new talent from anywhere in the UK sending us demos, although what is important is how they relate to the audience – not where they are born. That said, Westwood was originally from Suffolk, MistaJam still lives in Nottingham, Semtex is from Manchester, DJ Q is from Huddersfield and Young Lion is from Gloucester – so a fair spread.

Programming wise, I don’t have a full list of guests yet, but in the next week they include Brighton’s Dismantle on Behind the Beats (Saturday 11pm); Birmingham MC Lady Leshurr presenting her Top 10 (Sunday 7pm); Midlands grime collective Stay Fresh on 100% HomeGrown (Sunday 10pm); TS7, who are from Bradford I believe, on the UKG Mix Show (Tuesday Midnight); and Lincoln’s Jakwob with his residency on MistaJam (Thursday 7pm).

I hope this reassure you that our London bias isn’t quite as pronounced as you perceive it.
Chris Humphrys
Content and Schedules Manager, Radio 1 and 1Xtra

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Saturday 5th November 2011

Dear Chris,

Thanks for your reply. No I am not reassured… I am just surer than ever that you are complacent.

The programme I referred to was representative of Radio 1Xtras broadcasting week, being a sample of the week’s programmes, and was therefore a fair sample of your output, as defined by yourselves.

Your point about the music industry being based in London is true… but my understanding about Radio 1Xtra was that it was attempting to tap into not just the commercial industry but the grass-roots artists, club culture and DJs… it is for this reason that the London bias of 1Xtra seems so particularly unfair upon non-London communities who are cut-off from this contact, and this national exposure.

I am already aware that some of your regular DJs were not born in London but they all spend their working lives in London.

I am not interested in regional ‘tours’… I am interested in your broadcasting on a daily/weekly basis from studios outside London, using DJs based outside London. It’s not rocket science! The BBC has radio studios all over the UK! People shouldn’t have to move to London to play an active role in the BBC.

Instead of waiting for people to send in ‘demos’ you should be in active contact with radio stations all around the country… many of which run on a shoestring and struggle to survive… contact with your station would be an amazing boost for these organisations. You are neglecting your natural audience and your potential talent pool. You are also ignoring and marginalising the very people which the BBC is supposedly wanting to engage, namely the young, politically aware minorities of northern towns and cities. Radio 1Xtra in its current form is not just a mis-use of license payers money, it is a massive wasted opportunity.