In an exclusive interview with Digital Spy, George Ergatoudis insisted that the broadcaster recognises the public's taste, but also takes risks no commercial station ever would.
[Left: Head of music George Ergatoudis / Right: Breakfast DJ Nick Grimshaw]
> Read Digital Spy's full interview with Radio 1's head of music
"A lot of people believe we have total control over what gets in the charts and what is popular, but this simply isn't the case. Of course we do have influence, but the public know what they like and if we don't acknowledge that they'll soon turn us off and go elsewhere," he told DS.
"At mass-market level I strongly believe there's a cycle of musical taste in the UK and Radio 1 is unique in reflecting this cycle while simultaneously supporting the best contemporary popular music from a wide range of different genres: rock, pop, dance, hip-hop, R&B and indie to name just a few.
"We position ourselves at the front of the cycle, gently pushing the market forward, taking risks that no commercial station would ever do."
[Radio 1 DJs Scott Mills, Fearne Cotton, Dev, Nick Grimshaw, Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens]
Ergatoudis went on to say that Radio 1's belief in new music and establishing a diverse playlist is important to the future of the industry.
"We have a mission to break new artists, but of course it would be wrong to simply define success as crossing over to the mainstream. We play music from TNGHT and Bring Me the Horizon because it's exciting, not because they're about to have Top 40 hits," he added.
"It's all about balance: as long as Radio 1 gets the mix of music right we can make a real difference by introducing huge numbers of listeners to music they wouldn't hear anywhere else. That's why Radio 1 is so fundamental to the success of the UK music industry."
Radio 1 caused controversy last year when it avoided playing Robbie Williams's new single. Breakfast DJ Nick Grimshaw later labelled the Take That star as "not relevant" to the station's younger listeners.
> Jameela Jamil talks Radio 1 Chart Show: 'It's just like football'
> Zane Lowe talks Radio 1, 'X Factor' and how he un-cooled Quentin Tarantino
> Scott Mills Q&A: 'I don't want the Radio 1 Breakfast Show anymore'