I’ve been listening to 6Music since September 2004 when we first discovered (were able to get) digital radio. We were looking forward to listening to John Peel in glorious digital but he was away on holiday and like millions of other listeners we were devastated when we heard that he’d died in Peru.
I listen to 6Music when I’m writing. I listen to it when I wake up and as I go to sleep. I love the music. It’s great music – I get to hear new bands, new material, classic ‘good’ stuff – it’s all good. Even the presenter’s are great: Shaun Keaveney, Lauren Laverne, Craig Charles, Jarvis Cocker, Adam & Joe, Jon Richardson a few of my favourites.
The BBC Trust is (according to BBC’s own reports) ‘bowing to pressure from politicians and commercial rivals’ to reduce the scale of its operation, and with a forthcoming election, the BBC’s plans are ‘an appeasement to an anticipated Conservative government that believes the BBC should be cut down to size …’
But if the BBC Trust’s strategic review points towards programming ‘quality over quantity, then the value of a quality station like 6Music to an ever-growing audience (and December’s listener figures rate it higher than Radio 3 and 1Xtra) has been glossed over / ignored by the author/s of that review.
Phil Jupitus (first host of 6Music’s Breakfast Show) writes (in today’s Guardian) that
‘Cutting 6 Music is an act of cultural vandalism, and an affront to the memory of John Peel.’
It is both. The BBC has a vast archive of live music – a cultural and educational resource which has a natural outlet through 6Music. And what of new music, new musicians?
Critics of the Save 6 Music campaign – who are already arguing, ‘what about saving BBC News, the websites …?’ – are missing the point that 6Music provides a unique service to a growing proportion of BBC licence payers, a service that isn’t available from other stations. And this is why I’m writing this, why I have to write this, because if I just sit here and say nothing, then all the years that John Peel broadcast his inimitable show meant nothing, that the individual and collective talent involved in the creation of new music has one less quality outlet and I, among thousands of others, will have nothing worth listening to …
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