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New news show at 1Xtra

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Rod McKenzie Rod McKenzie | 09:13 UK time, Monday, 3 August 2009

We've just launched a new news programme on 1Xtra - the digital sister station to Radio 1 which features contemporary black music. We've always had news content on the station and an award-winning documentary strand - but it's been mixed with a music programme in the afternoons. So our new format is two 15-minute news programmes broadcast at noon and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Tina DaheleyThe 1Xtra News Show is hosted by Tina Daheley and supported by a brilliant new entertainment presenter Nesta McGregor and our versatile sportsman David Garrido.

Our first edition kicked off with a subject of critical relevance to our young, urban target audience. Figures seen by 1Xtra show that four out of every 10 young people say they have unprotected sex. Many young men we spoke to don't like the feel of a condom - young women worried about their reputation if they carry some in their bags. Yet we know how much teenage pregnancy and STIs affect this audience. We've been talking to teenagers and early 20-somethings about "barebacking" and the consequences.

We'll also have an investigation into online sex abuse and sexual bullying. Police have told us that they're increasingly worried about teenagers swapping intimate or naked photos on their mobiles. We've spoken to victims - who sometimes blame vindictive exes for forwarding explicit videos and pictures taken in happier times.

Nesta is in Ayia Napa - a favoured summer destination for our audience - it's an urban music Ibiza. 1Xtra programmes are also coming from there as some of the biggest names in urban music perform there in the busiest week of the holiday season there - amid reports the credit crunch may be hitting the venue this year.

Sport and entertainment/music news is high on our audience's priority list for any news programme that's relevant to their lives. We're also pledged - as with Newsbeat on Radio 1 - to make the important, interesting, relevant and accessible. It may not be for everyone who consumes BBC News - but it is for our listeners on 1Xtra - and we'd love to hear from you.

Rod McKenzie is editor of Newsbeat and 1Xtra News.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Oh good grief. Look, I'm certainly not some 'ban-this-filth' Daily Mailer, but it really is becoming a bit transparent the way you're always trying so desperately hard to be edgy, Rod, dressing these things up with words like 'relevance' and 'accessible'.

    This isn't news, it's lifestyle. It's fluff. It's pandering to emotional rather than intellectual appetite.

    Stop fooling yourself with all this stuff.

  • Comment number 2.

    dotconnect - ah, yes, but the 'impartiality' rules probably forbid him from telling us that he'd like to stick Ed Vaizey's plans for Radio 1 where the sun does not shine...

  • Comment number 3.

    Why the bitterness about news services for young people? although hardly innovative it surely fits with the BBCs role to educate & inform, especially as 1 extra targets groups who perhaps wouldn't normally to current affairs of social issues.

    as for ed vaiseys 'plans' - call me mr cynical but wont all major parties be trying to secure the support of the major commercial media outlets in the run up to the election?

    well there's one particular media group which has been actively campaigning against the beeb for years, i'm sure they're loving these plans and others mentioned by the tories in recent years.

  • Comment number 4.

    Personally I think that R1Xtra has just about the best output across the corporation apart from the embarrassing Tim Westwood show and with the possible exception on 'In Tune' on R3 and 'The Radcliffe & Maconie Show' on R2.

    I would have thought that a 15 minute time out for news (or 'lifestyle' as dotconnect #1 puts it) may break up the rhythm of the station. I think that mixing the news with music is still the way to go. They may also lose listeners especially if the BBC resorts to its normal preachy and judgmental style.

    As far as selling R1 (and presumably R1Xtra), I dont see why the youngsters who listen to it should have to put up with adverts while the R2/3/4/5/tv/local radio audiences get away with ad-free output. However, if the BBC is trying to set up a defence by having a more structured news output, then it is shooting itself in the foot by having presenters fly abroad and spending our money on a jolly.

    In any case BBC News is so tainted with its history of bias, speculation, forecasting and gossiping rather than providing hard facts, it may be better all round if it were to contract another news organisation with the job of gathering and compiling R1/R1Xtra News. BBC News should foot the bill and downsize if necessary.

  • Comment number 5.

    @goldCaesar
    "Why the bitterness about news services for young people? although hardly innovative it surely fits with the BBCs role to educate & inform, especially as 1 extra targets groups who perhaps wouldn't normally to current affairs of social issues."

    That's true I guess. I think I probably jumped in too harshly in #1 (apologies Rod). I just have a thing about news that panders rather than sufficiently challenges young people. That, plus a little part of me is wondering if mainstream news in 10-15 years time will resemble the Rod McKenzie type news of today (much as the mainstream TV bulletins have steadily become less grown-up over the years).

