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Are you sending out an SOS for 6 Music?

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Will Gompertz | 12:21 UK time, Monday, 1 March 2010

On the whole people like to give and they like to take. What they tend not to like is having things given to them and then taken away again.

They might not have used the toy or played with the gerbil, but it's theirs and that's that. But to have something taken away for which you have helped to pay, well that can be annoying.

6 Music logoSo, it's no great surprise to see that over 77,500 people have already signed up to the Save 6 Radio Facebook page, plus vigorously tweeting, after the threat of the station's closure was written about in the press last week.

Whether or not the BBC takes this action will be revealed in due course, but it does throw up some debating points about what platforms the BBC should be providing for popular music.

As I understand it 6 Music fills a gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2, mixing old with new across a wide musical spectrum from indie to jazz and most stops in-between.

A generation ago this role of pop eclecticism was fulfilled by giving a late evening slot on Radio 1 to the likes of John Peel and Andy Kershaw.

That's when pop music could be contained within two or three categories in your local Our Price Records. I worked in one of their shops and think it went something like: Rock/Pop, Soul/Reggae and Country/Easy Listening.

Now there are loads of categories that then have sub-categories which then cross-over via collaborations into completely new categories. Times, they have a-changed.

6 Music presenter Jarvis CockerThe BBC set up new digital radio stations 1Xtra and 6 Music in an attempt to serve this burgeoning area of the contemporary arts. And they have found an audience.

So why would they chop 6 Music now, when in the ears of many, it has just started to find its mojo?

It's unlikely to be because of the ratio between its running costs and audience size; if that was the case Radio 3 would have been axed years ago.

It might be because it serves an affluent audience profile which the corporation feels it already caters for, and by having 6 Music is not leaving room for the commercial sector to play a part.

That's perfectly reasonable, but would the commercial sector run 6 Music in its current guise?

A successful national radio entrepreneur I talked to told me that he made his station work by having a very limited playlist, which was then repeated throughout the day. That's the polar opposite to 6 Music's approach.

Then there are all the arguments about the future of digital radio, the BBC licence fee and how it should be spent. But perhaps the most important debate to have is with the artists themselves and their producers and labels.

Is 6 Music the right platform for them? Could Radio 1 or Radio 2 be re-shaped to cover 6 Music's ground? Would they prefer a non-BBC platform? In short, how do they feel they would be best served?


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  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    I have never liked Radios 1 + 2. Radio 1 is too youth orientated, and I find 2 too bland. 6Music has been the perfect solution to this, providing a much needed third choice in the BBCs line up, and one that isn't catered for anywhere in the commercial sector. I already listen to more hours on 6music in a week than I watch on BBC 1 in a year!

    If 6music is closed, I will feel the BBC has turned its back on my demographic, and has completely lost sight of its reason for being.

  • Comment number 3.

    Radio 6 would have a lot more listeners, including myself more often, if it was not only on DAB. There is still a low proportion of people using DAB as their normal radio source, car radios and most home radios are still analogue. There is a market for a wider range of music stations but accessibility is a problem.

  • Comment number 4.

    "It's unlikely to be because of the ratio between its running costs and audience size; if that was the case Radio 3 would have been axed years ago."

    Exactly. 6 Music, if anything, is less niche than Radio 3. Why not swap 'em over? Let's try having R3 digital only for a while and 6Music on FM. It will be only when 6Music is available in cars and on builder's radios that we will get handle on it's true popularity and potential.

  • Comment number 5.

    Can someone please explain what all this fuss is about? Digital radio is, it seems to me, only a service for an elite few - who probably live in London and have nothing better to do. Here in rural Devon we can't get ANY digital radio stations (except Five-live occasionally on top of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom). And yes, the radio (which cost a small fortune) IS working perfectly - we've checked!If the BBC can't be bothered to ensure proper coverage for all users then they should relinquish the privilege to someone else who can, and will!

  • Comment number 6.

    I fall solidly into the gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2 and looking at 6 Music's schedule, it seems perfect for me. I'd love to listen to it... but I never have, because I don't have a digital radio. 6 Music alone simply isn't worth buying a DAB radio for. You can listen online, but I listen to radio in my car and to wake me up in a morning, so that's out.

    There must be a whole generation of potential listeners like me that simply can't access this channel.

  • Comment number 7.

    The Beeb have always been luke warm to new music and new sounds. Just look at Radio Caroline which forced BBC to set up, but they then started to fill it with indenti-kit DJs with the dreaded play list.

    Luckily Radio 1 night time escaped this and some original and inspiring music, but now when music is once again getting bland and boring with cloned american R&B sing and X factor singers Mark Thompson has put in the knife and incredibly under the excuse of quality.

    Unfortunately neither the Tories or Labour probably see many votes for 6 music listeners and it is an easy target, especially as live music is still feared by the mainstream media in terms of drugs, sex and rock & roll.

    So goodbye to the creative music industry. 6 music is neither high brow or low brow to be supported, just vital for our music heritage and breaking in new bands and sounds.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm not a big 6 Music listener but I'd certainly miss it. Adam & Joe are probably my favourites. I think the BBC's main problem is with Radio 2; it's such a schizophrenic station I never know what to expect. I'm 41 and like guitar-based music; "The Organist Entertains" invites an immediate turn off (I thought it was a joke the first time I heard it). Radio 1 has a habit of playing some incredibly annoying pop in between some good stuff. Let's not even talk about the repetitive pap on local commercial stations (and the pain of the adverts). Probably my favourite digital station is Q but that has limited availability. 6 Music is a station I would listen to a fair bit, were it not for the fact that I am increasingly just listening to my mp3 player. The problem then is that I become more detached from latest releases.

