Andy Parfitt leaves Radio 1 after 13 years as Controller
BBC Director of Audio & Music Tim Davie has announced today that Andy Parfitt, Controller of BBC Radio 1, is to leave the station after 13 years.
Andy will relinquish the reins at Radio 1 and also Radio 1Xtra, the Asian Network and Popular Music – at the end of July to pursue new opportunities.
Appointed Controller, BBC Radio 1, in March 1998, Andy has led Radio 1 and 1Xtra to record audience figures – Radio 1's reach increasing to nearly 12 million listeners a week – and significant growth for the Asian Network. He has built Radio 1's reputation for public service radio through high quality entertainment, news, documentaries, social action campaigns and support for new music, and successfully transformed the network from a purely analogue offering to a fully interactive and innovative multiplatform proposition.
Andy Parfitt said: "I am immensely proud to have held this position and I leave with all three stations in great shape with their listening figures at record highs and following a great BBC wide Glastonbury event. I'm most proud of the incredible teams I'm leaving behind – a group of talented, hardworking, creative and inspirational people who are a credit to the BBC."
Tim Davie, Director, Audio & Music, said: "Andy has been a fantastic Controller and leaves Radio 1 in rude health – with distinctive, high quality programmes and record listening figures – having transformed the station into a fully interactive digital proposition. He has been an inspirational leader within the BBC and is highly respected across the whole of the radio industry."
Andy will take up new challenges both inside and outside of the BBC, working part-time for BBC Radio on leadership development and taking on an advisory role with Comic Relief – working alongside Chief Executive Kevin Cahill and his team of directors – as well as developing new opportunities outside of the organisation.
Tim Davie will soon begin the recruitment process to appoint a new Controller. In the interim, Deputy Controller of BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra, Ben Cooper will become Acting Controller BBC Radio 1 and 1Xra.
During Andy's 13-year tenure he has been committed to ensuring that Radio 1 plays a unique role in providing high quality, public service radio offering innovative and distinctive content. This includes a huge diversity of music genres – both across peak-time programming and through specialist shows – plus support for unsigned British talent, alongside peak-time news programmes, challenging documentaries and social action campaigns for young audiences.
Under his stewardship, Radio 1 has become a multimedia network, with over two million people browsing the website every week – making sure Radio 1 is a central driver for the BBC in engaging with younger audiences.
In 2003, he introduced one of the BBC's flagship events to the calendar. Radio 1's Big Weekend is now the UK's biggest free ticketed music festival and this annual event travels to a different location every year leaving an incredible musical and cultural legacy as well as boosting the local economy of the area.
In 2002, Andy oversaw the conception and launch of BBC Radio 1Xtra. The digital radio station acts as a complementary station to Radio 1 and now reaches nearly 900,000 listeners each week making it the fastest growing youth digital station in the UK.
In December 2008, Andy added the role of Controller, BBC Popular Music, to his existing portfolio of BBC services and has been responsible for driving the BBC's popular music strategy forward across all platforms.
In 2007, Andy was asked to care-take the role of Controller of BBC Radio 5 Live and the Asian Network. He took full-time responsibility for the Asian Network in April 2008 and has overseen a revamp of the network's schedule and in the last 12 months, the Asian Network's reach has increased by 40%.
During his time at the BBC Andy also worked on the development and implementation of BBC Switch – a range of content for 12- to 17-year-olds which was delivered across multiple platforms (TV, radio and online) between 2007 and 2010, as part of the BBC's Creative Future Strategy.
Andy joined Radio 1 as Chief Assistant to the Controller in 1993, after being an integral part of the launch team for Radio 5 Live. He initially joined the BBC as a studio manager in 1979, then he took up a British Forces Broadcasting Services secondment in the Falkland Islands, before moving on to become a producer in BBC Education, then to Radio 4 where he also presented on air.
Bob Shennan, Controller Radio 2 and 6Music, will take responsibility of Popular Music and the Asian Network.