  • Comment number 6.

    @dotconect and @goldCaesar:

    People within the ages of 15-30 are studying for PhDs, running NGOs, writing for national newspapers and participating in politics (witness the new member for Norwich North). If you are injured, the chances are a doctor in their early twenties will patch you up when you arrive at A & E. I doubt very much that many of these people lack an interest in current affairs or need to be told that unprotected sex leads to pregnancy or disease, so please dont use the terms 1xtra listeners and young people interchangeably.
    1xtras target audience might need anything that isnt sport, music or entertainment to be made more accessible before theyll pay attention, but please dont tar all young people with the stupidity brush.

  • Comment number 7.

    @jujustatue - Bit confused by your post, as you appear to be disagreeing with a point that was not made by either of us.

  • Comment number 8.

    6. At 9:19pm on 03 Aug 2009, jujustatue wrote:
    --------------------

    sorry, i think we're at cross purposes, i would never imply that a lack of interest in current affairs implies that a person is stupid, just that they are not interested in current affairs.

  • Comment number 9.

    Isn't it racist to talk about "black" music? If not, why don't you hear about "white" music?

  • Comment number 10.

    @tom_p_willis (9)

    "Isn't it racist to talk about "black" music?"

    I should think very few people would consider it racist. As a white man, I don't think it's racist. Sure it's race-based, but it's a long long way from the kind of abusive racism endured by many non-white people in our society on a regular basis. Put it this way: if this is as bad as it gets for white people - having to accept that there are black music stations but not white ones - then really we have nothing to complain about.


    "If not, why don't you hear about "white" music?"

    Because when something is the majority (e.g. being white), it tends to be the default and doesn't need dedicated attention or representation. It already dominates, sometimes indirectly.

    When you have under-representation, there becomes a call or a market for representation, leading eventually to a specialised genre. The perceived exclusion of a whole culture makes that demand even stronger.

    Ideally we would all be on a level playing field, proportionally speaking, and there would be no need for categorising music or culture with ethnicity. But we're not yet on that level playing field, and it will take a long time, though we're headed in the right direction. The very idea of black culture or music is a necessary part of that journey, however counterproductive it seems.

    Similar reasoning lies behind why there are gay bars but no "straight" bars. It's NOT reverse discrimination (as some rather bitter and ungenerous members of the majority groups will try to make out, particularly in the populist press). Rather it's because the majority have no need of them. Bars are considered straight by default.

    Ditto why no white versions of the MOBO awards, straight pride marches, etc etc.

    Unfortunately some people find it more satisfying to turn it into an issue of political correctness and sit there stewing in resentment at the perception that minorities are getting special treatment. This ignorance is sometimes unintentional but also sometimes wilful as it plays to their own sense of victimhood allowing them to come out with nonsense like "white people are the most discriminated against these days".

    It's no more than childish jealousy and ignorance.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think I came off a bit self righteous in my earlier post (it reads a bit like the Private Eye Portakabin correspondence) but I'm trying to defend young people like me from being stereotyped as ignorant and uninterested. My point was simply that young people already have a news service which challenges them. It's called "the news", and much of the time, people in the 1xtra age range are making it (see above).
    The service that is being discussed here is targeted at a specific group of the willfully ignorant, so referring to this news programme as being somehow for young people as a whole ignores all the under30s who are perfectly capable of watching Newsnight without having a seizure.
    Assuming that people who are in a certain age range need a special broadcast made up mostly of sport and entertainment in order to be fed a little bit of accessible news is very demeaning.

  • Comment number 12.

    jujustatue - I wouldn't disagree with any of that.

  • Comment number 13.

    Very good.
    This is the right time to include many school,college students to this new schedule
    Your writings also catches to many viewers
    Still,you can add many youngsters for direct interview,discussion on their day today problems,impact of over modernism,depression,aims and objectiies of young age brackets by more lively ways.
    Good beginning
    Please keep it up.
    With best wishes.,

  • Comment number 14.

    #9 tom_p_willis Whether racist or otherwise I think that defining a musical genre by the pigmentation of people’s skin is childish and divisive. The two organisations that appear to be more obsessed by skin colour than most are the BNP and the BBC.

    I have met people with brown skin and yellowish skin as well as rosy. I have never met anybody who is pure white or pure black – otherwise I would get them off to hospital.

