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Please don't close BBC 6Music.

I am cross!

As part of a recently published a "Strategic Review" the BBC is planning to axe the best radio station it operates, the digital-only service 6Music (you can listen on the web too). This has led to a gratifyingly large backlash from the music industry and listeners, such as myself, who love the station. We are urged to sign a petition or two, join a Facebook group, or a Twitter thingy and complain to the BBC Trust who have the final say on the proposals in the review.

Here is my letter to them:

I was very disappointed to see the proposal to close 6Music amongst the items for consultation and I urge you to reject the idea. 6Music embodies some basic BBC principles in being distinctive, high-quality broadcasting of a type unlikely to be provided by a commercial operator. BBC Radio must strive to serve parts of the population that commercial radio can not afford to do. I feel that the BBC is making a scapegoat out of 6Music in order to appease the commercial radio industry who would like to see Radio 1 and Radio 2 closed down so that they could mop up the audience. But witness the comments of former GCap operations director Steve Orchard on the subject: "Commercial radio can never replicate 6 Music’s cultural value – it’s not viable for us to do so".

If appeasing the commercial sector is not a valid reason for the closure of 6, then surely the justification must be plain-old money saving? Even this has been denied by Tim Davie, who when interviewed on feedback claimed that the money saved by closing 6Music would be ploughed back into Radio 2 which would then provide the specialist content previously aired on 6Music. I suggest that a better use of the money would be to keep 6Music going. If Radio 2 is to change to serve an older demographic and be more speech based it will certainly not provide a home for the displaced 6Music listener!

The third argument for keeping 6Music is as a driver for take-up of DAB. If the BBC is still intent on moving from FM in a few years then an incentive to the radio listener to spend money on a new set must be the larger choice of stations the DAB provides. I for one only bought so heavily into DAB because of 6Music and I know many others who would feel cheated if the service they paid good money to receive was no longer available. If 6Music closed I would have to find my contemporary music on internet radio stations and would probably be lost to BBC radio and the cross-platform promotional opportunities that it provided.

So the closure won't make the commercial sector happy, it won't save much - if any - money and it'll put a further nail in DAB's coffin; but most importantly for a public service broadcaster, it will reduce the BBC's diversity and commitment to quality broadcasting.

Please don't close 6Music.


I have every expectation that they will take absolutely no notice of the tide of protest but you never know... If you care about good music radio then do let them know. I don't think they really know what they've got.

March 2010

Read old page 94s here.


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