  • Comment number 9.

    6 Music is one of the best reasons to pay the licence fee. No commercial station has ever come close to offering its breadth of presenting talent or diversity of music. If it goes, I shall have one less reason - a big one at that - to love the BBC.

  • Comment number 10.

    "As I understand it 6 Music fills a gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2"

    Then you clearly don't understand it Will. 6 Music covers many different types of music that you would rarely or (more likely) never hear on any mainstream station. It doesn't have presenters who think music is to fill the gaps between them talking, allow them have a cup of tea or go to the toilet. They understand, listen to and even have some degree of choice over the music they play. Listen to the range of music played by Marc riley, Gideon Coe or Guy Garvey (to name just three at random) and you will hopefully understand much better.

  • Comment number 11.

    I can't beleive the BBC are even considering this. 6 Music is one of the few channels that the BBC provide for my license fee, that I actually want. Not only that it is one of the few radio stations in the UK that gives air time to new and upcoming bands that didn't start life on (insert your reality show name here). If they want to axe any radio station is should be Radio 1 because their playlist is already well catered for by most commercial radio stations across the country.

  • Comment number 12.

    Reminds me of what happened to the old Radio 5. Just as it started to find its feet and popularity, BBC transformed it into a self serving sports channel.

    Radio6 has some strong presenters and interesting choice of music, for people who despair of the mainstream, zombie programming. (they even play the Cardiacs occasionally!).

    Commercial radio would not touch the average R6 output with a barge pole. They are only interested in the housewife, retired, background music in shops and office, audience.

    So if the industry is interested in its future, it has to allow an outlet for new and experimental bands. And from when I last looked, music was a big earner for UK PLC. It makes no sense to cut off the oxygen of publicity to supply of new talent.

    It could be a bit a kite flying by management. An accountant somewhere wants cost savings, and looking at the audience size of R6, is suggesting R6 is scrapped. Management testing public support, then goes back to the bean counters/treasury for a reason to save it.

  • Comment number 13.

    Cancelling 6 Music before the digital switchover is completed nationwide is crazy. There are vast swathes of the nation who can't even pick up 6Music yet! It clearly plays the best music on the airwaves and probably has the most fervent fanbase of any station. To consider cutting it is an insult. Radio 3 could be chopped today and no-one would notice!

  • Comment number 14.

    Could Radio 1 or Radio 2 be re-shaped

    Radio 1 went for the youth market a few years ago. That's obvious from the CBBC style presenters, and highly repetitive playlist. Radio 2, as much as they try, is never going to be the place for the late 20 to 30-somethings that have left Radio 1.

    If they put Radio 1 and 2 back to what they were, (and that worked for years), then yes, 6 Music would perhaps be superfluous, especially as DAB is a crock of rubbish, and not really available in vehicles, where a lot of radio listeners are for lots of the day.

    However, if 6 Music was on an FM frequency, it's listener numbers would sky rocket.

    But that's not going to happen, is it? The Beeb will never admit mistakes, it would rather cut off it's nose to spite its face.

  • Comment number 15.

    " having 6 Music is not leaving room for the commercial sector to play a part. "
    Surely this line of argument is more relevant to Radio 1, which (at least during primetime hours) has a limited playlist, generally restricted to mainstream music tastes that many commercial (national and local) radio stations already cater for (as indicated by the quoted radio entrepreneur).
    I fully agree with the comment "That's the polar opposite to 6 Music's approach" and it would be a great shame if Radio 6 was abandoned or consigned to the early hours of a Tuesday morning on Radio 1! New, adventurous music, comedy and other radio entertainment needs a permanent primetime home: and Radio 6 is it!

  • Comment number 16.

    Why get rid of radio 6 when it is probably the only decent station left? and plays real music for real music fans.

    I agree with earlier posts - get rid of radio 1 and 2 instead.

    When I want to listen to music I want to listen to just that - not loads of chat or commercials.

  • Comment number 17.

    If the commercial sector could run a station like 6 Music, why haven't they already done so? Why have we seen the likes Jazz FM and XFM either fail or become ever more diluted? Most stations on the dial simply provide the listener with little more than audio wallpaper, running extremely limited playlists, as you mentioned. I listened to Virgin (as it then was) for a couple of months and realised after a while that my awareness of music was becoming increasingly blinkered. It was Oasis, Razorlight and Snow Patrol over and over again. Last week on Lauren Laverne show, I heard so much stuff I'd never heard before I had to start jotting down notes. And I love that. Entertainment music radio has its place, but hopefully so too does radio that treats music as culturally significant.

  • Comment number 18.

    "as I understand it". How can we expect the BBC to realise the importance of 6 music when its own arts editor makes such a ridiculous statement. 6 music is like no other station currently broadcasting (n a good way) and should certainly also be availbale on analogue.

  • Comment number 19.

    Short and sweet - Keep 6 Music!

  • Comment number 20.

    6 music is a unique voice and a credit to the BBC. Not only does it promote a wide range of new and interesting music, it also mines the rich & wonderful BBC archives. It could not exist in any other format. It HAS to stay.

  • Comment number 21.

    @yo diamond, before you pile in, engage brain. "as I understand it" can mean his interpretation of 6 Music's demographic/creative position in the market, in no way implying ignorance on Mr Gompert's part. The man used to work in Our Price, and has chosen to write a blog on the subject. I think it is safe to assume he knows what he's talking about. unlike you.