    Perhaps the BBC should start to realise that people are people and not neatly divided by colour.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    @KennethM
    I agree with you, I couldnt even continue with the article because that line kinda surprised me. How does one define "black music"? Is it music that Barack Obama listens to? Is it music that white people arent allowed to listen to? Is it music that is only created by and for black people?

    I really thought the BBC would have more common sense then to allow one of their writers to say things this ignorant.


    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 17.

    Can you imagine the furore there would be if there were a "white" music station or awards for music of white origin. Still the beeb must be seen to be right-on about these things I guess.

    No doubt the news itself on 1Xtra will have to be "down with da kidz" to supposedly grab their attention, as we know that ALL the yoof can't think for themselves or get easily distracted. So after these first few "hard hitting" news items be prepared for things like what David Beckham did yesterday or what video someone posted on Youtube. Please BBC credit people with some intelligence and stop trying to be so hip all the time.

  • Comment number 18.

    Black music as a broad genre exists, whether people like that fact or not. As such, there is a demand for it, and a recognition of it that stretches far beyond the BBC.

    I agree that in an ideal world, race would not define anything - indeed the concept of bracketing people as black or white would itself be viewed as racist and outdated. I do understand that.

    But as I said earlier, we're not there yet, and culture based on ethnicity (and identity politics itself, much as I hate that phrase) DOES serve a purpose on the evolving path to that ideal. We will get there by evolution, not transformation.

    Btw, I'm assuming your objection is based on the genuine desire for racial equality rather than just the childish whinge of "Mummy, they're allowed to have their own music channel (or use the N-word), why can't we?"

  • Comment number 19.

    @ dotconnect (10): To me, racism is treating some person ir group or people in a different fashion because of their race, whether positively or negatively.
    My problem with the phrase "black music" is that it implies that people with a certain skin colour have fundamentally different music needs and tastes to the majority, and as such, perpeutates the idea that black people are somehow fundamentally different.
    Because it treats black people differently, to me, it is racist.

  • Comment number 20.

    OK so you have a whole station which 'Asian' only. You have whole programmes which are 'black' only.

    In keeping with this overtly racist approach, will you be offering a 'white' station?

    There would definitely be a market for a station which only plays music performed by 'white' people, presented entirely by 'white' people. All the BNP types would be tuning in as a starter.

    I'm sure you can understand why you can not do that - you would be sacked and probably arrested. What is it about BBC culture that you don't understand why 'black' or 'asian' stations are wrong?


    =====================
    Yes, I am quite definitely raising "the childish whinge of "Mummy, they're allowed to have their own music channel .... why can't we?" (#18) Having stations or programmes from which some artists/presenters are excluded on grounds of race is discrimination. When a publicly funded organisation engages in discrimination, then people are entitled to comment on that.

  • Comment number 21.

    Jon112uk

    "OK so you have a whole station which 'Asian' only."

    Nonsense. You have a station for anyone in the UK with an interest in Asian music and culture. The way you phrased it makes it sound equivalent to the "white only" signs on pub doors from the last century (you know, discrimination with consequences considerably more unwelcome and hate-filled than what appears to be stirring you up here). I'm sure that was accidental on your part Jon, and you weren't attempting to milk off the memories of that era to accentuate your sense of victimhood and artificially strengthen your argument.


    "You have whole programmes which are 'black' only."

    You have programmes that specialise in new black (or 'urban') music - hip hop, garage, drum and bass, etc. Actual genres of music which, whether you like it or not, have an undeniable appeal/root/correlation to black communities. Some may try to suggest categorising music or culture by race is racist. I would repeat that yes it's race-based, but it's far from the kind of racism that is hate-filled and suffered by those in black and asian communities on a regular basis. I might also draw attention to the way some people suddenly and rather conveniently become blind to the concept of race when it suits them, but are happy to refer to ethnic minorities at other times - again, when it suits them. Not that I'm casting that aspersion on you, Jon.


    "In keeping with this overtly racist approach, will you be offering a 'white' station?"

    Oh good grief. I don't why I bother sometimes...


    "Yes, I am quite definitely raising "the childish whinge of "Mummy, they're allowed to have their own music channel .... why can't we?"

    Ah I see. Well Jon, I thought I'd offer the benefit of the doubt. I was hoping the level of debate would have been a few notches up from this, but thanks for clarifying for everyone where you're coming from at least.


    "then people are entitled to comment on that."

