BBC Radio 1Xtra celebrates its 10th Birthday on Thursday August 16th with a host of special programmes, performances and documentaries to mark the milestone.
The 12 days of celebrations (Thurs 16 - Mon 27 Aug) kick off on Thurs 16 with 10 live sessions from BBC Maida Vale Studios across the day - 1 per hour from 10am-7pm - with artists who have become friends of the network, including Jessie J and Professor Green, both of whom the station has championed from the very beginning, giving them their first ever national radio play.
Two special documentaries will tell the station’s history – The Story Of 1Xtra: The Creators (Sun 12 Aug) will tell the story of the build up to the station’s launch in 2002, while the The Story of 1Xtra: Ten Years In The Making (Sun 19 Aug), will tell how the network has grown over the last 10 years.
Radio 1Xtra launched on 16 August 2002, and over the past decade the station has played a pivotal role in changing the UK’s musical landscape, bringing urban music to the mainstream.
1Xtra has grown from a fledging digital network championing British black and urban music when few others were, to become a mainstream network with over one million listeners, which has helped to support the growth of Grime from a London-centric trend to a national phenomenon and supported artists from the start of their careers who have gone on to be massive stars including Plan B, Wretch 32 and Tinie Tempah.
The station has also been instrumental in supporting the best international urban music, being the first national UK station to playlist Kayne West in 2003, Rihanna in 2005 and Frank Ocean in 2011.
Ben Cooper, Controller, BBC Radio1 and 1Xtra, said: “BBC Radio 1Xtra celebrates a fantastic decade of championing black and urban music in the UK. It’s a privilege for myself and the staff of 1Xtra to have record listening figures, as the artists we have supported from the beginning, dominate the charts. Radio 1Xtra’s new schedule in September will see a new generation of presenters champion a new generation of artists for a new generation of listeners – it’s going to be exciting.”
Tinie Tempah, who the station has supported since 2006, says: “You guys have been a very, very fundamental part of my journey, without you guys I definitely wouldn’t be where I am. The reason why British black music is so predominant at the minute, is because there’s been a foundation, there’s been 10 years of people like yourselves… who have been drilling into the UK’s heads this is what you should be listening to.”
“Not only is this the 10th birthday for 1Xtra, but I’d say it’s the 10th birthday to celebrate the real beginning of the moment where British underground and urban music had an opportunity to really become big and become mainstream. If it wasn’t for 1Xtra there’s so many artists now who are touring across the world, or so many artists who have just got record deals a year ago, six months ago, that wouldn’t have because of this station.”
As part of the Maida Vale sessions on 16 August Charlie Sloth will take his infamous freestyle feature “Fire in the Booth” and present “Legends in the Booth”, paying homage to heritage artists. 1Xtra Hip Hop presenter DJ Semtex will collate a stellar cast of UK artists together to perform a live dubplate special all themed around 1Xtra, produced by Yogi. DJ Cameo who presents the MC Talent Contest Lyrical Master for 1Xtra will challenge celebrity MC’s to battle it out on the mic. 1Xtra’s Ronnie Herel will charge two of RnB’s newest stars to encapsulate 10 years of the biggest RnB tracks in one special 1Xtra RnB medley.
Throughout the week other 1Xtra shows will also celebrate 10 years of the station’s existence - Ace and Vis will be broadcasting every day throughout the 10th birthday period where they will have a DJ joining them every day to talk about their favourite 1Xtra moment and to go into the mix. A DJ Relay will run “horizontally” on the network through Ace and Vis’s show from Fri 17-Sat 25.
On Monday 27, Radio 1Xtra’s annual Notting Hill Carnival broadcast will have a 10th birthday spirit. Broadcasting live from the heart of Carnival 1Xtra will be wrapping up our celebrations with special live guests, artist freestyles and reflecting all the fun, entertainment and colour of Carnival.
Full details of the programming are:
Sunday 12 August
The Story of 1Xtra: The Creators, 9pm
Radio 1Xtra's DNA is revealed as the people who created the station tell of the build up to the 2002 launch.
In the years before 1Xtra, black music and especially American R&B and Hip-Hop was hugely popular, both in the mainstream music charts and on the UK's radio station playlists. However most British black music fans struggled to hear more than the odd, often over played, tracks as part of a wider radio offering. Specialist radio shows existed but were rare, often broadcast at inconvenient times either on a few legal stations or more commonly on pirate stations with unreliable signals and schedules.
With the help of those who were there, this programme will tell how the idea for a national black music radio station came about. We'll also hear how, once the licence was secured, managers, producers, DJs and other staff were sourced from across the UK. Some had local or regional radio experience, others had made a name for themselves on pirate stations, but many came without a radio background and instead lived and breathed the music at a grass roots, club and cultural level. For some of those who joined and launched 1Xtra it would be their first proper job.
