How Annie Mac lets radio rule in the digital age

Radio is changing. As the world of social media and advanced technology continues to be embraced, it is changing how stations and programme makers approach the idea of the one-to-one relationship between the listener and the medium.

This is particularly the case of Radio 1, as the BBC station looks to engage younger audiences through more platforms beyond radio, from mobile and Twitter to Facebook and YouTube.

The change in how radio is consumed happens as a change takes place in how music is consumed. In the digital age, there are numerous ways to hear new music beyond the radio and going to a shop to buy a record, from Facebook fan pages to hearing something on SoundCloud or iTunes.

The social connection

Yet, as how we consume radio and music changes, at the intersection of this change comes one person who gets it, who understands the direction things are going in the respective industries, and with the utilisation of all platforms allows the one-to-one interaction between a listener and the radio to become more.

That interaction becomes a conversation between friends, between fans, between people who share a passion for music, and it will not become dull anytime soon.

That person is Annie Mac.

Four months ago the Radio 1 DJ, known for her dance music programme on Friday nights, took over the Monday-Thursday 7pm slot as Zane Lowe departed the station to work for Apple. In those four months, Mac has not only been able to keep the mission of new music, a trademark of the coveted timeslot, going, but at the same time, make it more than just new music.

Her show becomes that conversation, whether you’re wondering about a particular artist you like, trying to find something new to hear, or if you’ve had a rubbish day and just need to recover and refocus on what’s ahead. Whatever your reason, these two hours are for you.

Some of the features include items popularised before she took over, notably The Hottest Record in the World, debuting some of the new records from the world’s top acts. That becomes part A of the conversation, where music fans come together through Facebook, Twitter, or text to Radio 1, thinking about that single, if it was good or if it was subpar. It unites music fans everywhere, and has that buzz that allows people to come back, wondering what’s next.

The one-to-one chat

There are also features that she made her own and brought over, including my personal favourite, the Musical Hot Water Bottle, done on Monday nights. It incorporates the new music element, allowing Mac to give recommendations, but also allows for a pause to think, focus, regroup, and decompress the stress of everyday life.

Here social media is no longer a necessity but merely a want, and all that is needed is you and your radio. Mac takes care of the rest.

In an age where there are so many ways to hear music and to experience it through the medium of radio, whether old or new, the relationship between the presenter and the listener is essential in spite of new technologies to come. Mac, in her own way, has made that clear with this show. That is what keeps listeners coming back and has allowed Mac to become appointment listening.

So whether you’re a new music fan or just looking for a good soundtrack, give it a listen. It’ll be some of the best things you’ll hear in your day, and can show you the power of radio, something that won’t fade away anytime soon.

Annie Mac’s weekday programme can be heard on BBC Radio 1 Monday-Thursday from 7-9pm. Have your say about her show in the comments section below.