    Naturally. No-one said they weren't. Or do we have another outbreak of exaggeration about that great bete noire of the right, "the PC brigade"? Last I checked, no-one here had suggested you couldn't comment on it, at least certainly not me.

    -

    As I said before, I maintain that if this is as bad as it gets for white people, then frankly we have exceedingly little to complain about when it comes to racial "discrimination" against ourselves.

    I can't help but pity the kind of person who would feel so slighted by such a trivial incursion as the broadcasting of the aforementioned radio stations or shows. I pity them for the spirit they choose to adopt about it, a distinctly ungenerous spirit of "what about ME? I don't care that their discrimination is far worse, what about MEEEE??!"

    I pity people who use the word discrimination in its broadest context to apply to what they're suffering, well aware of the baggage it carries, and how in this instance, their own apparent "experience of racial discrimination" pales into comparison with that suffered more regularly by many black and asian people.

    Ditto the word "racist" - and then some.

    I pity the mean-spiritedness of so many people today in Britain, a mean-spiritedness which the dominant right-wing press have steadily done their best to stoke and nurture over the years. The mindset that seeks to spend more energy and time complaining about the affronts of political correctness than the far far nastier instances of discrimination it seeks - however clumsily - to rectify. I think you can sometimes tell a lot about someone based on the things they choose most often to speak out about.

  • Comment number 22.

    #21
    "...The way you phrased it makes it sound equivalent to the "white only" signs on pub doors from the last century..."
    ===============================

    Yep, thats exactly what I'm saying.

  • Comment number 23.

    #22

    I wonder if you really see the two as equivalent, or if you're just determined to see things that way, for the sake of maintaining your little share of the victimhood/discrimination pie? After all, in terms of availability of service (which is the very crux of what the "whites only" signs were about), they are completely different. Not even close.

    The BBC's music stations are available to anyone. I've tuned in to the BBC Asian Network and I can safely reassure you that I wasn't turned away for being the wrong colour. Why do I tune in occasionally? Because I (*gasp*) like some of the music they specialise in. Do I feel slighted that they are associated with Asians? Am I feeling like a victim of an anti-white racial discrimination? Not remotely!

    So assuming you're being sincere, then I'm afraid (and I say this with no intended arrogance, despite how it will regretfully come across) it looks like your brush is too broad for me to have any meaningful conversation with you on this. Seriously, if you see this issue in such an apparently low-resolution way, if you're so unable or unwilling to acknowledge how these two apparent instances of 'discrimination' differ despite having it spelled out to you, then I honestly don't hold out much hope for progressing here.

  • Comment number 24.

    21. At 12:04pm on 07 Aug 2009, dotconnect wrote:
    Jon112uk

    -----

    Your'e making a valiant effort mate, but some people are absolutley determined to feel threatened, victimised or downright intimidated by any aknowledgement that any 'ethnic minority' is able to produce art which is loved by a much wider audience.

    Its the kind of philosophy that cries 'racism' when they hear about, for example, projects to give young black men positive role models. Presumably if they went to a doctor and were prescribed a vitamin C supplement they would be whining about discrimination against the other vitamins....

    (by the way Jon, plotting the sales of black music against the actual number of people from ethnic minorities in the UK, its pretty obvious that 'Black Music' has a huge white audience....)

  • Comment number 25.

    Thanks gC ;)


    Latest news: 'Afro hair salons discriminate against whites'

    Salons specialising in styling Afro hair have been specifically targeting black people, it has been claimed. Ever since a stream of black people were spotted arriving and leaving, suspicions have started to mount. The use of black models in salon marketing only compounds the damning impression of discrimination.

    "It's racism against whites, equivalent to segregation!" complains an anonymous poster...

  • Comment number 26.

    Having a blog discussion around the word 'racist' is not a lot of good as everyone seems to have their own definition.

    For what it is worth, the use of the term 'black music' does tend to exclude people and therefore I reckon that tom_p_willis is about right (if we don’t don’t get hung up about the word 'racist', that is). I certainly think that it is wrong for the BBC to use such divisive language.

    Oh, I believe that Tim Westwood, bless his soul, has pink skin and he presents shows on R1Xtra.

  • Comment number 27.

    #23, #24....

    I'm not suggesting the audience will be ethnically cleansed, I'm suggesting the performers and presenters will be chosen on a racist and discriminatory basis.

    To illustrate the point, perhaps you can see it better if white racism is in question ...