Beyond the story of how it all came together, we'll also find out what became of some of 'The Creators' including how Reggie Yates went on to present Radio 1’s Official Chart and become a TV star; G Money's move to Nairobi, Kenya; Punjabi Hit Squad's Mark Strippel becoming Head of Music at BBC Asian Network and more.
Thursday 16 August
10 x Live Sessions from Maida Vale, 10am-7pm
1Xtra will deliver 10 bespoke live sessions where 10 artists who have become friends with the station over the years will perform live from the BBC Maida Vale Studios. Every hour from 10am-7pm 1Xtra will deliver a bespoke live session which together will portray the story of 1Xtra – the genres that we have supported, the artists that we have broken, the musical trends, the legacy that we have created and the story of urban music over the last 10 years. The sessions will kick off in Trevor Nelson’s show from 10am with performances from Jessie J and Professor Green. Other artists taking part across the day include Wretch 32, Sneakbo, Mic Righteous and Sincere. Many of the sessions will be curated by key 1Xtra DJ’s on the station, who will join 1Xtra Daytime DJ’s to introduce their chosen session.
Friday 17 August
Radio 1Xtra will re-broadcast its first ever show from 16 August 2002 (1am-7am). The show which was broadcast from Radio 1Xtra’s home - Yalding House - and includes live sets from around the country including Glasgow, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol and London.
Friday 17- Sat 25 August
10 years of 1Xtra in 10 days - DJ Relay
Back in June 2010 1Xtra broke the world record for the longest ever DJ relay. 82 DJs took part in this world record playing music from across the urban music genres from Hip-Hop, RnB, UKG, Dancehall, Drum & Bass to Dubstep. 1Xtra relied on some of their old 1Xtra DJ friends to help them break this world record and we’ll be asking them back to join us for our 10th birthday celebrations.
Ace and Vis will be broadcasting every day throughout the 10th birthday period where they will have a former 1Xtra DJ joining them every day to talk about their favourite 1Xtra moment and to go into the mix. A DJ Relay will run “horizontally” on the network through Ace and Vis’s show from Fri 17-Sat 25.
Sunday 19 August
The Story of 1Xtra: Ten Years In The Making, 9-10pm
In this programme we’ll hear how being prepared to take chances, to back the music and artists others won’t, and to make the station part of listeners lives has seen BBC Radio 1Xtra lead where others might follow.
Wretch 32 will tell how, thanks to 1Xtra, his music appeared on a radio station playlist for the very first time; Twin B will reflect the journey from first sending in a mixtape to today hosting the station’s breakfast show; and presenters old and new will explain the importance of the stations musical diversity and heritage.
From the start we’ll discover how BBC Radio 1Xtra gave opportunities to up and coming DJs from across the UK, ensuring this station was fully focused on the nation’s street music fans. And whether it’s at nightclubs, festivals, carnivals, student unions or other less likely locations, 1Xtra has always travelled the UK to link up with the listeners as they do their thing.
Beyond that 1Xtra has gone global, tuning into developing music scenes and cultures across the planet. Whether it’s DJ Semtex in New York, Benji B in Japan, Ronnie Herel in Jamaica, or the station’s African music presenter DJ Edu in... er, Somerset, the station and listeners are always on a voyage of musical and cultural discovery.
Of course beyond hearing the music, listeners want to hear from the stars, the artists, groups, performers and producers. Ace & Vis will talk of being the first to interview Dizzee Rascal and Tinie Tempah; DJ Semtex shares his cherished memories of getting face-to-face with Stevie Wonder; and Sarah Jane Crawford explains how she did the unexpected and had Joan Collins on her programme.
Monday 27 August
Live from Carnival, 1-7pm
As a finale to our 1Xtra 10th birthday celebrations 1Xtra will be broadcasting live from Notting Hill Carnival. 1Xtra’s Carnival broadcasts are an annual tradition. We’ll still be in the 10th birthday spirit, wrapping up our celebrations with special live guests, artist freestyles and reflecting all the fun, entertainment and colour of Carnival.
The schedule will include Sarah Jane Crawford broadcasting live from a secret location at Notting Hill Carnival (1-4pm); Ace and Vis also live from Carnival (4-7pm); Norman Jay Good Times at Notting Hill Carnival (recorded at the legendary Good Times soundsystem from Sunday 26th) (7-10pm); and Ronnie Herel hosts a 10th Birthday finale, reviewing the best moments form our birthday celebrations over the last 12 days from sessions to guests (10pm-1am).
If it wasn’t for 1Xtra there’s so many artists now who are touring across the world, or so many artists who have just got record deals a year ago, six months ago that wouldn’t have because of this station.”"