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Reaction to rumoured BBC cuts

Host | 15:04 UK time, Friday, 26 February 2010

bbc.jpgThe press, media commentators and other sources are reacting to reports that the BBC is planning major cutbacks, and speculating on the future of 6 Music and the Asian Network.

The Times started the most recent discussion, and the newspaper's editorial makes its own recommendations for the corporation:

"Proposals seen by The Times look like a welcome recognition that the empire has gone too far, and should focus back on quality programming. But they actually constitute an evasive and artful strategy designed to keep the next government from intervening, while in reality changing very little... If the BBC were serious about reform it would consider selling Radio 1 and getting out of the pop music business, which is hardly ill served by others. It would give up BBC Three, which has no rationale at all. It would get tough on executive pay, and admit that it cannot continue to be regulated by a trust that is also its cheerleader."

The Guardian's Alastair Harper writes that the possible axing of 6 Music would be a travesty:

"6 Music does the same for a different kind of music. It's the most mainstream avenue for outliers. With the exception of the always excellent but comparatively unknown Resonance FM, it's the only place that small but inventive bands can get airtime. This is exactly what the BBC exists for: to 'represent the many communities that exist in the UK'. To provide not just what the majority wants, but to appeal to all minority interests."

Music website Popjustice says the BBC is "turning its back on pop music":

"6Music is one of the few spots on the 'radio dial' to guarantee an idiot-free listen - it's also very much in tune with the musical tastes of some prolific tweeters, the majority of music journalists and other influential early-to-mid-to-late-30s media tastemakey people. So you'll be hearing a lot of people being upset that their favourite radio station might be taken off air but there'll probably be slightly less fuss about, for example, BBC Asian Network, which is arguably a better use of the licence fee but is looking at a fate similar to 6 Music's."

Johnny Dee in the Guardian's TV and Radio blog says axing 6 Music would be a "massive mistake":

"So why would the BBC axe 6 Music now? To do so would be evidence that the corporation cares more about listening figures than fulfilling its remit of providing a public service - 6 Music listeners would be poorly catered for elsewhere.
And it wasn't without good reason that Adam & Joe labelled 6 the BBC's 'secret station'. Its schedule seldom appeared in newspapers, it was under-promoted across the BBC network and wasn't promoted at all outside of it. What chance did it ever have of drawing a big audience?"

Jonathan Harwood in First Post is sceptical about the amount of support 6 Music has gained:

"What is clear is that a lot more people have heard of 6Music since it emerged it was to be axed than had heard of it yesterday evening."

Simon Hayes Budgen, blogging at No Rock And Roll Fun, is sceptical that the audiences of the BBC's digital stations will find themselves catered for elsewhere, and wonders about the effect on digital radio:

"There is an interest in shifting radio from analogue signals to digital, but most of the digital commercial stations have struggled precisely because it's very hard to fund interesting new services from the money you make selling commercials around it. If the BBC cuts back its digital-only radio offerings, and the commercial sector can't afford to offer much, why would anyone bother to buy a digital radio? Killing 6Music isn't just killing off a station enjoyed by half a million happy licence payers; it's effectively the end of the DAB dream."

Links in full

TimesTimes | Big, bloated and cunning
GuardianAlastair Harper | Guardian | Why everyone wants to #saveBBC6music
Pop justicePopjustice | Why a sad day for 6Music could also be a sad day for Radio 1
GuardianJohnny Dee | Guardian | BBC 6 Music: axing the station would be massive mistake
First PostJonathan Harwood | First Post | Axe 'commercial' Radio 1, not 6Music, fans tell BBC
No Rock & Roll FunSimon Hayes Budgen | No Rock And Roll Fun | 6 Music back on Death Row

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