Clara Amfo: Radio 1’s new chart host must placate pop's fan armies - the Swifties and Azaleans

Amfo describes her role as a 'fun ringleader'

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The Independent Culture

When Alan “Fluff” Freeman was unveiling hits in the Sixties, his thoughts were on the microphone and the vinyl – but the new presenter of the  BBC Radio 1 chart show has other concerns.

Clara Amfo, who The Independent can reveal will be announced today as the new host of the iconic show, faces the task of placating the disparate “fan armies” – from the country singer Taylor Swift’s “Swifties” to Iggy Azalea’s “Azaleans” – who put great importance on the chart placing of their favourite artists.

It means Amfo will have to concentrate as much on social media as her predecessors once did on the stylus.

“Working in radio you can see how those fan bases  interact,” said Amfo, 28. “They all bounce off each other and like to goad each other. You will see Taylor Swift fans go at Beyoncé fans, and Nicki Minaj fans go at Iggy Azalea fans.”

Amfo, who grew up in Surrey as the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, described her role as a “fun ringleader”.

With Radio 1 becoming a feature of the BBC iPlayer, Amfo will be the face as well as the voice of the show, which dates back to the earliest days of the network in 1967.

She said the rise of the fan armies and the voices they have on social media have given new relevance to the chart show and made many listeners feel closer to the process.

“The chart show is the proof of the pudding,” Amfo said. “Every artist wants to have the No 1 single and every fan of that artist wants to say they had a part in it.”

Amfo said she felt some pressure at bringing sad tidings to armies of teenagers.

“I’m the voice that’s telling them that their efforts haven’t been good enough to get their artist to No 1. If they need someone to have a go at, it’s going to be me – but I’m ready for it.”

Amfo succeeds Jameela Jamil, who is taking a more flexible role at Radio 1, following concerns over her health.

“I’ve wanted to travel and work abroad my whole life, and always put it off due to the wonderful opportunities I have been afforded here, but a recent cancer scare jolted me to just do it, now, while I still can,” she said. “I am absolutely staying at the station but in a role that is flexible enough that I can leave the country for longer periods of time, than if I have a set weekly slot.”

Amfo joined the BBC digital station 1Xtra after studying media at St Mary’s University in Twickenham and joining Bauer Radio’s Kiss network as a marketing trainee.

She will host her first show on 25 January and continue to present a weekend breakfast show on 1Xtra.

Standing to attention: fan armies

Taylor Swift: Swifties

Iggy Azalea: Azaleans

One Direction: Directioners

Beyoncé: the Beyhive

Nicki Minaj: Barbz and Kenz

Bruno Mars: Hooligans

Ellie Goulding: Gould Diggers

Katy Perry: KatyCats

Selena Gomez: Selenators

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