'Pop pensioners' are scuppering Radio 1’s bid to get down with the kids as over-55s refuse to switch stations

 

They are the pop pensioners who have gate-crashed Grimmy’s party and are ruining it for the kids. A hard core of listeners over the age of 55 are threatening Radio 1’s reinvention as a cool “youth” brand by refusing to switch off the station.

An analysis of Radio 1’s listeners has found that whilst the total audience shrank last year, including a loss of almost one million since Nick Grimshaw took over the Breakfast show, the proportion of over-55s tuning is has risen.

The BBC Trust has ordered the flagship pop station to focus on a younger 15-29 aged audience, after the average listener age rose to 32.

Grimshaw and a new presenter schedule, including rising star Jameela Jamil who took over the Official Chart Show in January, has been introduced, to target younger dance music and One Direction fans.

The strategy has encouraged a sizeable number of listeners aged 25-55, including a chunk of Chris Moyles’ former breakfast audience, to defect to other, more “age appropriate” stations, including Radio 2. The number of children aged 12 and above listening to Radio 1 is on the rise.

But the over 55s are refusing to leave the party and give up the Radio 1 of their youth. The Radio 1 market share among this age group increased from 1.3 to 1.6 per cent over the past year.

“R1 still faces significant trouble with the 55+ audience - they just don’t want to go,” said Matt Deegan, Creative Director at Folder Media, a radio consultancy which conducted the study.

“The 25-35s have taken a significant hit. Those 55+ wedded to Radio 1 cannot be shifted and their average hours are still good – keeping the station’s average age up.”

Deegan said: “It’s not cool if your dad likes the same youth brand as you. But older listeners are disappointed when they have to give up Radio 1. Listening to a station defines who you are as a person. A lot of people resist moving to Radio 2 and then they finally move in and they are happy.”

Ben Cooper, the Radio 1 Controller tasked with implementing the youth strategy, said evicting the grandparents was a “near impossible” task.

“Radio 1 is one of the most famous stations in the world and it’s a hard habit to break,” he said. “I’m 43 and I will always probably continue to listen to it because I love new music and I want to know what the next big thing is. There’ll always be a section of society, whatever age, who will want to do that.”

“The BBC Trust has asked me to lower the average audience age but there will always be an older section of society who continue to listen. There are more older people than younger people in the UK population and that will affect our average age.  You can’t tell people to stop listening.”

If you can’t shift them, you may as well entertain them, the station has concluded. “You have DJs like Annie Nightingale (73), Pete Tong (52) and Westwood (55), who have that passion for music and represent those listeners.”

The most common age for a Radio 1 listener is now 24, although the average is still pushing 30. Some of those over-55s will be parents listening in the kitchen or car, Cooper suggests.

He is not downhearted at average weekly audience of 10.3 million listeners in the first quarter of 2013, down 7.9 per cent year on year. Grimshaw’s breakfast audience has dropped by 950,000 listeners in six months to 5.8 million, the lowest figure since Sara Cox hosted the show in 2003.

“We are going to lose that group of people who have grown older with Moyles,” Cooper said. “The editorial content, music and presenters are focused on a 15-29 age audience and if that means there’s some listeners we can’t shake off then fine. I’m not in the job of saying you can’t listen to Radio 1.”

The proportion of 15-24 listeners is rising but Cooper would like the figures to include the millions who now access Radio 1’s content through its YouTube channel, a location the over-55s have yet to discover.

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most