According to UK press sources, tastemaking disc jock/label head/audio curator Gilles Peterson will be ending his Searching for the Perfect Beat radio show on BBC1 in March and departing the station to make way for a revamped line-up that includes 5 new specialist DJs in the slots currently held by Peterson, Judge Jules, Fabio & Grooverider and Kissy Sell Out. The shake-up is the work of new Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper, who took over the station in October after a long tenure as deputy. As the UK Guardian reports:
Radio 1 has come under pressure from both its commercial rivals and the BBC Trust to attract a younger audience after the average age of its listenership kept creeping up. Peterson, who is in talks with BBC Radio 6 Music about future projects, said: “I’ve had an amazing 13 years at Radio 1 – to be able to get away with the radical music that I’ve pushed out has always surprised me and I thank Radio 1 for giving me the freedom to do that. I’m looking forward to continuing my work in the BBC family some time in the future.”
It is hard to believe that a platform and personality as influential as Peterson’s–a reliable source for the debut of great music from one of the first breaks for The Roots right up to this week‘s debuts–will not find a home some place soon, either within the BBC or at a rival media outlet. But the change will undoubtedly mark the end of an era.