17 February, 2015

Zane Lowe's Leaving Radio 1 Departure; Cause For Concern.

The news came out on Sunday that Zane Lowe, Radio 1 DJ and all-round music know-it-all, would be packing his bags and leaving BBC studios in March.


It was no coincidence that in 2003, two phenomenons came out of New Zealand; the Lord of The Rings films featuring the Kiwi's green pastures, and the other a sprightly DJ setting off on his own adventure between the XFM and BBC Radio 1 studios. Twelve years later, after a barrage of sirens and loops of twenty different nationalities pronounce 'Zane Lowe', before each song, and the man has announced that he will leave the BBC studios. The next chapter of his career lies in The States at Apple headquarters, and who can blame him. But what's going to happen to the holy grail of Radio 1; that 7pm-9pm Mondays-Thursdays slot?

The mixing desk is big to fill, but already Radio 1 bosses have found someone willing enough to see if the headphones fits. Annie Mac is no stranger to the radio game, and her shows often sound as if they could be replicated within a live festival capacity, which she often does. She's been at the station for almost as long as Lowe himself and has a firm grasp of what it takes to put together engaging shows and can chat to some of the biggest musicians out there without a starstruck gaze.

Return of the Mac... to a new time slot.
There's probably few other options the heads at Radio 1 thought of, so Mac is a reassuring choice. However, with all her expertise in the field of electronic dance music, which she already presents at 7pm on a Friday, you can't help but feel this could be a bit limiting when tuning into her first show on 9th March where you're greeted with a soothing voice and the intro to Route 94 instead of an ecstatic Lowe drilling Metallica to your core whilst whizzing onomatopoeic words over the airways.

The point is that Zane Lowe has built more than just the foundations for many acts and much of the music the nation, let alone other nations listen to today. Yes, he has his favourites; Enter Shikari often get more than their fair share of the pie but the enthusiasm that oozes from the New Zealander's twangs towards a largely versatile amount of music is unrivalled. It's whether genres such as rock, which is only just resurfacing due to the success of bands such as Royal Blood, also championed by Lowe, will continue to get the coverage they deserve amongst the dance and R'n'B scenes which have thrived for the past decade or so under Radio 1.

For all his annoying twists and fizzes, it's hard to name someone with quite so much enthusiasm and knowledge of the past, present and future of music. He's been capable of capturing some exclusive interviews with people such as Jay-Z and Chris Martin, right through to giving some of the smallest names a go on his show. Annie Mac is likely to mould the two hour slot in a way which probably reflects more on Lowe than herself, but will she still keep features such as 'hottest record in the world' and 'next hype'? Most probably not, but so long as Lowe passes on the baton of versatility and all things future, Mac should settle into the big chair soon enough. The question for everyone right now though is, Mr Lowe, which song shall you choose to play you out one last time?

(@JJShreeve)