BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra controller Andy Parfitt steps down after 13 years | Music News

Andy Parfitt, the controller of British national station BBC Radio 1 and digital station BBC Radio 1Xtra announced today he is to leave his position after 13 years to pursue new opportunities.

Andy, whose current role also incorporates the Asian Network and popular music, will leave at the end of this month (July 2011). Speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat he said, “It’s a big deal for me and I feel it’s the right thing for me to do.”

Parfitt has led Radio 1 and 1Xtra to record audiences, with Radio 1’s reach at nearly 12 million listeners weekly and his 13 years as the top dog makes him the longest serving controller Radio 1 has had since its launch in 1967.

Radio 1 has been transformed from a purely analogue station to a fully interactive multi-platform network with Andy building the network’s reputation for public service radio through high quality entertainment, news, documentaries, social action and support for new and live music.

Speaking of Radio 1 in its current form he says, “It’s in great shape, prepared now for the world of the web and visual content. It’s a remarkable achievement for the BBC to have a youth service that is as important and relevant now as it was back in the late ’60s.”

When asked by Newsbeat what he will miss the most he responds, “The DJs, they are special people – I will miss dealing with them day to day.”

“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,” says Director of the BBC’s Audio and Music Tim Davie. “He has been an inspirational leader within the BBC and highly respected across the whole of the radio industry.”

Some of his DJ colleagues have also been paying tribute:

BBC Radio 1 DJ  Zane Lowe: “The man literally changed my life. His confidence in us as a team and constant support has been the foundation on which I’ve built my loyalty to Radio 1. I wish him nothing but the best.”

1Xtra’s DJ Target tweets: “Big shout to Andy Parfitt! The man behind the madness steppping down as Radio1/1xtra controller after 13 years. Top bloke” with Mistajam adding “Really sad to hear my boss, the controller of @BBCR1 & @1Xtra Andy Parfitt is leaving. Someone phone the queen; arise Sir Andy Parfitt!”

DJ Trevor Nelson from both Radio 1 and 1Xtra also paid tribute: “Andy is one of the most inspirational and passionate men I have met in this business. He is the best boss ever.”

Both on air talent and staff in production from both stations have nothing but praise for Andy and, having worked under him myself, I have to co sign all of it! A forward thinking, supportive boss with nothing but team solidarity for BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra alike, he’ll be sorely missed. The next boss has big shoes to fill. Salute!

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