  • Comment number 22.

    Actually, 6 Music is well worth buying a digital radio for -- in fact, we have two. And it's not just because 'we live in London and don't have anything better to do'. It fills the gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2 so well that we don't listen to either. It's DJs are great, the music selection is awesome and unusual, and it has none of the big-budget hype (and the big-budget programming limitations) of the other two. I will be so, so sad, and so damn angry, if 6 Music does get axed in the end. And for those of you who don't have a digital radio, why don't you try listening to it online if you, like me and like many of us, are stuck in front of a computer for 8 hours a day.

  • Comment number 23.

    The BBC, courtesy of the security of its funding, has evolved into a benign behemoth and functions as a depository, formulator and promoter of liberal culture. This unique blessing is to be constitutionally celebrated by the citizens of this country. Of course, mistakes occur within its essential freedom of operation, but that is welcomed as evidence of a creative process being under way. This is a slap on the back and an exhortation to maintain confidence in the face criticism drummed up by those who are frightened of its strength of liberal and artistic purpose.

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    The argument that commercial radio should fill the gap left by 6Music simply doesn't stack up. Firstly, commercial radio by definition has profit as its main motive. This means playing music that sells the best, not playing the best music, hence you end up with limited and tired playlists. Secondly, the BBC is, it is alleged, a public service broadcaster. This means that it should provide entertaining and informative radio output that is not necessarily geared towards maximising return on investment. At least some parts of the company should be driven by art rather than profit.

    The Beeb needs to start listening to its service users, not riding roughshod over them.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm a 35 year old music lover, please do not ditch 6 music. Radio 1 does not cater for me, especially during the day, but even at night it's too yoof orientated. There's no Radcliffe, no Peel, think there's Lamacq but that alone just don't cut it. I enjoy Radio 2 more than I do 1, there was a time I'd never thought I'd say that, but 2 doesn't have the scope 6 has. I can listen to 6 all day and all of the night. If the article is correct and the possible ditching is due to the belief that someone like me is well-catered for then think again. Not only has technology moved on in the last 2 decades but beliefs and outlooks have. Politicians etc. continually let us down whereas artists, singers, musicians et al are my social and moral compass. Move 6 music from DAB only, even if only temporarily, and watch the figures shoot through the roof as more and more people get it.

  • Comment number 27.

    6 Music should stay, I listen most mornings, evenings and during the day when I get chance. 6 Music plays such a wide range of music it would be a disaster if it were axed. I have discovered numerous new and old acts whilst listening to it which in turn has encouraged me to buy more CDs. If I had a choice about it - my licence fee would only be used for 6 Music. Without 6 Music, Jools Holland's Later, Film 2010 and a couple of other shows I don't have much use for the BBC. So, BBC bosses - listen to the licence fee payers, the people who pay your salaries - DON'T AXE 6 MUSIC. By the way, what is the point of Radio 1? We can find that daytime playlist on any commercial station. Axe Radio 1 instead and save yourselves even more money which could in turn be spent on more interesting/diverse shows.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think the fundamental problem is that the BBC haven't worked out what they want 6Music to be.

    Take the Sunday afternoon / evemning schedule for example: "Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service" at 15:30, "Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone" at 17:30 and the sublime "Guy Garvey's Finest Hour" at 22:00 are all likely to appeal to a common core audience, feature music other stations (Radios 1 and 2 included) wouldn't play, and have engaging personable presenters who convey their love for music. All three shows have certainly broadened my musical horizons in a way that no commercial station ever could. And in the middle of this evening schedule we have Dave Pearce's Dance Anthems, a completely incongruous inclusion that makes me switch off quick, and would clearly be better placed on Radio 1.

    There isn't room for 6Music in between Radios 1 and 2 - there's no distinct age-group gap.

    Instead the BBC should gather together its more eclectic offerings, such as Radio 3's contemporary "Jazz on 3" and "World on 3", perhaps some of the folk content from Radio 2, and Mark Radcliffe & Stuart Maconie's Radio 2 show, and place them on 6Music. This'd make 6Music a distinctive offering, and free up space on the other networks for them to focus on their core audiences.

    There's plenty of scope to redistribute the existing content across Radios 1, 2, 3 and 6Music to make 6Music produce something distinctive and engaging that doesn't complete with commercial radio, and fufills the Reith vision to educate, inform and entertain.

  • Comment number 29.

    I wondered some time ago what they'd do with 6music once they turned the analogue Radio 2 off. I don't see too much difference but that's because I listen differently to others. I did start to listen to 6 from day one but it soon became dull and rather too much like commercial stations, the atrocious jingles and trailers filling in the role of the atrocious ads. I believe it was modelled on commercial radio for the wide, red braces generation.

    I think it should stay. There's too much music for such limited air time. Ideally, I would like the BBC to get away from playlists and commercialism, to not be a player in the music business/industry. If it has to merge and the remaining stations have to budge up and make room, I hope they show some intelligent discrimination and lose some of the populist shows. Failing this they should commission packaged shows from presenters and broadcasters for transmission over the internet only, via iPlayer.