    (Hypothetical) BNP supporters set up the Arian Broadcasting Corporation. They have a new radio station 'white music network.' It aims to cater to 'white needs.' Their policy is that all of the music is by white artists, all of the presenters are white. They put out a press statement that black people are welcome to listen if they want. Tax money is funding this via an EU grant, authorised by the rapidly growing number of right wing MEPs.

    I don't support this: this would be overtly racist. Black people are being excluded as presenters or artists and this is deliberate racist discrimination. The claim that black people can listen if they want is a weak smoke screen to cover the racism.

    Would the second example be considered acceptable or even lawful?

    Would you be happy to pay taxes to fund the 'white music network'? Or would you be protesting?

    Hope that makes my point clearer.

  • Comment number 28.

    To KennethM :
    So in the same way using gender and age to describe programs ("Woman's Hour" and "Children's BBC") is also devisive. You feel it tends to exclude (men and adults) and it is wrong for the BBC to use such terms. People shouldn't get too hung up about sexism and ageism.
    Do you agree or why is this case different?

    To jon112uk :
    What prevents you from making a legal case of racial discrimination agains 1Xtra?

  • Comment number 29.

    #28
    "To jon112uk :
    What prevents you from making a legal case of racial discrimination agains 1Xtra?"
    ============================================

    The colour of my skin.

    If my hypothetical example in #27 was to actually happen then the equality commission would be funding me to take the case forward, the CPS would be at the forefront of prosecution and an 'anti-facist' mob would be fighting with the police to try and burn down the radio station.

    Since the real example is the other way around nothing would happen and I would risk losing my job.

  • Comment number 30.

    #28 _marko The case is different in my view, although I accept that this is a matter of opinion as I cannot prove it. The reason is that I do not believe that we naturally define ourselves by the colour of our skin. We, of course, define ourselves by our gender, our age, our environment, our family and friends etc, even our location. These are natural divisions that we live with.

    However, skin colour is a definition that, I believe, is imposed on us by playground bullies, and, in this case, by the BBC. I am sure that there are countless cases where a 2 year old doesn’t even consider the colour of their skin to be an issue – until they go to school or until they play in the street or in the park.

    It’s even worse when the term chosen is black or white as nobody is black and nobody is white. Although there is obviously prejudice based on skin colour, I believe that using this term panders to this prejudice and therefore adds to divisions. It may be subtle but it is certainly divisive. Addressing us according to gender or age is not divisive as these are natural divisions that we grow up with and define ourselves by.

    As far as sexism and ageism are concerned perhaps you would care to define what they mean to you as both terms have been hijacked by various interested parties and different wings of the media to their own ends, just like racism. So I certainly will not get hung up on using those terms.

    Just to muddy the waters I happen to think that the segregation of children’s tv shows is wrong, but for different reasons that I won’t bore you with now.

  • Comment number 31.

    jon112uk #27

    --------
    (Hypothetical) BNP supporters set up the Arian Broadcasting Corporation. They have a new radio station 'white music network.' It aims to cater to 'white needs.' Their policy is that all of the music is by white artists, all of the presenters are white. They put out a press statement that black people are welcome to listen if they want. Tax money is funding this via an EU grant, authorised by the rapidly growing number of right wing MEPs.

    I don't support this: this would be overtly racist. Black people are being excluded as presenters or artists and this is deliberate racist discrimination. The claim that black people can listen if they want is a weak smoke screen to cover the racism.

    Would the second example be considered acceptable or even lawful?

    --------

    I may be wrong here but as far as I'm aware, there is no policy at BBC 1Xtra that says all the presenters need to be black (discounting any umbrella policy of positive discrimination, which is a separate and debatable argument in itself). Obviously it's not surprising if the majority of presenters are black, given the music played - garage, hip hop, bassline, reggae, etc - is of largely black origin and enjoyed by largely black (but certainly not exclusively so) audiences.

    As for the idea of specifically targeting 'black music'... despite how much some of us would like all notions of black and white to dissolve and for racial neutrality to proliferate, we can't wish current racial identity away or expect it to vanish tomorrow, however artificial the concept of race. At this point in time, there is such a thing as black music and black culture in a way that there isn't for white music and white culture. People know that hip hop and reggae are more associated with black than white, even though no-one is setting strict rules on who can perform it, present it and listen to it. There are various historical reasons for how these genres of music identified with one racial group came to flourish outside the mainstream, but at this point in history, they exist and serve a number of purposes including representation and categorisation. The point is, it's not (typically) about being anti-white; this is not anti-white racism. Pro-black does not necessarily equal anti-white.

