Radio 1 Executive Dance producer Matt Priest chatted exclusively to Skrufff this week about the major line-up changes taking place on the station from July and re-affirmed the station's long term commitment to dance music.
"It's fair to say we've all had to reassess our role in the dance music firmament, but I'm really positive about the state of the scene today," said Matt.
"It questioned itself for a period, found its feet again and today it's firing on all cylinders."
While Radio 1's night-time schedule will be remaining heavily dance music based, Matt described the new programming changes as "the most dramatic overhaul we've ever had.'
"If you look at all the changes of the specialist programmes, 95% of the entire output has been altered in some way," he said.
"From a dance music perspective, we've brought the schedule in line with what our audience is doing and altered it to reflect what people are doing as well as making it more appropriate for where dance music is today."
Fridays will now be broadly themed around urban music (though Pete Tong keeps his regular 6-9pm slot) with Saturdays taking on what Matt dubs 'a broad sweep of dance music' starting with Judge Jules in the evening, running through until Sunday mornings at 7am. Jules' show will also be moving two hours later to start at 7pm each week.
"Switching Jules is about recognising the fact that dance music has become more specialist and his music is a more appropriate sound to have later," Matt continued.
"We're giving Jules the freedom to play the music he plays when he's out in clubs, on the radio."
Jules will be moving into the time slot currently occupied by Seb Fontaine, who's the only big name jock to be absent from the new schedule.
"We started from the position of wanting to move the specialist dance programmes later on a Saturday, and it's an unfortunate fact of life that there are only so many hours in the day and we didn't have the hours left to offer Seb a new show," said Matt.
"It's obviously disappointing for Seb but it's one of those difficult decisions you sometimes have to make, though having said that, Seb is still very much a part of our plans," he said.
"He's going to be doing Homelands for us next weekend as well as the Essential Mix in Ibiza. Seb recognises the situation and he's pointed out that it gives him the chance to DJ abroad at the weekends, which he hasn't been able to do for four years. He's also doing some great stuff with A&Ring so Seb is saying 'if ever there's a good time for these things to happen, then this is it'."
On a happier note, Eddie Halliwell and Nic Fanciulli will be joining Lottie as official Radio 1 residents ('they're both fantastic DJs and as individuals they've got that certain something extra' said Matt) while Chris Coco and Rob Da Bank gain an extra late night show on Sunday mornings (between 3am and 5am). Radio 1 veteran presenter Annie Nightingale also picks up a higher profile slot between 1am and 3am on Friday mornings and is joined by a brand new face; 23 year old Annie MacManus, who launches a clubbing show on Thursday evenings between 9 and 11pm.
"Annie is one of our team from the building, she's a new presenter who's really into her dance music," said Matt.
"Her show will be a clubbers' guide to dance music show, she's not going to be banging out white labels, she's going to be talking more about the records that Pete (Tong) breaks but more from the clubbers perspective. She's a broadcaster as opposed to a club DJ."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/schedule/july04.shtml (Full Radio 1 DJ Schedules from July)