    I would like to put in a special word for Craig Charles' Funk/Soul Show. (Or Trunk of Funk). It's about the only thing I still tune into on 6Music. I'd hate to lose that.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am a huge fan of 6 Music and it caters for an audience that isn't served by any other station. The BBC's suggestion that commercial stations should cater to 30 to 50 years olds is absolutely laughable (any suggestions would be greatly appreciated). I simply can't see the logic of dismantling this great station which, more than most, fulfils Lord Reith's original statement: "The BBC is here to inform, educate and entertain, to enrich people's lives."

    Also, to anyone who says they can't listen because they don't have a DAB radio, try channel 707 on Freeview or Freesat to find out what you're missing. As for your car, while £80 is a litttle steep, Pure's in-car DAB is great and I can't imagine my commute without it. You'll also get a whole heap of other digital stations, including crystal-clear 5 Live.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm a Brit living in Holland so listening to my beloved 6Music via DAB is not an option.

    For those who have wifi in the house but otherwise no access to DAB broadcasting, get yourself an internet radio. I wake up every morning to whatever 6Music is playing. Easy.

  • Comment number 32.

    I live just 40 miles from London in the Thames Valley - not some remote wilderness.

    However, I cannot receive any BBC DAB radio - nor Freeview.

    So cancel the lot as far as I am concerned. It wouldn't affect me one jot.

  • Comment number 33.

    BBC6Music is the only thing that I regularly listen to and it would be a disaster if it went.

    I personally think that the number of people turning around saying "What's 6 music?" is indicative of the true problem.

    This blog entry say pretty much everything else I would want to say on the matter, and much more eloquantly

  • Comment number 34.

    @ Paul Morris
    "Digital radio is, it seems to me, only a service for an elite few - who probably live in London and have nothing better to do. Here in rural Devon we can't get ANY digital radio stations (except Five-live occasionally on top of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom)"

    I listen to 6Music all day at work. Without it I would be forced to listen to local commecial stations *shudder* or Radio 1 *double shudder*. It took me 2 weeks of nagging to get the bosses to put the radio onto 6Music, and now no-one can believe that they used to listen to anything else. I can assure you, we are not just sat around with nothing better to do - people appreciate good radio to lighten the working day and 6 most certainly does that.

    Also, the fact that your argument seems to be 'I can't get it so I don't care about anyone else' is rather narrowminded to say the least.

    Regards from (rural) East Yorkshire.

  • Comment number 35.

    6Music fills that vital gap between the inane prattling of the desperate 30-somethings on Radio 1 that are still trying to be down with the kids and the embarrassing uncle-types that dominate Cardigan FM, sorry I mean Radio 2 - Radcliffe & Maconie excepted! It is the only place for the real musos to go and I will be vey disappointed if it closes.

  • Comment number 36.

    If the BBC did nothing other than 6 Music, Radio 4 and BBC Four it would be worth every penny of the licence fee. If the BBC doesn't do this kind of thing we have to ask what is the point of it.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am someone who is defintely in favour of the BBC and unlike many do not begrudge them my licence fee. But this is precisely because they produce quality programming that the commercial sector doesn't bother with. If 6 music is removed because it is not 'mainstream' enough, then what is the point of my licence fee? I can turn to commercial radio for a diet of bland pap if that's what I want...

  • Comment number 38.

    I sit in an office and subjected to Radio 1 all day if only we could have the choice of 6 music I am sure I would be able to convert everyone else.

  • Comment number 39.

    Recently we acquired a DAB radio and was pleasantly surprised with the range of programming on 6Music, if I'm in my car I'll often flick through Radios 1-4 but never stay with them for very long, preferring a CD or often a local community station (All Fm where I live).

    6 Music has the feel of a community station in that it's delivering programs by presenters that are passionate about what they do, and knowledgeable about the music they are playing. Even if I'm not 100% into the music to begin with, hearing someone passionate about it makes you feel like you're listening to the absolute best of that genre and often, after a few tunes, I find myself warming to it.

    This, for me, is the value of 6Music, introducing listeners to things outside their regular listening habits but without making you feel like an outsider. Easily my favourite BBC station, should not be axed.

  • Comment number 40.

    Please leave 6 music alone. For me this represents about 80% of the value for money I get from my licence. If you want to cull something, try radio 3. I have never met anyone who listens to it and it seems to clog up more than it's share of the FM band.

  • Comment number 41.

    I WAS an avid listener of 6Music in the days of the Psion Wavefinder. Up to a couple of years ago i still listened to it most days, but i found it becoming more and more radio1 in style - multi presenters, presenters with more style than substance.
    I do not wish to name names as these presenters do what they do well.

    I do not think that 6Music is different enough to warrant a separate channel. I shall not pass a tear when it goes - I now use my Internet radio/Firefly music server to get the content that i require, without the inane chatter.

  • Comment number 42.

    "As I understand it 6 Music fills a gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2"

    A better way to think of 6music is as a modern non-classical music equivalent of Radio 3.
    It is absolutely the epitome of the type of public service broadcasting that is enshrined in the BBC charter and Reithian ideals.
    To suggest that it could be replicated by commercial channels is as accurate as saying that Radio 3 could be replaced by Classic FM and Radio 4 replaced by Talksport.
    It should not be shut down. Rather, it should be promoted properly and extended to the FM network to allow all licence payers the opportunity to enjoy its content.
    6music is a rare example of the BBC doing something absolutely right. Only a fool would throw it away while keeping drivel (38% viewer rating) like BBC3.

  • Comment number 43.