    So the question you want me to address is, could the same be said in reverse, with your hypothetical music station explicitly targeting what they call white music? Well, if, in a parallel world, Britain was primarily a nation of black people, if whites were the minority, or if for various historical reasons the musical genres originating from outside the mainstream were more from white than black 'communities', it's easy to see that a white music network would indeed take off and would probably be deemed acceptable. What you can take from that is that, given the equivalent history and sociological factors, the racial duality we're discussing here works both ways, so race isn't the underlying issue. The real underlying duality is more minority/majority rather than black/white.

    So in answer to your question, given that black is minority in this country, given that blacks have traditionally been more persecuted across the world than whites, and given black musical genres have sprung forth while white musical genres have typically not (largely because they didn't need to) - then yes I would be suspicious about the motivation of anyone (not just the BNP) setting up a white music network. Just as I would be suspicious of anyone setting up a straight bar, or a charity to help 'able-bodied people'. Whether any of it should be illegal is a separate matter. I think you can recognise these things but still favour a more libertarian approach, unlike the present government.

  • Comment number 32.

    #31 dotconnect

    I certainly would not want to see 'racial neutrality' nor to 'wish current racial identity away'. Why would anybody want to do that? I also do not understand how race can be described as artificial.

    I must seriously challenge your notion of black culture. Where is this black culture? Who is practising it? Are you seriously suggesting that most people with a skin colour that is darker than a given level can be grouped together in one lump?

    This is as bad and as patronising as the BBC having a radio station called Asian Network where, presumably, they expect Chinese, Japanese, Indians and Pakistanis (I could go on) to all be listening as if they are one mass. The reality is that a narrow community from a small part of Asia tuned in (that is before it was completely changed and overhauled – now nobody listens). Same with Club Asia Radio. This station will never serve all Asians – how can it?

    Do you seriously think that the people in the vast continent of Africa are all the same when in reality they are very very different from one region to another? Take the extremes: the people in North Africa, many with strong Arabic inputs have virtually no connections culturally or in any other way with the people of the south. Take the western coastal areas and compare them with the Central Africa. And what about the Caribbean and many other countries around the world? Do your seriously expect people who have originated from all parts of the globe and even from very different parts within one continent to all share a common bond?

    When they come to the UK are they all to be bundled together as one mass and given the label black? Don’t get me wrong, I do know people who describe themselves as black and those that describe themselves as white. However, the fact that we have had years of indoctrination by the media and government and employment forms that force us to make a choice doesn’t make it right. I am also convinced that the majority of the population would not use either term if it was not forced upon them. Certainly the media – of all flavours – use these terms, but real people living real lives, in general, do not in my experience.

    Of course, to take another comment you made, perhaps they should be expected to forget their heritage and become racially neutral? Are those from the UK living in Spain racially neutral? I doubt it. How can anybody anywhere deny where they came from?

    My problem is with the childish and divisive term black (and white). My argument is a mirror image of yours, it seems. I consider the notion of black culture to be artificial. Race is very real and is inside all of us. The terms black (and white) are imposed on us by our media, the government and by playground bullies.

    Your minority/majority argument doesn’t wash either. If that was the case then there would be such as thing as a white music radio station in India as there is a large minority of 'white' people (and that is only one example). Is it because we couldn’t accept a radio station to tried to cater for all tastes across Europe, Scandinavia, much of the Americas, much of Russia, Antipodean regions and those pale skinned people from Asia and Africa?

  • Comment number 33.

    Kenneth,

    Debating the rights or wrongs of the label 'black music' is missing the point somewhat though. I would personally much rather music wasn't labelled by racial grounds, however broad and loose the definition - but the fact of the matter is that, at this point in time, some genres are loosely categorised in this way. This categorisation exists and has been largely accepted by people of all colours for some time now as fairly inoffensive.

    When I say it's useless trying to wish it away, that's what I'm referring to. When people categorise music like reggae as black music for example, they are acknowledging a correlation, an origin, a market that exists, the background of the people who most commonly specialise in it. They are not setting out the rules themselves.

    From an idealistic point of view, I actually agree with a lot of what you've written above and in previous posts here. But from a more practical point of view, it just strikes me as slightly premature. We can't magic away the label 'black music' or the correlation between genre and race just by all closing our eyes and jumping at the same time, as it were. (Even less so the concept of black and white as racial identities or labels, even though I agree with you about their artificiality.) I think racial categorisation of music will disappear in time, and I'm pleased about that. But for now, those associations and that term exists, and the reason for the lack of outcry is because it's usually intended in a way that is deemed more empowering than denigrating (rightly or wrongly).

