9pm on Thursday marked the end of Annie Mac’s ‘first week in the new job’, as she kept referring to it throughout the week. This came about after a Mr Zane Lowe presented the 7-9pm slot on BBC Radio 1 for twelve consecutive years, and my God, what an awesome job she did.
Right from the very off on the Monday evening she was calm, cool, and overly collective. The perfect production coincided beautifully with her warm, Southern Irish voice and unlike Lowe, she let the show breathe.
Playing two tracks in a row at 5 past 7 every night is a brave move, but a smart one. When you hear this happen, you know you’re listening to a specialist music programme, as opposed to an embarrassing New Zealander rapping badly over a mediocre remix of a Big Sean record, which gets very boring, very quickly.
I also like the fact that the ‘Hottest Record in the World’ is played at 20 minutes past 7. This way, you’re not being teased about it for 25 minutes, and playing it twice allows the listener to really understand the track and come to terms with the fact that this particular track stands out more than any other played that night during the two-hour time frame.
The little interviews are nice also. They’re not too long and they’re not too short. Mac really squeezes out everything she possibly can from her interviewee in order to make it more interesting. What the interviewee is talking about then makes sense when you hear the track and digest the lyrics. It’s very rounded, and very much concentrated on the artists in question. I think it was good that one of her first interviews on the new show was Hozier, as they are both Irish, and can angle their conversation on that to begin with. It might take a bit of time for her to get confident to nail the likes of Kanye West and Eminem, but she definitely has the skill set and know-how to pursue those big names.
The only feature of the show I would question is the session, or lack of it, from Maida Vale or R1 HQ itself. I think this needs to be included. It’s a vital part of promoting new music from already well established bands, as well as bringing in new bands to add to the archives, and giving them a slice of what its like in the professional industry. I’m sure it will be included at some stage but I don’t understand the hesitation, they should have just ran with it.
Most importantly, this is now a specialist music programme, as already mentioned above. No longer is it a self-indulgent broadcast, derived from quite a peculiar personality. I can predict getting down to the real nitty-gritty, and I believe music-lovers will be more than thankful. Keep up the good work, Annie.