Greg James has called the “snowflake generation” a wonderful thing and claimed the press is trying to divide young people.
The BBC Radio 1 presenter, who has added 300,000 listeners to the breakfast show since taking over, said that the young audience he caters for is tackling “heavy” issues.
James has said that the thoughtfulness of young people has been smeared by the media.
The former drive-time presenter claims that his own employers also mishandle their appeals to young audiences, who cannot be appeased by patronising content about Justin Bieber.
Speaking to Radio Times, James said that the so-called “snowflake” mentality was a good thing.
He said: “It’s about being aware of the world, being kind, helping people who aren’t as fortunate as you. So if that’s what a snowflake is, what a wonderful thing to be.”
“We tackled issues and thought about things, and that thoughtfulness has been jumped on by some of the press to divide young people.”
James has praised the attitude of young people, and said their handling of tough issues deserves more credit than certain patronising programming gives them.
He has criticised his own BBC employers for clumsy attempts to woo younger audiences.
James said: “The big issues facing young people now are heavy – health, wellbeing, money, where to live, jobs, do they go to uni – they’re things I remember, too, but they’re magnified now 10 times over.
“The BBC gets itself in a tangle sometimes when it says, ‘15-year-olds like pop culture, do a show for 15-year-olds’. That’s impossible – no two 15-year-olds are the same.
“There are ways of doing pop culture without feeling you’re doing an impression of a show for young people. So there’s no ‘Hey kids isn’t this fun! I love Justin Bieber, look at my hi tops!’ You don’t have to patronise an audience.”
Rajar figures have revealed that 300,000 more listeners are tuning into the breakfast show since James took over, which allows the presenter to say “go away and let us get on with it” to his BBC bosses.
The full interview with James is available in Radio Times magazine, out today.