    @Paul Morris re
    "Can someone please explain what all this fuss is about? Digital radio is, it seems to me, only a service for an elite few - who probably live in London..."
    Let me explain:
    a) 6 music is also available on the internet
    b) the only only elite facets of living in or near London, are paying more taxes and then receiving worse services and conditions. As the Government uses tax money from the south to subsidise Scotland, the North and the South West - which makes that kind of remark particularly galling!
    c) without the likes of 6 Music - we'll be a on a perpetual diet of Simon-Cowell-like products - go enjoy!

  • Comment number 44.

    Please can we have the extra bandwidth to increase the bitrate on Radio 3?

  • Comment number 45.

    The BBC has been told to stop chasing ratings and competing with the commercial stations, surely that would mean scrapping radio 1, not 6 music.

  • Comment number 46.

    Looks like this blog has stirred up a hornets nest!
    6 music is only available on DAB. If DAB were available more widely in cars, then perhaps its audience share would be higher.
    Until DAB is a fixture in cars, stations like 6 will remain a niche station with a small audience.
    The majority of radio is listened to in a car. iPods are for YOUR choice of music and I cant remember anyone using a radio on a bus or train as a radio station is more of a "community" event for listening.

  • Comment number 47.

    Commercial stations never have and never will offer what 6 Music produces. When London's XFM first started it perhaps came close until it was bought out and turned into a limited playlist commercial station of little interest. I love not knowing what will be played next, whether old favourites or exciting new songs. Don't close 6 Music, expand it! Let's get the station on to FM and out to an even bigger audience!

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm 47 and there is no station on the BBC that caters to my needs - except for 6. If I'm part of an "affluent audience profile which the corporation feels it already caters for", I'd like know where these services are.

    I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with paying a license fee that increasingly meets fewer of my needs. I expect that soon my licence fee will only be buying me Today, The World at One and comedy output on Radio 4.

    Think again, BBC. Why not try and promote the 6Music brand rather than concentrating on individuals who appear on the network?

    Save 6Music.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm finding it hard to understand people saying that 6 music isn't available to them. I have a DAB radio in my car so they are available and there are also plenty of Internet radio devices which are able to stream 6 music, not to mention through satellite and cable TV as well - surely one of these ways of listening can fit in with how you listen to the radio?
    It would be such a shame if 6 went, I have never liked chart music so didn't really listen to radio at all until I found 6 Music and I don't know what I'd do without it now.

  • Comment number 50.

    There is no way that Radios 1 and 2 could be 're-shaped' to cover 6 Music's ground. It is its own station with its own erudite and often tongue-in-cheek personality, and it is absolutely vital that it remains so!

    In fact, only a month or so ago, 6 Music began broadcasting the best show I've heard since John Peel, in Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Sermon. How could you even contemplate ditching such gems as that?!

    The BBC are already failing on the comedy front, by cowardly commissioning far too much safe and rehashed tediousness. Please don't take away our decent music too!

    If 6 Music goes, then the BBC's reason for being goes too. And so will I, as a listener.

  • Comment number 51.

    The BBC top brass should spend less time counting their money and admiring their pension pots and start looking at BBC problems.
    Q1. Why don't enough people listen to 6music?

    The BBC top brass haven't spotted the fact that DAB is still in the stone age as far as reliable radio reception is concerned. If the BBC put 6Music and a loudspeaker on top of broadcasting house and turned the volume up to No. 11 then they would suddenly find they had more listeners.

    So, the answer to Q1. is to pay top brass and slebritee 'presenters' a whole lot less money and invest the money saved in FM because FM actually works. Goodness knows what will happen when the alleged 'FM Turn Off' actually happens. I think BBC radio will effectively turn itself off.

  • Comment number 52.

    By cancelling 6 Music all digital radios become obsolete and will find their way to landfills. It's the only channel I listen to and the reason I bought a digital radio. I listen to Lauren Lavern every day, Adam and Joe (also Collins and Herring at the mo), Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show, Jarvis Cocker, Steve Lamacq, subscribe to several podcast and dip in to several other shows. I don't listen to any other radio station!
    If you have to save money, then please combine it with a few other networks that also face extinction. That way 6 Music will remain the most diverse and interesting channel we know.
    6 Music is not dead, long live 6 Music

  • Comment number 53.

    Pre-moderated posts are currently taking about an hour to clear. What is going on, this is worse than ever!!

  • Comment number 54.

    Personally I don't think auntie Beeb is doing enough for modern british musicians. Wit the dawn of the net and then the eventual fall of the record labels TV has done everything but embrace proper music. Endless talent shows that are saving the record labels and also giving people a false perception of what good music/talent is even all about.

    IMO the beeb have chosen to wait out the death of the record label and even contributed to it by axing TOTP. But now they have nothing except some documentary's and Jools.

    Even then Jools is being affected by the small variety of popular music.

    It woudld be nice to see 6 live but to be honest the point of it is fairly defeatist. An unpopular program with a small audience on possibly the first/oldest platform of mass media.

    Why not bring back shows like Whistle test or tube. Support local unsigned musicians. Actually have a music section on the BBC website which is not just tabloid pop star stories. I dont care about Cheryl Cole.

    This country has a young generation of incredible musicians that are not just going to be "forgotten" as musicians. But will never even get the chance to be play.

    Cmon Beeb as major part of British culture why don;t you try and embrace the forgotten art form known as music.

  • Comment number 55.

    "As I understand it 6 Music fills a gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2..."

    Wow. I think this sums up why 6 Music is at risk. Not even the BBC's arts editor is familiar with the output. Try listening to it in order to form an opinion first

  • Comment number 56.

