MEDIA: Billington on political form at Radio 1

Polly Billington is moving from BBC1's On the Record to Radio 1 as the music station's first political reporter.

Polly Billington is moving from BBC1's On the Record to Radio 1 as the music station's first political reporter.

No date has been set for her departure from the Sunday lunchtime political programme, but it is likely to be before the Queen's speech at the end of November.

Billington will contribute to a range of Radio 1 programmes, including Newsbeat and the station's web site, reporting to Rod McKenzie, Newsbeat acting editor.

Emphasis will be on 'youth' issues such as drugs policy, education and the price of CDs. Billington will be attempting to explain the significance of various events in the run-up to the general election.

The move is an attempt to interest Radio 1's 15 to 24 age group, which has been seen as apathetic towards party political activity. 'There will also be the fun stuff, like Hague's 14 pints and Blair's sweaty shirt,' she said.

Currently, political reporting on Radio 1 is handled on an issue by issue basis by BBC News with no dedicated resource.

'We have to make sure it's relevant,' Billington said. 'We are not putting on stuff that old fogeys think is interesting.'

The audience cares passionately about foxhunting, for example, although this sort of issue had to be reported 'fairly and straight'.

'The level of politics (coverage) on Radio 1 has gone down' she said.

'It is insulting to assume the audience isn't interested.'



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