Sunday 25 September 2016

Ex-BBC DJ Zane Lowe 'not sure Apple needs' Beats 1 radio station

Published 29/09/2015 | 15:05

DJ Zane Lowe left BBC Radio 1 to join Apple's Beats 1 station
DJ Zane Lowe left BBC Radio 1 to join Apple's Beats 1 station

DJ Zane Lowe has said he is unsure if technology giant Apple needs the digital radio station he left the BBC to front.

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Lowe, who quit Radio 1 to join Apple's Beats 1 radio station earlier this year, appeared at the Radio Festival at London's British Library for an on-stage chat with his former boss, Radio 1 and Radio 1xtra boss Ben Cooper.

Asked to explain why Apple needs the new radio station, he said: "I'm not sure that they do. We're working this out. Time will tell.

"We've been going for three months. For me to sit here and say 'Wow! Here's 10 reasons why we need Beats 1' ... I don't know what the answer is."

Lowe said Beats 1 has a "start-up" feel, adding : "We're three months old, and babies make a lot of noise, and they look at the world all wide-eyed, and they shit everywhere. That's what Beats 1 is."

The station, which broadcasts around the clock and around the world, launched three months ago.

"It opened up the possibility of something new to me," Lowe said. "We found some language that is common for people and I truly believe that is music."

The controller rounded off the discussion by presenting Lowe with a metallic disc bearing the Radio 1 logo. A visibly touched Lowe then took on a more serious tone as he spoke up for his old employer - saying: "It pains me to see the BBC under fire."

He added: "I want to say it on public record, that the BBC's place in British culture and the market of media and music and entertainment and news is second to none. And I believe in the BBC, and I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the BBC."

Looking back on his decision to leave the Radio 1, Lowe said: "Leaving somewhere like the BBC is not cut and dry. You don't make that decision lightly at all," comparing it to playing for football team Real Madrid: "It's like playing for the best team."

And he revealed his indecision over whether to take the job, saying: "The job wasn't advertised, the job came along at a moment which was very unexpected because I was very happy.

"When I said yes, I felt like I said 'no', and then 'yes', and then 'I'm not sure'."

His former BBC boss laid out the task ahead in defending his radio station, saying: "My job at the moment is to say that Radio 1 is as culturally important as the Tate Modern, as the Royal Opera House, as the Old Vic.

"Radio 1, through its presenters ... has given young audiences over many generations the soundtrack to their teenage years. And for me, that cultural significance needs to be shouted from the rooftops."

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