BBC Radio 1 Dance is a national digital radio station in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by the BBC and run as a spin-off from BBC Radio 1. The station plays a mix of back-to-back current, future and classic electronic dance music, and broadcasts exclusively on BBC Sounds.
From as early as November 2019, reports showed that the BBC was considering launching ‘spin-off stations’ of their popular music stations in order to gain more listeners. Jonathan Wall, controller of BBC Sounds, confirmed in February 2020 that Radio 1 Dance was to launch in spring 2020. The launch was delayed due to BBC Radio 1 and sister station BBC Radio 1Xtra operating reduced broadcast schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BBC announced in September 2020 that the Dance music stream would launch on 9 October 2020 with Annie Mac, Danny Howard and Pete Tong hosting a 4-hour dance marathon from 6 pm, simulcast on Radio 1 and Radio 1 Dance.
The launch of Radio 1 Dance was met with criticism from commercial bodies. Andy Carter, chair of the All-party parliamentary group on Commercial Radio, said: “New services like Radio 1 Dance do not appear to meet the important public value tests that the BBC must observe.”
In late September 2020, following complaints from commercial bodies, Ofcom reviewed Radio 1 Dance, saying “we do not require the BBC to conduct a Public Interest Test […] because we consider the impact of the Radio 1 Dance stream on the market is likely to be small, particularly given it will be online only and will contain no new or exclusive content.”
The BBC has since launched a further music stream on BBC Sounds in April 2021, Radio 1 relax.