CV: Andy Parfitt Deputy controller, Radio1

`SUDDENLY WE FOUND OURSELVES IN THE BACK OF A SHACK PUTTING OUT MUSIC FOR THE SQUADDIES AND FLYING ROUND IN HELICOPTERS GETTING REQUESTS FROM MISSILE SITES...'

I went to drama school in Bristol in the early Eighties, and then, when I was 18, to the Old Vic Theatre School to do their production course. But I didn't really like the theatre very much: the real reason I went there was because there was a radio side to the course, and I had been mad about radio since I was about eight or nine. I listened to Radio 4, Radio Luxembourg, Radio 1 and pirate radio, and so this course seemed to be a way in to it. It was also a way to meet people from the BBC, who came to the school to despatch their pearls of wisdom.

I worked briefly in theatre, before applying for a job with the BBC as a trainee studio manager. I got it, and worked on anything from the midnight news to the Radio 3 drive time show, on the engineering side of things. Then I started doing sessions for Radio 1 up at Maida Vale - I actually worked on a John Peel session - and from that moment had an ambition to get into the music side. I'd played the trumpet in a band back in Bristol, and was passionate about pop music, and so it seemed like the right thing to do.

But then, in 1984, I left the BBC, because I got the opportunity to go and work for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. I went to the Falklands with one other guy to run the radio station there for the troops and be a DJ, and though it was two years after the war had ended, the place was still in a mess. Suddenly, we found ourselves in the back of a shack putting out four hours of music sequence for the squaddies, and flying around in helicopters getting requests from missile sites. In that situation, everyone listens to you, and everyone is desperate to meet you and have records dedicated to their wives and children.

But after six months or so I was invited to come back to the BBC and be a producer on a youth programme for BBC Radio Education, with Andy Peebles as a presenter - Education's attempt at "cool" in 1985. My ambitions were in very high-minded radio then, and I went on from that to work for Radio 4, making programmes like Bookshelf and Pick of the Week, as well as my own features, for which I won some Sony Awards.

Then, in 1990, when Radio 5 was going to be launched, I went to see Pat Ewing, who was to be its controller, and was given the chance to be editor of the Radio 5 breakfast show and assistant editor for the network. Although my ideas of how a radio station should work were thought of as radical - because I'd seen how the BFBS had worked - fortunately Radio 5 wanted to try and do things a different way, too. And, with Danny Baker, I invented the sports phone-in programme, Six-O-Six, before having him on the breakfast show for a time.

Then I left to join Radio 1, applying for the job as chief assistant to the then controller, Johnny Beerling. But he was about to hand over to Matthew Bannister, whom I first met in the autumn of 1992. Matthew asked me what I thought of Radio 1, and I told him I thought it was a bit of a shambles. When I'd first come to the BBC, I'd tried to interest Radio 1 in a feature about the New York rap scene, and they didn't want to know. A very famous Radio 1 DJ at the meeting was asked what he thought of hip-hop, and he just got up and hopped from side to side in a joky manner. It didn't mean anything to them.

Matthew and I worked together on all the changes, deciding what Radio 1 should be, who we should have on - the whole thing. We had a really clear vision of targeting 15- to 24-year-olds, and putting new music first. I knew we had to convince the audience, opinion-formers and the media, but even when we were getting a lot of flak, I still felt strongly that we were doing the right thing.

Since last September, when Matthew became director of radio, I've been the deputy controller. And now, after three or four years, everybody understands what Radio 1's position is, and why it's different from commercial radio. I've made it right: I've hired the Westwoods and the Ramplings, and all those people who've made the radio station credible. It's modern, with efficient ways of working, and we know exactly where every penny of licence- payers' money is going. It's something I'm very proud of, and I want it to work as well as it can.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

Trend Writer / Copywriter

£25 - 30k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Trend Writer / Copywriter: Retail, Design and...

Business Development Manager / Media Sales Exec

£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

Digital Marketing Assistant

£17 - 27k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Digital Marketing Assistant to join ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering