The BBC revealed today that the new controller of BBC Radio 1, and 1 Xtra, will be Ben Cooper who takes over from Andy Partfitt who left earlier this year. Previous controllers of the radio station include Douglas Muggeridge, Matthew Bannister and Derek Chinnery.
Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio & Music, today confirmed Ben Cooper as the new Controller of BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra. Ben has been Acting Controller, BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra since July 2011, prior to which he was Deputy Controller from February 2009, running Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra day to day and being the strategic lead for both stations. He will take up the role with immediate effect and report to Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio & Music.
“I am delighted to announce Ben Cooper as Controller of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. It is excellent to have someone of Ben’s calibre and experience to lead Radio 1 and keep the station as relevant, popular and distinctive as ever. Ben has an outstanding track record at Radio 1 and 1Xtra, where he has played an integral role in developing the quality and reach of both networks, and I look forward to working with him in building Radio 1’s digital future.” – Tim Davie
“This is a dream come true. I’m honoured to be leading the BBC’s youth music radio stations and care deeply that Radio 1 & 1Xtra lead the way in shaping media consumption for young audiences in the UK.” – Ben Cooper
Ben, 41, began his career in BBC Local Radio, presenting and producing on Hereford & Worcester and as a journalist at Three Counties Radio before becoming a producer at Radio 1. He then spent some time in the commercial sector at Capital Radio as an Executive Producer, before returning to Radio 1, first as Head of Mainstream then as Head of Programmes. During his time as Deputy Controller, Ben successfully implemented a major revamp of Radio 1’s schedule and moving Fearne Cotton to weekday mornings, Greg James to lunchtimes and Dev to early breakfast; as well as introducing a new specialist line-up with documentaries, a brand new review show and In New DJs We Trust moving into the heart of the weeknight schedule.
Ben is responsible for introducing BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards to the schedule in 2010. Now in its second year, the event honours teen heroes alongside celebrities in a star-studded ceremony. Earlier this year, Ben also launched Radio 1’s Big Conversation – an annual event that brings young people, politicians and youth organisations together to discuss the hopes and fears of young people in the UK. Radio 1 was named Station of the Year at the Music Week Awards in 2010 and currently reaches nearly 12 million listeners a week with its high quality and distinctive content – making sure that Radio 1 is a central driver for the BBC in engaging with younger audiences.
Under Ben’s leadership, in January 2011 Radio 1Xtra’s daytime schedule was refreshed bringing Twin B to Breakfast, moving Trevor Nelson to mornings and Gemma Cairney to afternoons with Westwood continuing on afternoons. The station is currently reaching just under one million listeners. Between 2006 and 2008, Ben was Head of Programmes, Radio 1. During this time he hired Vernon Kay, Greg James, Nick Grimshaw, Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates; and extended The Chris Moyles Show by half an hour. He was Head of Mainstream for Radio 1 from 2003-2006 and an Executive Producer at Capital Radio from 2001 to 2003. Ben succeeds Andy Parfitt, who left Radio 1 after 13 years in July 2011, and will sit on the Audio & Music Board.