Nick Grimshaw: Beneficial to Radio 1’s future?

“So, er, this is actually happening.”

“So, er, this is actually happening.”

Nick Grimshaw’s uneasy first words reflected the reluctance of the nation, who listened in anticipation on Monday 24th September 2012 to hear the voice of the next generation of the breakfast show.

The latest RAJAR listening figures, however, reveal that many of Chris Moyles’ older listeners may have not been as pleased with his replacement. From 6.73 million listeners when Moyles left the breakfast show, the 6:30-10am slot has faced a slight decrease to an average audience of 5.9 million.

Allegiance to Radio 2

It is considered that some devoted fans of ‘The Chris Moyles Show’ may have switched their allegiance to Radio 2. The station’s flagship morning show, fronted by Chris Evans, has swelled in support with almost one million extra listeners, allowing Radio 2 to extend their lead as the home of the UK’s most popular breakfast radio programme.

Nevertheless, Grimmy’s introductory figures stand side-by-side with Moyles’, who started the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 2004 with 5.93 million listeners, just marginally higher that Mr Grimshaw.

So it’s not all doom-and-gloom for the 28-year-old from Manchester.

Grimshaw lowering audience age profile

Ben Cooper, controller of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, will be particularly pleased with the effect Grimmy has had upon introducing nearly a quarter of a million extra listeners in the 15-24 age bracket within his first three months as the breakfast show host. A recent BBC Trust document had outlined Radio 1’s need to lower the station’s audience age profile, which the placement of Grimshaw has certainly accomplished.

Research has found that over the past five years radio listening among 15-24 year-olds has fallen by 16.9 per cent, with Grimshaw’s dramatic spike in listeners from this age category proving to be a meaner feat than originally considered.

In a world where radio is no longer the only source of new music, teenagers tend to turn to online sources to access the music they want, but Grimshaw’s chat, funny features and celebrity guests appear to have enticed listeners ahead of these online competitors.

In fact, the ‘Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw’ currently holds the highest proportion of 15-24 year-olds in any Radio 1 breakfast ratings for three years.

Veteran listeners could have been deterred

Veteran Radio 1 listeners who were discouraged from tuning in due to the apparent desired cull of older listeners could have been deterred even further after Grimshaw’s highly-speculated first song, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘N***as In Paris.’

Grimshaw’s audacious charm shone through this decision, ignoring any inner obligation to conform by playing a more BBC-friendly track, Grimmy says himself: “the ruder and cruder the lyrics, the better. Obnoxious hip hop is my favourite genre.”

Grimshaw’s bold selection represents his connection with the intended young demographic and his true love and devotion to music.

A reduced sense of choice

Following a long stint on the prestigious 10-till-Midnight slot, playing his favoured current artists and trendy-tracks alongside best friend and DJ Annie Mac, Grimshaw has had to become accustomed to a reduced sense of choice. Nevertheless, he has still managed to fill listener’s ears with an abundance of Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge and his personal favourite, One Direction.

Within his first show, Grimmy name-dropped the boy-band a grand total of 23 times, as well as continuously referencing Harry Styles, who he is repeatedly snapped with by the paparazzi on the celebrity party circuit.

There is no doubt that having Styles as a close companion will irrefutably attract teenage listeners, particularly females, with whom this ‘1D’ star is the figure of their infatuation as the UK’s current teen-heart-throb.

A friend to the stars

As a friend to the stars, Grimmy’s phone book is a list of the country’s elite with models, Kate Moss and Agyness Dean, joining Lily Allen, James Corden and former flatmate, fashion designer Henry Holland, as potential victims of his most popular radio feature ‘Call or Delete.’

Who would have thought that the most efficacious and creative item of one of the biggest radio programmes in the UK would come in the form of a practical joke?

The feature suffered unnecessary criticism, however, in light of the Australian DJ prank-call scandal, despite the “rigorous editorial procedures around the use of hoax calls on air” that a BBC spokesperson outlined. Nonetheless, the show took a minor hiatus in the wake of the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who took her own life after revealing medical details about the Duchess of Cambridge to Australian radio presenters.

The secret of Grimshaw’s success

The respectful decision is likely to have derived from Grimmy’s faithful production team, who are undeniably, the secret of his success.

The reliability and resourcefulness of Grimshaw’s ‘breakfast clique,’ which includes producer Matt Fincham, assistant producers Ian Chaloner and Fiona Hanlon, and social media producer Laura-May Coope, enables the continuous output of an entertaining show with engaging features, impressive guests and amusing dialogue.

It is without hesitation that the team behind a breakfast show are of equal significance to the presenter in regards to the overall success of the programme. You must simply take a look at Grimshaw’s predecessor to understand the sheer magnitude that the supporting voices on the show can have.

A prominent zoo-format no more

The Chris Moyles Show became renowned for its prominent zoo-format that combined the participation of multiple contributors, including sidekick Comedy Dave, newsreaders Dom and Tina, producer Aled, plus assistant producers, a role which Fincham previously held.

It was initially envisioned that, the transformation of the breakfast show would include the removal of this format, a particular wish held by Cooper. Within the first few weeks, this was somewhat apparent, but Grimshaw’s familiarity with having another agent, whose contributions he could deflect from, became increasingly evident.

Similarly to his predecessors Moyles, Evans, Sara Cox and Zoe Ball, Grimshaw also has a wealth of experience in television. The introduction of his voice to people’s mornings will not be too unfamiliar, with many acquainted to hearing his Northern tone at sunrise when watching T4 and Freshly Squeezed, which Grimmy fronted between 2007 and the shows’ culminations in late 2012.

RAJAR highlights increase of younger listeners

It seems that the RAJAR statistics highlight an even further increase of younger listeners to Radio 1, with Channel 4’s teenage morning audience redirecting to Radio 1 to follow Grimmy since the axing of T4 in December 2012.

There can be no denying that Moyles was one of the most talented and passionate radio broadcasters of his time, but like all things, everything must come to an end. There could have been no better substitute than Nick Grimshaw, who has embraced the role with observable dedication and a great hunger for the entire industry.

To a station that has faced a bout of negative coverage in the media in recent months, Grimmy is a breath of fresh air and evidence of a strong and lengthy future for Radio 1.

What do you think? Is Grimshaw performing well on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show? What is the direction of Radio 1 as a station? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.