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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Radio 1 defends music policy
BBC Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong
Concerns are reported to be shared by many in the music industry
BBC Radio 1 has defended its choice of songs after the UK music industry accused the station of failing to support British talent.

Radio 1 said it played a "significant amount" of music from the UK - but if record companies wanted it to play more, they must deliver better home-grown artists.

The station came under fire from Sean O'Brien, chairman of record company Telstar - home of Mis-Teeq and Craig David - last week.

Mr O'Brien said the UK's share of airplay had halved in the last five years, and that a quota system could be needed to keep the level up, according to industry magazine Music Week.

But a Radio 1 spokesman told BBC News Online their message to record companies was: "If you want to get more music on Radio 1, then get us even better music."


The station has pledged that 35% of its playlist will be made up of UK artists. It said almost 50% of current playlisted output comes from the UK.

"We have a commitment to support the best new music," the spokesman said.

"We will play that new music, irrespective of where it comes from. If it comes from the UK, great.

"But if it doesn't, our remit is to play the best new music for the widest possible young audience."

Coldplay are currently on Radio 1's A-list
Radio 1 was competing with many other radio stations as well as music on the internet, the spokesman said, adding listeners did not care where their music came from.

"Their motivation is not what nationality that music is - it's what's good," he said.

Music Week reported that the British Phonographic Industry and many others in the business supported Mr O'Brien.

The magazine also said 32 of Radio 1's 100 most played tracks in the first half of the year were from the UK.

That figure is lower than the 48 tracks in commercial radio's top 100 list.

Radio 1's current A-list - the playlist that guarantees each song the most plays - includes tracks by UK artists Coldplay, The Coral and former Sugababe singer Siobhan Donaghy.

But just six of the 21 A-listed artists are from the UK.

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