Radiohead, David Bowie, Lily Allen Blast BBC Over 6 Music Closure Threat

When the British Broadcasting Corporation announced plans to potentially shut down 6 Music, the digital radio station they launched in 2002, people were not happy.

According to its website, 6 Music “brings together the cutting edge music of today, the iconic and groundbreaking music of the past 40 years and unlimited access to the BBC’s wonderful music archive.” It focuses on more non-mainstream tunes than the BBC’s more popular radio stations.

Though heavily rumored for days, the official announcement came at a BBC press conference yesterday, as Billboard reports. At the press conference, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson put forward a cost-cutting plan called Putting Quality First, which proposes closing 6 Music and the Asian culture station the Asian Network, and reducing funds for the BBC’s websites. For now, though, it’s only a proposal, subject to “a 12-week public consultation,” according to Billboard. For the plan to go into effect, the BBC Trust will have to approve it this autumn. The public can contribute their opinions here.

Many high-profile artists have responded to the news with dismay. Reuters reports that David Bowie issued a quick statement on his website: “6music keeps the spirit of broadcasters like John Peel alive and for new artists to lose this station would be a great shame.”

On Radiohead’s Dead Air Space website, guitarist Ed O’Brien echoed Bowie’s Peel invocation, writing an open letter to the BBC urging the people in charge to keep 6 Music around: “It literally is the radio lifeblood for music outside of the mainstream. Not to denigrate Radio's 1 and 2, but it really is the only station that puts music first, and that’s from a punters point of view and not some bloke in a band … What you have with 6 Music is a gem of a radio station, it is doing what no other station in the world does or can possibly do.”

Lily Allen, meanwhile, penned an editorial for The Guardian blasting the BBC for fearing to take risks: “What is happening now reflects a huge, politically motivated reshuffle … Closing BBC 6 Music is bad news for unsigned acts and new British music.”

In the wake of this high-profile support for 6 Music, as well as Twitter and Facebook campaigns urging the BBC to keep the station working, the head brass at the BBC emphasized that the station may survive. Speaking on BBC radio this morning, BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons took a step back, as Billboard reports: “If we find that there's massive public concern that we need to take account of, then we will go back to the director general to rethink the strategy before it's approved.”

via Pitchfork

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One Response to “Radiohead, David Bowie, Lily Allen Blast BBC Over 6 Music Closure Threat”

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