Radio 1 Playlist? George Ergatoudis answers the questions

Words by: Polly Lavin
Posted: 27/6/11 12:55

Radio 1 Playlist? George Ergatoudis answers the questionsThe cycle of music is an ever-ending one according to George Ergatoudis, BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra's head of music and for the last 3 years guitar bands were de rigueur. Talking as part of a panel to outline his 'musical agenda and huge recent support for dance music's radio return' it appears all has changed in the last year in BBC HQ. The genre is firmly back on the playlist agenda for the station whose listeners rank at 13 million and age demographic ranges between 13 - 24 years old. It's all a little slightly contradictory and contrived coming from the Beeb's head of music however given the station already made a move with 'In New Music We Trust' and 'In New DJs we Trust' in 2007 to loudly say that the station was championing new music and talent of all forms including dance in its programming policy and playlists.

However, the dual purpose of 'Le Chief BBC' presence was to remove the many mysteries of being play-listed on the grand dame of broadcasting. If you are one of the many artists who have submitted material to the black hole of BBC Radio 1 only for dreams and hopes to be dashed by not being aired, read on. Given that single sales in the genre are up 13% on last year Ergatoudis declared "Dance music at the moment is simply massive to what we are doing" and the opportunity for electronic producers who wish to get airtime on Radio 1 is staggering. There is however a distinct difference between daytime and specialist music according to Ergatoudis who maintains the ears within the station develop 75% of the weekly 50 track playlist from a template of records that stem from specialist shows such as 1Xtra.

Radio 1Further maintaining these shows are vital to what the BBC do "We are always looking for new talent and DJs making waves/making music have included artists like Skream/Benga. We also listen to demo's and have a good ear to the ground watching which acts have got a good following in the clubs." For those determined to be play-listed on daytime radio his advice is "A track should be between 3 to 4 minutes and a good journey within that time" adding "The song is really important too. If you've got a unique voice and a different approach to music making that really excites us". There are also other ways to grab the attention of the play-list makers at the station. Producers and artists at an early stage of their career should consider building exposure and awareness via YouTube videos and other social media marketing tools and getting music tracks into advertising and synchronisation deals has seen tracks head straight in after the exposure to no.1 on the UK charts.

On the subject of how the station being publicly funded benefits the artists who submit material and might be unknowns Ergatoudis was clear in saying "We will take programming risks that commercial stations will not take. Once their hits on Radio 1 established commercial radio stations can take them over and support them"

The topic was interesting but Ergatoudis failed to answer in-depth or in follow up Q&A rumours that dogged the station in the past such as the only way to get play-listed on BBC Radio 1 was through bribes of money or offering their presenters and production team drugs. He did however admit 'It had been a long time since the only way to get play listed on the station was by offering staff drugs" and he had only one bribe of money offered to him during his career from a Canadian who was trying desperately to get airplay. He declined the offer.  He also declined to answer further questions regarding the stations policy on presenters who have been in place for over 20 years and which juxtaposes sharply against the ethic pronounced 'In New Music we Trust' and 'In New DJs We Trust' mantra.

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