Hip-hop DJ Tim Westwood, who has presented rap shows on Radio 1 and 1Xtra since 1994, is to leave the BBC stations when the Saturday night schedules are revamped on 21 September.
The turnaround also sees Trevor Nelson losing his show that kicks off the 12-hour Radio 1 simulcast with 1Xtra, but retain his weekday mid-morning 1Xtra programme, as well as the Wednesday night soul show he presents on Radio 2.
In an echo of Westwood’s last experience of a shake-up at 1Xtra, which saw him lose his weekday drivetime slot in September last year, the DJ taking over his 9pm Saturday show is Charlie Sloth – who also replaced him in the 1Xtra drivetime slot.
Westwood did not respond too well to that change, tweeting “I’ve been sacked from 1Xtra Mon-Fri 4-7pm from sept #Westwoodyourfired. I don’t like gettin fired #Westwoodyourefired – 1Xtra” even though his regular Saturday night show remained unaffected.
Westwood’s agent declined to comment on today’s news but it is understood the DJ’s current contract ends in September and has not been renewed.
A BBC spokesperson said the new schedule was part of a strategy “to try to build a new generation of audience in the 15–24 age group” – a target handed to Radio 1 by the BBC Trust after a review in 2009 – but that in terms of Westwood’s departure the new presenters will always be “standing on the shoulders of giants”.
It’s a sentiment echoed by two-time Sony Award-nominee Charlie Sloth, who says: “Words can’t describe how happy I am, it’s like a dream come true for me and something that I’ve worked towards my whole career, especially to be succeeding a legend like Tim Westwood who has done so much for the game. I know they are big shoes to fill, but luckily, man’s got fat feet.”
Talking about the exit of the man who pioneered hip-hop music on Radio 1, Ben Cooper, Controller of Radio 1 and 1Xtra says, “I’d like to thank Tim for the last 20 years on Radio 1 – his passion for hip-hop is legendary – I wish him all the best.”
But Cooper is keen to look to the future, adding: “I’m very excited about having a great new line up for the next generation of Radio 1 and 1Xtra listeners.”
The rundown of the new schedule, beginning on 21 September, is MistaJam at 7pm (replacing Trevor Nelson), Charlie Sloth at 9pm (replacing Westwood), and DJ Target at 11pm (MistaJam’s old slot).