Radio 1Xtra, otherwise more simply known as 1Xtra, is a digital radio station by the BBC. The station plays mostly R&B music for its listeners, and it has attracted a huge loyal audience since it launched back in 2002. In fact, a survey covering the period from July 2019 through to December 2019, showed that the station boasted a total of 987,000 listeners per week.
This article will cover everything that you want to know about Radio 1Xtra, from the history of the station and what frequency you can listen on, down to what festivals and events that it hosts.
So what actually is BBC 1Xtra? Well, it’s a digital radio station that plays Hip Hop, Grime, R&B and Drum and Bass genres of music. It focuses on these styles of music and that’s why it’s so popular with its listeners. The typical audience is between 15 and 30 years old. This differs from its sister station Radio 1, whose audience is typically around the 35 age mark.
If you haven’t yet listened to the station, and think you might enjoy the style of music they play, then you should check out the radio 1xtra playlist. All you need to do is head to their website for details. Examples of some songs in the summer of 2020 are Dinner Guest by AJ Tracey featuring MoStack, Trap Back by Chris Brown x Young Thug featuring Major Nine and ROCKSTAR by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch.
As well as playing music, the station also has its own news broadcasting system. It provides its listeners with up to date news and information from around the world. This news summary is in keeping with its target audience in terms of style and presentation. So listening to the station will not only provide you with great music but also all the news content that you need.
You can listen to 1Xtra through your DAB digital radio, digital television, online and on analogue. On DAB look out for the frequency 12B (225.648 MHz). On Freeview and Freesat it’s 701, on Sky UK it’s 0137 and on Virgin Media it’s 907. Unfortunately, it’s not available on AM or FM frequencies, however, you can listen live online. All you need to do is head to their website, and you can listen live from there.
You can also listen to previous episodes of the show, so there’s no reason to worry about missing out! One big advantage to listening online is that they provide a full playlist of songs, so you’ll never forget that awesome new song or artist that you have just listened to!
So what’s the history behind Radio 1Xtra? Well, the station itself was launched on 16th August 2002 at 6 PM. It was known as Network X during its period of creation, and it is the sister station of BBC Radio 1. The station broadcasts from the eighth floor of New Broadcasting House. It shares this broadcasting space with the Asian Network and Radio 1.
1Xtra has been merged with the BBC Asian Network since the middle of 2017, and Mark Strippel has joint control of both of these stations. Fun fact: the first ever song played on the station was created specially by Rodney P and DJ Skitz which featured Beverley Knight and Blak Twang. The first show was presented by KC and the Rampage DJ collective.
There have been many presenters of BBC 1Xtra over the years, and no doubt you’ll recognise a number of the names. Some of the current notable presenters include Trevor Nelson, Annie Nightingale, Diplo and Nick Bright. Some of the past notable presenters include Reggie Yates, Devin Griffin, Clara Amfo, Adele Roberts and Sarah-Jane Crawford. Every presenter brings their own unique spin to the show, thanks to their musical tastes, opinions and personality.
The main event that 1Xtra hosts is something called BBC 1Xtra live, which began back in 2008. In 2012, the radio 1xtra live festival took place at several different venues – Manchester, London, Liverpool and then Birmingham. Artists included Rita Ora, Alicia Keys, Plan B and Trey Songz.
BBC 1Xtra live is so popular that it has hosted an event every year. So let’s highlight some more of them! The 2016 event was hosted in Liverpool, where a great many artists performed, such as Sean Paul, Wretch 32, Professor Green, Stormzy and Kyla. This year’s festival, much like the others, was a great success and garnered glowing praise from press and concert-goers alike. The 2017 event was held in Manchester Arena, and featured memorable performances from artists like Travis Scott and Stefflon Don.
The 2018 event was hosted in London once again at the O2 Arena, with performances from major artists and bands. Performances were given by Chance the Rapper, Jorja Smith, Ella Mai and Kojo Funds. BBC 1Xtra live returned once again in 2019 and it took place in Birmingham. Performances came from Stylo G, Ms Banks, Headie One, JayKae and Lady Leshurr.
Don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to go to any of these events, as Radio 1Xtra have posted plenty of highlights and clips of the various gigs on their website. Now there’s no way that you can feel like you’ve missed out!
Do you fancy hearing your music play on BBC 1Xtra? Then you’re definitely not alone! Getting your music played on a national platform like 1Xtra can really help to jump start your music career. It will get you in front of thousands of listeners and it gives you the chance to grow your fan base to starry new heights! You firstly need to ask yourself whether your music style fits with the genre that Radio 1Xtra play, and if the answer is yes then give it a go!
The BBC has a fantastic programme called BBC Music Introducing where unsigned music artists and bands can upload their music for free. All you need to do is go to their uploader and fill out some basic information, such as your name and postcode, then just upload your tracks! They send these tracks to local BBC radio shows where the music producers and presenters listen to them. If they decide that they like your music, hopefully it could end up with local stations playing it, as well as the national stations such as Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, Radio 2 and so on. Not only this, but BBC Music Introducing can provide artists with broadcasting opportunities, both on TV and online, as well as the chance to perform at major shows and gigs.
Fun fact: 58% of the artists and bands that played at the Reading and Leeds 2017 festival uploaded their music to the BBC Music Introducing Uploader. There have been some incredible artists’ success stories, just look at some of this data from 2017. By this date BBC Music Introducing had sparked 68 UK Top 10 singles, 14 UK No.1 singles, 28 UK No.1 albums and 54 UK Top 10 albums.
So there we go – everything that you could want to know about Radio 1Xtra! We hope that you have learned something of value from this article. 1Xtra is a great station to listen to for those of you out there that love the R&B genre. Don’t be put off by the typical age of the audience. If you enjoy the genres of music that they play then you’ll love listening to the station! You can listen to it on a variety of devices, and you can even catch up on past shows via the 1Xtra website. You can also catch up on BBC 1Xtra live past events! And you can always save up some money to attend the next live event, as they are always popular.
Submitting your music to the station couldn’t be easier thanks to the BBC Music Introducing system. There have been plenty of success stories and you never know, you could be next! Don’t worry if you don’t get a positive response straight away, as thousands of artists upload their tracks. Just make sure that you keep up the hard work and carry on creating your music and one day you’ll reap the rewards.
So what are you waiting for? Listen to Radio 1Xtra today!