Why Scott Mills is the new saviour of Radio 1

On 11 July 2012, the former Radio 1 Breakfast Show host (and self-styled saviour of Radio 1) Chris Moyles announced that he would be leaving his show at the end of September. The final installment – on Friday 14 September 2012 – featured a live, red-button broadcast on the BBC, and brought to an end an eight-year stint as one of Radio 1‘s most outspoken and popular presenters. The saviour was no more, and the baton was passed to the young pretender, Nick Grimshaw. While he may divide opinion (and I don’t believe he is as good as Moyles used to be), there is a man – Scott Mills – who hosts the 1-4pm slot on a weekday, who is.

Mills had previously been touted as a replacement for Moyles while he was still at the station, but with Grimshaw taking over (and Mills being 40), it would appear his chance has gone. This has not stopped him however from being – in my opinion – one of the best DJs on Radio 1. He recently took over the Breakfast Show for a two-week stint, and some YouTube/Twitter comments called for him to be made the host permanently. As good as I think he is, I still think his current position suits him best, as the most entertaining DJ should be on air at a time when the vast majority of Radio 1’s audience are likely to be listening.

The earliest I can remember listening to Mills’ show was in 2005 (when Chappers, or Mark Chapman was still present). These days, Chris Stark has taken over his role, to an extent, and I believe the current pairing is as good as Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave used to be in their heyday. The fact they are always at the forefront of news – Scott recently attended the One Direction Film Premiere in London, conducted a telephone interview with Lady Gaga, and sent another Chris Stark interview around the globe, featuring Jennifer Aniston (the previous one with Mila Kunis garnered over 11m views). Forget any negative comments Stark’s awkward interview technique may have generated from some foreign media – the fact his interviews had so much publicity in the first place is what makes them so great. How much attention did Radio 1 get for them? How many of the other interviews with Aniston/Kunis went under the radar?

Some of the YouTube/Twitter replies to the video suggested that some people dislike Nick Grimshaw being on breakfast, but I can understand why a change may have been needed, as eight years is a long time to be the host. It had to happen at some point. I recently caught Grimshaw’s interviews with Miley Cyrus and Hugh Jackman, and they were pretty good, to be fair, so perhaps the stick Nick gets is a bit unjustified.

If you are a regular listener of Mills, you’ll know all about the features on the show – including Innuendo Bingo, which involves Stark and a celebrity guest attempting to keep water in their mouths, as clips – which could be misconstrued as innuendo – are played through their headphones. The object of the game is to stop the water from spraying out all over the other person. Suffice to say, they fail every time.

For a station that is primarily aimed at the 15-29 age group, it is surprising that a presenter who is older than this is still so popular. Perhaps it’s the experience, or maybe the addition of the younger Stark has given the show a new lease of life. There are a few younger names – Gemma Cairney, Matt Edmondson, etc. who have recently featured during the weekday slots. However, it is the familiar, old head of Mills, which is keeping his show at the top, for me. (The only surprising statistic is that he still lags some way behind Moyles in terms of Twitter followers – 995k, compared to Moyles’ 3m). Perhaps people aren’t quite ready to give up on the former saviour, just yet…

Scott Mills is broadcast every weekday afternoon on BBC Radio 1 from 1:00-4:00pm.

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