There are lots of things that have been making me feel old this week. David Beckham retiring from football at the great age of 38. The character in Claire Messud's new novel The Woman Upstairs who says: "The age of 37 [is] the time at which you have to acknowledge once and for all that… you'll probably never be president, or a millionaire…" Realising that I am one of those women who would just like Marks & Spencer to stick to sensible clothes made of natural fibres and stop trying to do fashion. But not the fact that I don't like Radio 1 anymore. I haven't liked Radio 1 anymore for a very long time. I am 37, dear!
Nonetheless, that poor boy Nick Grimshaw has been taking some flak in the past week because his Radio 1 Breakfast Show has lost nearly a million listeners in the station's drive to target a younger audience. The station got rid of the very popular Chris Moyles last year and it seems that many of his fans are leaving, too – most of them to Chris Evans at Radio 2. "The aim is to get the average age lower, with more teenagers listening," insists Grimshaw. A Radio 1 spokesman confirms: "We didn't expect this to be easy or painless. We're not panicking."
For some reason, though, commentators all seem to think that the evacuation of older listeners to Radios 2, 3 and 4 is a terribly shocking thing.
"Even the Today programme on Radio 4," reported one newspaper last week, frequently has a bigger audience than Grimshaw's breakfast show. Well, there's a reason for that: Radio 1 is aimed at teenagers, and the Today programme at grown-ups, and there are more grown-ups than teenagers in the UK. In fact, under-16s in the UK account for 18 per cent of the population, compared with 20 per cent for those over state pensionable age, according to the Office for National Statistics figures from 2010. Between 1911 and 2011, the proportion of the total population aged between 0 and 14 nearly halved, while the number of over 65-year-olds, as a proportion of the total, more than trebled. We have a rapidly ageing population, so obviously there are millions of people arthritically turning the FM dial towards the lower 90s tutting, "That's not singing, that's just shouting", and wondering why all the footballers are looking younger these days.
Those that aren't need to realise: Radio 1 is not for you! Do you wear your trousers slung around your thighs? Do you think that the long, hot summer of 1976 was a mythical time round about the era of King Arthur? Do you think of Star Trek as a new film starring Chris Pine? No? Then it's time that you moved on to more a suitable radio station.
It's OK: you don't immediately have to start listening to The Archers. (Though when you do, inexplicably you will know exactly who everybody is and what is happening and feel strangely comforted.) But you'll feel so relieved when you stop trying to enjoy teenagers' radio. And the great thing about listening to the Today programme? It makes you feel really, really young.Reuse content