Monday, 1 March 2010

Save BBC 6 Music

Back in January Nigel Lythgoe was interview on Radio 4’s Front Row where he was asked if he agreed with the BBC Trust’s view that there were too many formulaic reality and talent shows on TV. In his response Lythgoe said the shows were successful because ‘that’s what the public wants to watch’. He went on to say:

We pay our license fee so we can have what we want to watch, not what someone wants to give us.

I wondered whether it had ever occurred to Lythgoe that although 12 million people watched the X-Factor finals, there are nearly 60 million of us in the country. A lot of us don’t like that crap at all. A sizeable portion of them made their voices heard this Christmas when they projected Rage Against the Machine to the number 1 chart position. Another comparatively small but vocal group are making their voices heard now in response to the BBC’s treacherous decision to axe BBC 6 Music.

The BBC 6 Music rumour has been floating around us for several weeks now but was seemingly confirmed by The Times on Friday. I’m still in denial about it simply because I can’t believe the BBC has the gall to actually do it. Axing BBC 6 Music is in complete contradiction to the BBC’s position of diversity. They say they want a commercial outfit to take the reigns but that will never happen because commercial stations are inevitably forced to bow to market pressures (as already witnessed with XFM). Just the same way as the Roundhouse in Camden is able to support a wide range of music and artists because of its unique chartiable status, the BBC, with its public funding is the only one in the position to run a station like 6 Music. Without it new music will have no regular major broadcasting outlet and a significant niche of people will have nobody catering for their tastes.

The news that they are also probably slashing BBC Asian Network is another kick in the teeth as there isn’t nearly enough broadcasting for ethnic minority communities in the UK. In addition the media industry is notorious for being full of white middle class kids. What kind of message does this send out to Asian broadcasting graduates now?

So here’s an idea for the BBC bods – why not axe one of the many reality TV and format shows currently bunging up our airwaves and sucking the life out of our licence fee, and use the money saved to keep 6Music going. One thing I know for sure, without it the UK music scene is going to be a considerably duller place.

There are a bunch of petitions and websites going round but I found the best was Love 6 Music They give you a comprehensive list of things you can do to make you voice heard. You can also find them on Twitter @Love6Music. The guillotine hasn’t dropped yet people - make your voice heard while you can.

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