Junior Choice


When Whitney Houston sang, “I believe that children are our future”, she wasn’t talking about radio.

Young people aren’t listening to the radio. They’re too busy doing other things, mostly online. They get their music from Spotify or download it for free from elsewhere. Radio One’s average listening age is 32. Kids haven’t been habitually recording chart shows or found anything exciting about listening to someone counting backwards for two hours, even if their favourite song has jumped “six big places this week”, for twenty years.

Ben Cooper, the controller of Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra, announced that his strategy was to reach a younger audience, so he ditched Chris Moyles from the breakfast show four years ago and replaced him with Nick Grimshaw. The results? Nick Grimshaw’s breakfast show shed more than half-a-million listeners.

It’s adults that are keeping Radio One’s numbers up, not kids. Meanwhile, Radio 2 and Radio 4 stay strong because they are aimed at grown-ups.

So it’s strange that when you listen to most commercial radio breakfast shows in Britain, they sound like they’re aimed at kids. The presenters sound like children’s TV presenters, in fact some of them ARE ex-children’s television presenters. It’s a boy and a girl without last names. The contests are all aimed at kids and if you do hear a caller on the air, it’s usually a kid. They even have features like ‘Kid of The Week’, ‘Weather kid’ and ‘Kid in The Car’. Why are they targeting the demographic that is least likely to listen to them?

It’s time for radio to give up on the kids. Radio is a medium for adults. Kids may grow into it as they get older but right now, it’s not for them so let’s stop pretending it is.

Craic on!

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