  • Comment number 34.

    Just to add, my original point was that if we want to stretch the definition of the word 'racist' to the lengths that some wish to in order to accomodate this apparent "discrimination against whites" by this radio station, then surely we need to be prepared to acknowledge that there's a big difference from one end of the spectrum to the other, that the two extremes of what we're now calling 'racism' are really very different - not differentiated by skin colour, but rather by the consequences suffered. Put simply, a radio station for all listeners that specialises in black music (more often than not referred to as urban music) is not remotely as bad as the 'racism' suffered by many non-white people in Britain - what we commonly know as racism - things that are motivated by hatred. In seeking to use the term to apply to both, it's hard not to form the conclusion that those so upset at the radio station are trying to tap into the unquestionable unacceptability of the latter to draw an unfair equivalence and artificially strengthen their own grievance.

  • Comment number 35.

    I read this item thinking it was about a music station which is on the radio and up comes the old chestnut about race well a colour is not a race as the UK have many diffrent colours of born and breed here Brits some like classical music like my self and I am because of a mixed background I have a nice colour not to black not to white and not to Asian I listen to lots of music as the television is rubbish most of the time. The young of today who live in mixed areas usually mix well and colour does not come into it those who live in areas that do not have a mixture have more trouble I have lived in both and now live in a mixed area. Music is for anyone that enjoys it the classics are mostly white dominated and middle class they even speak the language and the information tends to be about dead men women get a look in if they sing or play something but we do not talk about Paul Robson the black singer who was a Commie. Its what the music says to you not what colour a person is of course you get the BNP who like to have their say which is fine as no one really cares. I will give the show a listen I am in my 60s and a nice colour.

  • Comment number 36.

    31, 34
    (Is it 'racism'?)

    I think this is the key point...

    "...given that blacks have traditionally been more persecuted across the world..." #31

    "...Put simply, a radio station for all listeners that specialises in black music (more often than not referred to as urban music) is not remotely as bad as the 'racism' suffered by many non-white people in Britain..." #34

    This is where we disagree. I think it is worse.

    If someone wants to put up a 'whites only' sign at their business in 21st century Britain then the law is there to deal with it. The person reporting it will be heavily supported by a variety of state organisations and the evil perpetrator will be in deep do-do.

    When the BBC puts up a 'black only' or 'asian only' sign then this is not to be questioned. Certainly no one with any sense would publicly and openly dare to question it. Not only are people subject to discrimination, they are also subject to repression when they say they are unhappy with the discrimination.

    So far as a I can see the justification in your arguments is that this is OK because black people have historically suffered discrimination.

    My view on that is that when black people suffer discrimination they have been and still are willing to publicise, complain and protest about it.

    Now that I am being subjected to discrimination, I reserve the right to do the same. I will also call it racism without hesitation.


    (I see no one thought it was ok for the (hypothetical) 'Aryan Broadcasting Corporation' (#27) to have a white radio station - as I suggest, some pretty strong double standards at work here)

  • Comment number 37.

    jon112uk, #36:

    "When the BBC puts up a 'black only' or 'asian only' sign then this is not to be questioned."

    Wrong, because that's not what they're doing!


    "So far as a I can see the justification in your arguments is that this is OK because black people have historically suffered discrimination."

    No it's not nearly as simplistic as that. Read the whole thing.


    "(I see no one thought it was ok for the (hypothetical) 'Aryan Broadcasting Corporation' (#27) to have a white radio station - as I suggest, some pretty strong double standards at work here)"

    I addressed this and explained at length why I felt it wasn't double standards.

  • Comment number 38.

    #37

    I read your longer comment (#31) again (I did read it previously).

    Still sounds like the argument is black people are in a statistical minority, black people have historically been disadvantaged: that means discriminating against the evil ex-oppressor white folk is OK.

    Sorry, disagree. The much cherished victim status is getting way out of date.

    Regardless of historical events, I see no reason to accept racism directed against anyone and that includes white people.

    BBC with a 'black only' sign? Of the names mentioned in article, Tina Dahely is asian, Nesta McGregor is black Jamaican born and David Garrido is Colombian ethnicity. Not many white folk there. I can't believe anyone is telling me that the black music channel is going to be hosted by white men and have equal/proportionate representation of white artists? Surely no one is going to make that claim?

