The DJ has moved from his breakfast show to 10am-1pm and now presents full-length interviews, Live Lounge sets, 'Ledge of the Week' and movie news in the slot as part of the new line-up on the digital station.
Asked about Tim Westwood's public claim last year that he was "broadcasting to absolutely nobody" on 1Xtra, Nelson told DS: "We've got more listeners that 6Music had last year when they were all shocked that it might be going.
"We've got 25% more listeners then they had at that point. Our target personally I think is a million listeners, which I think we can do. We're already double what we were when we joined the station three years ago."
RAJAR figures published in December 2010 put 1Xtra's listener numbers at 816,000, an increase from 531,000 a year earlier.
Nelson continued: "Tim was used to being on Radio 1 all the time - being on an FM station. Digital was a shock to him a little bit, in that not everyone has access to it. It's getting better because of the smartphone thing.
"It's proven that we've added listeners. I think everyone was really scared about the future of 1Xtra, whether it was going to be one of those stations which survived or not, but I think the people would be insane to get rid of 1Xtra for any reason. The audience is going in the right direction."
Quizzed on whether specialist radio stations can ghettoise certain genres, Nelson replied: "If you look at radio on the whole, it's actually more popular than it's ever been. I find that statistic amazing. In era where there's so much TV and YouTube and so many other things to do, more people listen to radio than ever before.
"There's a lot of homogenised radio, where everything's very similar - you drive through different counties and it's variations on the same thing. I think stations want to have that identity of a 6Music, or 1Xtra or Asian Network or whatever. I don't think you should be afraid of that.
"You've got be different. I think we are seen as a specialist station, yet our listeners who listen to our daytime shows probably don't feel that we're that specialist. I think that's the trick of getting the balance right."