April 21, 2021
After 17 years, the DJ is leaving BBC Radio 1. With her compassion, zeal and musical knowledge, she has made the station essential listening
How Annie Mac’s enthusiasm shaped a generation of pop fans
Last year I became a staunch Radio 1 listener again for the first time since my teens. I needed the ceaselessly refreshing joy of pop music during the pandemic, but also the pastoral bump on the shoulder from its presenters looking out for audiences considerably younger than me: the pure, giddy fun of phone-ins and running jokes, the gentle mood-guardrails and circumspect parcelling out of the day’s events on Newsbeat. It frequently made me sentimental, and still does: just this week I had a moment at a sunny roundabout as Greg James played the new Wolf Alice song. Its entire presenter cohort deserves to join the national role call of pandemic heroes – and in particular Annie Mac, who yesterday announced that she was leaving the station after 17 years.
With no commute to divide work from home and no evening activity bar a couple of hours watching The Sopranos, the architecture of Mac’s show held millions of us up. She has been the perfect accompaniment to these weird times: tender but never saccharine during the calming Power Down playlist, and forever invigorated by that day’s Hottest Record in the World, as she provided an antidote to Covid with brilliant new music. During Friday’s night’s surrogate club night, Dance Anthems, she was as pumped as any human has ever been. Just a drop of energy transmuting from her to you via the radio perched behind your kitchen sink could take the tragedy and tedium out of an evening spent at home eating reheated spaghetti.
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