  • Comment number 39.

    #38

    "Still sounds like the argument is black people are in a statistical minority, black people have historically been disadvantaged:

    No, you're jumping *over* a stage with your reasoning here. What you quote above are possible reasons I threw out there for why identifiably black music genres sprung up and developed as they have. They are not meant to read as reasons for justifying the station itself (or at least that's a separate argument if they do). 1Xtra and other stations are justified by the consequence of those reasons (ie. that identifiably black music genres exist), not the reasons themselves (the historical factors). That's the only argument I'm making here. Important difference.

    But either way...


    "...that means discriminating against the evil ex-oppressor white folk is OK."

    No.

    (a) No-one is lumping together white folk as evil ex-oppressors here. This isn't some exercise in historical guilt.

    (b) This example of so-called 'discrimination' that white people are apparently facing is on a very different par to the other side of the scale of discrimination, which I've already referred to in the last-but-one post (not marked by colour of skin but by severity of consequences). I'm convinced this should be so obvious that it doesn't need saying. You seem determined not to admit this, or to view it as a kind of political correctness thing. I don't know that I'm ever going to change your mind on this!


    "The much cherished victim status is getting way out of date."

    It's interesting to me how often those most inclined to sneer about minorities' victim status and "PC gone mad" are the first to jump in when the slightest, smallest perceived encroachment occurs on their territory. It's one of the great ironies of this ungenerous PC-backlash era. The whole "white people/Christians/Heterosexuals/Men are the most discriminated against these days..." whine, which often comes across as mere jealousy at someone else's victim status being acknowledged.


    "BBC with a 'black only' sign? Of the names mentioned in article, Tina Dahely is asian, Nesta McGregor is black Jamaican born and David Garrido is Colombian ethnicity. Not many white folk there. I can't believe anyone is telling me that the black music channel is going to be hosted by white men and have equal/proportionate representation of white artists? Surely no one is going to make that claim?"

    Well once again, this is not the same as insisting 'black only'. Your reasoning seems to be characterized by this tendency to not recognise small but important distinctions. Whether you can't or whether you won't, I'm not sure.

    As an aside, I would be very interested to read a contribution either from Rod or someone else from one of the listed stations in this thread, even though this is a bit of a contentious issue.

  • Comment number 40.

    #39

    I think we'll have to agree to differ on this one dotconnect.


    Frankly the whole thing sounds a bit familiar. A small but powerful minority demanding to be served separately from the indigenous majority.

    Didn't they have something like this in South Africa a while back?

    Apartheid I think they called it.

  • Comment number 41.

    Apartheid? 1Xtra?

    I'm only going to repeat myself, so will definitely have to agree to differ on that.

  • Comment number 42.

    #35

    Thank you for a bit of sanity in this what is racism war.

    Music is a great communicator across cultures. It doesn't matter where you are from, what colour you happen to be, what shape you are, what academic level you have attained, or how you move to rhythms and beats, there is something for you to enjoy - whatever your mood.

    Sure language can get in the way of understanding a song but you can still get a lot from the musical performance. Personally I'd like a lot more diversity in the presentation of music on the BBC; and it should never be divided into "cultures" that amount to "branding" it.

    Anyone who has listened to a Simon Bolivar's Youth Orchestra (comprised mainly of young people of South American Indian extraction) concert will be amazed at how they deal with something as sophisticated as Shostakovich for example. Now that IS truly remarkable.

  • Comment number 43.

    42. At 8:22pm on 10 Aug 2009, fillandfrowpist wrote:

    "Music is a great communicator across cultures. It doesn't matter where you are from, what colour you happen to be, what shape you are, what academic level you have attained....

    ....Personally I'd like a lot more diversity in the presentation of music on the BBC; and it should never be divided into "cultures" that amount to "branding" it."
    =========================================

    Happy to agree with that.

  • Comment number 44.

    1Xtra is aimed at a target audience that is readily disengaged from politics, and so I applaud the efforts made to revamp news coverage on the channel. STIs and online sexual bullying are big issues disproportionately affecting this audience, and 1Xtra is right to focus on them - hopefully that keeps the 'fluff' to a minimum (although I accept it's the hook that can bait much of this audience, and who's to say only this audience need 'fluff' to attract them to news? Look at the number of celebrity stories in almost every newspaper!).

  • Comment number 45.

    Rod: Thanks and my best wishes for the (new) News Shot at 1XTRA....

    =Dennis Junior=

 

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