Right of Reply: Matthew Bannister, Controller of Radio 1, has taken a lot of flak in '93. Here he has his say

THE CRITICISM

'One of two things will happen. Either in five years' time Radio 1 will have a couple of popular programmes but largely be a minority station, or that will start to happen and they will suddenly reverse their policy.' Gary Davies, 11 November, on announcing his departure

'Radio 1 still needs to take more risks . . . It should be looking for a new, not necessarily young audience.' John Peel

'Radio 1 can only now be a partial, prescribed, selective network, rationalised but heartless, surrendering its once grand claim to universality in favour of sadly narrowed horizons. In other words, classically Birtist.' Andy Medhurst, Observer

THE RESPONSE

'At a time of changing schedules and increasing competition, I would naturally expect Radio 1 to lose some audience. I still think that for the foreseeable future, Radio 1 will remain the UK's most popular radio station. Our role is to maximise audiences at all cost, our role is to deliver the most exciting, creative, innovative programmes that we can to the most substantial audience. I don't think that a radio station that has Steve Wright on the breakfast show is likely to be unpopular, or marginalised or in the cultural ghetto.

'I think it's important that we don't become a minority interest radio station because one of our major roles is the development of new musical talent. If we are going to develop new talent, we need an audience to deliver it to. Our challenge is to balance distinctiveness with popularity. The new schedule should do that.

'I would expect that some people will leave the station because audiences are by and large conservative and they don't like change. However, I do expect a new audience to come in and I expect to retain a lot of the existing audience.'

(Photograph omitted)

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