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Why BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra are opening up to audiences this month for Access All Areas

Piers Bradford

Commissioning Editor Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra

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So far this month we've seen the editor of Newsbeat dance like a loon to the Harlem Shake, the controller of Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra being forced to choose which female DJ he'd like to kiss and Sara Cox wrestle her producer to the ground.

This isn't exactly what we envisaged when we proposed that February should be Access All Areas month on Radio 1.

The month had 2 clear objectives:

  1. To be as open and transparent as possible for our young audience
  2. To celebrate and continue the stations digital innovation

We know how much our listeners like to see behind the scenes and get exclusive backstage access, so we are aiming to open up what Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra do across the entire month. The relationship between us and our audience feels close than it ever has. They have access to the inner thoughts of our DJs via Twitter. They can often get to watch, as well as listen to, our regular output. So the challenge for the month is how to bring them even closer.

The centrepiece of our Access All Areas activity has rapidly become Radio 1's first ever intake of interns.

Chosen from close to 900 applicants, the four paid interns have the chance to spend 8 weeks as part of the Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra team. We were keen to recruit the best young creative minds we could find, regardless of their experience or education - so the application process was to submit 2 pieces of content that they had produced - in whatever medium. To find out more about Kae, Alice, Moses and Pete, check out their Tumblr. We've also set them up with bespoke Twitter accounts (have a look at @firstname_intern).

By being on air, on social media and embedded within our production teams the interns should bring an unmoderated account of what really goes on to the wider audience. We have also tasked them to produce their fantasy radio show - in consultation with the Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra listeners. With no constraints on the playlist, the format or the presenters, it will be fascinating to hear what they come up with. It’s from 7 till 9pm on Wednesday, 27 February.

The process hasn't been without its bumps. But if we are going to be brave, innovative and open then I think that is inevitable. We may have slightly irked some artists, but it was worth it to live tweet the entire Radio 1 playlist meeting.

No, we didn't manage to fly a blimp up the atrium of New Broadcasting House, but the month is only half done and there are many surprises still to come.

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By:Larm 2013