    Kelptron You damn-right about cancelling radio 1.

    Anyone interested or know where there is a music forum website discussing all kinds and forms of music ?

    I feel alone in the mediocrity of the mass media.

  • Comment number 57.

    One solution would be to ship everything from 6 Music into a revamped Radios 1 and 3. Both badly need revolutionising - Radio 1 to serve a broader audience age range from a much bigger reservoir of music; Radio 3 to reduce its mind-rotting obsession with classical music and play respected music from every genre. There's also no reason why Asian music shouldn't become mainstream - we already have an overdose of US black urban music, which is arguably less valid on UK airwaves than music from India, Pakistan etc.

  • Comment number 58.

    If 6 Music was available on FM it would easily become one of the most listened to stations in the UK. The fact that it is only available on DAB or online is its downfall. Maybe it was always viewed as an experiment by the BBC, but I really think it is one of the only stations that fulfills it's remit, top to bottom.

    We have a building full of employees who all listen to 6Music every day through our work computers; this is the easiest way for most people to listen 9am-6pm, and I would hazard a guess this is how most of their daytime listeners listen to the station. We also access an extra 40% of its output through listen again.
    If it was available through normal radio I would never move my dial.
    6 Music truly fills the gap between Radio 1 and 2, and really does hit its target demographic, which I would say is from ages 25 - 40 based on the music it currently plays.
    6Music really has found its feet in the last 12 months and could only continue to grow stronger, and with more and more listeners. If it goes I can honestly say that there isn't another BBC station I would listen to, I would switch to Spotify for daytime listening.

  • Comment number 59.

    6Music was the reason I purchased a digital radio. Its the perfect example of public service broadcasting - it encourages the creative arts by supporting new artists and also has a vast library of existing content in the BBC archive that it regularly uses.

    Its also currently playing the House of Love, which you'll never hear on another station...

  • Comment number 60.

    To be honest there is so much choice and on the internet - Spotify, last FM etc etc to make this discussion academic. I listen to what I want, when I want it. The idea of a national BBC music broadcast station is quickly becoming anachronistic, just as broadcast TV is. I have a radio on my desk at work which is hardly ever used now.

    I'd rather the BBC pumped more into their web services, that's tomorrows entertainment paradigm

  • Comment number 61.

    In common with other people, I find the idea of ending the excellent 6Music incomprehensible.

    As a 30-something licence-paying man with an interest in music, there are few other radio stations that appeal to me (6Music is the only channel I listen to on DAB). The exception to this being "Radcliffe & Maconie" show on Radio 2.
    The remainder of the output from Radio 2 is unappealing to me.

    -In common with a poster above I was bemused by "The Organist Entertains" when I first heard it. Who exactly is that programme aimed at? If it was aimed at middle-aged people 40 years ago then there cannot be many listeners left alive.

    Whilst there is talk of cancelling an intelligent, forward-looking entity like 6Music, the BBC seems happy to broadcast TV programmes such as "Snog Marry Avoid", "Hotter than my Daughter", "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps".

    Can somebody explain this paradox?

  • Comment number 62.

    It's been said so many times on this and other boards that 6 simply is the most innovative station and provides content that commercial stations cannot. The problem is not least in part accessibility, I listen on-line every day - but I can't hear it in my car because it doesn't have a DAB radio. I've just read JohnnyBrolly's comment (4) suggesting swapping over 6Music and Radio 3 so that 6 is on FM. Think that's a great idea.

  • Comment number 63.

    Rather than junk 6 Music why not put it on the Radio 3 FM bandwidth and put Radio 3 on DAB? Then we'd see which one was worth keeping...

  • Comment number 64.

    I had little idea Radio 6 existed until this controversy broke out; now I've started listening to it, and it's great!

    I don't normally listen to radio because I feel like there's either too much pointless talk, annoying travel updates, more obnoxious adverts than even television has to offer (on commercial stations), and that the music is bland and repetitive, or even prescriptive. I don't want to be told I'm listening to music for either young party animals or people who are set in their ways and want the same songs they've listened to for the past twenty years. I want new and old music that both satisfies me and challenges my expectations, and a station that doesn't make sweeping generalisations about its demographic.

    In other words, don't ditch 6 Music! It hasn't got a small audience because it's bad, it's got a small audience because not enough people have been told about it.

  • Comment number 65.

    6 Music on DAB has not been a success, and I'd scrap it, and replace it with a series of 6 Music Podcasts in MP3.

    Few people want linear 6 Music, and more people have mp3 players than DAB radios.

    I know that there are copyright issues, but if the creative music industry needs 6 music enough then it will set it free.

  • Comment number 66.

    Incidentally, the excellent 6Music has had possibly had more publicity in the last 5 days that it has had in the time since it first started broadcasting...

  • Comment number 67.

    My support for the BBC is based on the fact that they provide programming that is not available in the commercial sector and radio six seems to be a clear example of what the BBC should be doing. If the BBC is looking to cut costs then why not downsize all of the sports programming. There is no need to cover football or Formula One at great cost when the commercial channels would happily pay handsomely for the privilege.

  • Comment number 68.

    6 Misic could never run as a commercial station. Radio 1 could.

    So, remove Radio 1 and put to money it would save to more Public Service options. Otherwise, we are in danger of keeping only radios 1,2,4 and 5 as they are the only ones to generate big enough audiences.

    We would lose the digital ones, as they have smaller audiences due to only being on DAB.

  • Comment number 69.

