Entertainment & Arts

Radio 1 to play more music from the UK

Zayn Malik and Ariana Grande Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The current Radio 1 playlist is evenly split between UK artists like Zayn Malik and international acts like Ariana Grande

The BBC is to strengthen its focus on new and homegrown talent on its national music stations Radio 1 and Radio 2.

The move follows government criticism the stations were not distinctive enough, and were putting commercial rivals at a disadvantage.

But a BBC review said almost 90% of songs played on Radios 1 and 2 were not played by any other station.

However, it proposed the commitment to UK artists should be strengthened.

Radio 1's current A playlist, which dictates the songs played most often during daytime listening hours, features nine international acts and six from the UK.

On Radio 2, seven British and three US acts make up the current A-list.

In its review, the BBC said it wanted to "ensure that Radio 1 and Radio 2 have a strong commitment to new and UK music so that a strong proportion of the new music in daytime on Radio 1 and Radio 2 should be from the UK".

Exactly how much new UK music will be played on the two stations will be discussed with the BBC's regulator - but the broadcaster noted that both Radio 1 and Radio 2 exceed the current quotas.

Image copyright AP
Image caption US pop act DNCE are currently on both the Radio 1 and Radio 2 playlist with their breakout hit Cake By The Ocean

The review document also compared how the two stations remain distinctive from each other.

It said Radio 1 shares just 6% of the music it plays with Radio 2; while Radio 2 shared 5% of its tracks with Radio 1.

When they share a song - at the moment US pop act DNCE is on the A-list at both stations - the following track is supposed to provide distinctiveness.

"Adele, for example, is 27, still within Radio 1's target age range, but her songs have an almost universal appeal," said the report.

"Ultimately, however, the difference between the two stations is the next track after Adele: On Radio 1 it will often be a cutting edge track from a brand new band; on Radio 2 it is more likely to be a classic '60s or '70s song."

Other measures suggested to improve the networks' distinctiveness included a commitment to more social action campaigns on Radio 1 and strengthening the coverage of arts on Radio 2.

The review comes shortly ahead of a government white paper on the future of the BBC, which is expected to be published in May.

The future funding and scope of the BBC will be decided later this year as its Royal Charter is renewed.

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