    Just to clear one thing up - I listen to 6music preety much all the time when I'm at home and I don't even own a DAB radio. Anyone heard of the internet - I assume you have as you've been posting here! 6music is a 'specialist' station which could only ever be run by the BBC - leave the mainstream nonsense to the commercial stations.

  • Comment number 70.

    Pre-moderated posts are now taking about 90 minutes to clear. Will this record climb all day?

  • Comment number 71.

    Our TV, through Sky, is mainly used for digital radio. 6 music is not as good as it was, but is still better than anything else. Yes, make it available on the radio, not just DAB which has not worked anywhere where I have lived. Steve Lamaq at teatime is just the best show right now. I do miss Phil Jupitus at breakfast though, where he was allowed to play what he wanted, and like all 6 music DJs has a passion for music, and is not just a 'personality' like Wossy or Alan Carr.

  • Comment number 72.

    6 music is very much needed.I listen to it constantly, along with other radio stations and there is nothing else like it available. The closest could be XFM but that's just available in London.
    I think 6 music, although I like it very much, could be rebranded and updated. I have noticed it is slowly falling into the tastes of what seems to me men who miss the nineties guitar and rubbish indie.(The Cardigans etc is played too much.)

    There needs to be more diversity on 6music. More female presenters and more cutting edge music. I think it should take finding new artists and playing more unknown songs further (instead of relying on old Jon Peel sessions the BBC should be actively unearthing the next Jon Peel/bands out there.)
    I have felt this for a long time, not just in radio but in TV too, the BBC should be more daring, be finding new presenters and talent and taking more risks to bring us more than the "usual" bland entertainment.#
    The BBC needs to innovate.

  • Comment number 73.

    There is no way commercial radio would fill the gap left by 6 Music.

    It's funny how 1Xtra has slipped below the radar here. If something has to go it should be that. No one listens.

    Save 6 Music. It's the best thing on the airwaves. If it goes I've wasted my money buying a DAB radio.

  • Comment number 74.

    The BBC has always been at the mercy of the advertisers. They advertise music and have done for over 40 years. They do not want categories that the public can choose for themselves. They want to sell all they produce which means giving the impression that nothing else exists but what they produce. So 6 Music is doomed I'm afraid as the BBC has to do what their biggest advertisers want because they own it and we don't.

  • Comment number 75.

    The only 6 Music show that I have some inside knowledge about (eight hours a week) is put together by a massive total of three people - the DJ, a producer and a researcher (who also produces sometimes when the producer is on holiday). The shows themselves are compiled with real love for the music and for the unique ethos of 6 Music. What other BBC productions use such small teams and limited resources to produce a reliable, high quality product?

    By the way, the best way to listen is actually via a Freeview box on your TV - the digital channels on radio picked up that way are broadcast at better quality than a DAB radio can produce/cope with.

  • Comment number 76.

    My stations of choice are Radios 3 and 4. The strength of the BBC is its ability to provide material for people of all ages and tastes. Commercila radio panders only to the majority, and to avoid offending anyone, it satisfies no one. I am afradid that, yet agian, the BBC wants to ape this action.

    It will be a sad day when 6 music and Asian network go. What will be next? - anything slightly thought-provoking or intelligent will be in the frame. Radio, like television, will be reduced to parades of 'celebrities' where there used to be informers, educators and entertainers.

  • Comment number 77.

    As far as I'm concerned 6Music provides music for music's sake. No style is exempt from the station allowing listeners to be exposed to new kinds of tunes that other BBC stations, and many others, don't provide. All bundled up with dj's void of the egos that many other cling onto, well George Lamb aside. As I reach 40 I can still hear the music I loved in the 80's and 90's whilst still experiencing whats ground breaking... there was a gap between the loss of John Peel and the launch of 6Music, don't let us step backwards!

  • Comment number 78.

    As an artist I can not imagine what the virtual airwaves would be like if 6 is allowed to die. It is the only platform for new talent in the UK that has not only credibility, but, more importantly, an audience who are INTERESTED in new music.

    I used to love R1, I really did. Then they stopped playing what people wanted to hear. (Compare and contrast the request shows with the play lists....)

    Their output is aimed at the early teens now, nothing wrong with that perhaps, except to say that the people they are aiming at are actually in school in the day, leaving us to listen to "celeb" DJ's, who, for the most part have no interest in music and repetitive output. Xane Lowe is a brilliant exception to that and I do listen to his shows when I can.

    Radio 2 is just too backwards looking. I don't want to loose touch with new music, I don't believe in living in that world, it has gone and, mostly, it wasn't that good.

    As someone suggested, why not swap R3 with R6 on FM for 6 months?

    The BBC is a public service. I do not watch TV but pay my licence fee, like many people. I expect a decent radio service for the money I pay. R6 costs of £6m a year is less than half the BBC taxi budget....

    Here is a suggestion - do not renew the contracts of the BBC celebs and use only new talent, costing 1/10 of the household names. Make the BBC a new talent zone - BBC NTZ. The money saved could give us the quality programming we want without paying huge sums to just the few at the top.

    New writers, directors, actors, musicians. A renaissance in broadcasting. Lets look to the future.


  • Comment number 79.

    1. The only way a station for 6music to exist is by public funding. Commercial stations inherently will revert to heavily playlisted populist programming. 99% of the hosts on 6music (sorry Mr. Lamb) have both the personality and knowledge of music that would probably get them fired from any other station.

    2. I forked out a lot of money for a DAB radio so I could listen to 6music. I hope the BBC will be refunding my costs if they decide to pull this indispensable resource for music.

  • Comment number 80.

    BBC6 has been 'unsuccessful' (that is, insofar as the bean-counters measure success) because of its status as a DAB only station, and the non-existent advertising the BBC provides for it. The usual conversation when discussing BBC6 with someone else runs along the lines of them not having heard of it, but then being rather enthusiastic when its genre is explained.

    I don't agree it mirrors what commercial broadcasters offer, I certainly can't name a nationally available service that fills the same niche. Two comments above in particular I wholeheartedly agree with. Firstly, if there is to be a candidate for closure due to low listening figures and replication of successful commercial stations, it is Radio3. The idea to put BBC6 on the FM bandwidth, and Radio3 on DAB only is a superb idea, and would illustrate the immense potential of BBC6.

    Secondly, closure of BBC 6 would be diametrically opposed to the BBC Charter. Chart music repeated on an endless loop is something the commercial sector does very very well, the BBC is meant to pursue more specific niche markets, otherwise why does it exist?

  • Comment number 81.

    Radio 6 is the only station I listen to at home . At work I get fed radio 1 or the truly awfull commercial stations . Why is it only on digital ? Spin the dial and its station after station of drivel . You broadcast one decent music station and nobody can pick it up. Talk to most people about radio 6 and they look at you with a blank expression . Put it on FM .

  • Comment number 82.

    posts 22 to 75 awaiting moderation.Blimey. It's no wonder the BBC is seen as bloated. Perhaps fewer premoderators might mean less pressure on the things the BBC does brilliantly, like playing music that is not available on commercial stations.

  • Comment number 83.

    I couldn't believe it when I heard - 6Music is terrific, don't kill it!! I discovered it a few months ago and now listen to it all the time. Everyone I've turned on to it loves it too, why not advertise it instead!!

  • Comment number 84.

    @ Paul Morris - There is such a thing as the internet! You can listen to most DAB stations via the BBC Radio Homepage Internet access can hardly be said to be elitist now can it.

  • Comment number 85.

    Anything interesting with a soul - GET RID OF IT

  • Comment number 86.

    Where else can listeners hear new and alternative music, relevant discussions and archived tracks presented by professional, like-minded, intelligent people and not be bombarded with silly competitions and annoying adverts?
    I can honestly say that 6Music is THE best thing on DAB (which is well worth the cost of a radio just to listen to it) and that even if you don’t have a digital radio you can still listen via the BBC website ‘listen again’ service. What other use is there for the thousands of hours of archive material that the BBC has recorded over the years (and which the British public has helped to fund)? Perhaps it should be opened up to FM listeners too, but I can’t help thinking that part of its appeal is that it remains the BBC best kept secret!
    Please don’t axe the only station worth listening to, I know I’m not alone when I say that I don’t know what I’d do without it.

  • Comment number 87.

    The BBC is criticised for broadcasting Radios 1 & 2 because they compete with commercial radio - they should therefore be sold off.

    The BBC is criticised for braodcastig 6Music because it doesn't appeal to a wide enough audience and is short changing the general licence fee payer - it should therefore be shut down.


    6Music is just the sort of channel the BBC should be providing - innovatory programming on a innovatory platform, giving exposure to artists before they hit the mainstream, with playlists that you can't find in the mass market. Given time (and the fact that analogue will soon be no more), its audience will grow. Strangling it at birth makes no sense. If all the BBC is providing is available in the commercial sector it loses its raison d'etre.

  • Comment number 88.

    This is precisely the sort of service that SHOULD be run by the BBC, if there were to be any questions about competition with commercial broadcasters then the wider appeal radio channels should be looked at first.

    6 Music is a shining example of what the BBC not only does best, but something that no other broadcaster would do at all.

  • Comment number 89.

    Artists without mass appeal should certainly care about the loss of 6 Music. I have tickets for three gigs this very week by artists I first heard on 6 Music. Most of the music I have bought in the last six years is by artists I first heard on 6 Music.

    So the BBC Arts Editor says "As I understand it 6 Music fills a gap between Radio 1 and Radio 2". No mate, the commercial sector might be interested in a gap like that. Fills a gap between both of those stations combined and Radio 3, maybe, sometimes. But more probably not a gap at all, just a fringe.

    Interesting that Radio 2 and 6 Music have the same controller, Bob Shennan. I hope Bob doesn't think the way to save the latter is to make it more like the former.

    I value the BBC because it's the only thing that can do what it does. I would hate to suddenly become one of those who resents the licence fee.

  • Comment number 90.

    The availaibility of 6Music on digital rather than analogue (FM) has more to do with available FM frequencies than being exclusive or elitist. Otherwise, 5Live would have been on FM too.
    Nevertheless, for a measly £40 I can listen to 6Music in the house and it's quickly become the only music station which I will happily listen to. It's worth the price of the digital radio for the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show alone - this surely has to be the best feelgood radio show on the planet? It's introduced me to a whole genre of music and artists which radios 1 & 2 fail to recognise. There are several other good shows on 6Music, but if the BBC do choose to close it, then I for one will be looking to create the Craig Charles station so I can continue to listen!

  • Comment number 91.

    The solution is very simple.

    Take 6 Music off the digital only service route, offer it on FM to expand it's exposure, give it a decent amount of promotion and watch your listener figures go through the roof.

    BBC you have built a unique and beautiful thing, don't destroy it.

  • Comment number 92.

    I'm not sure a Facebook group can sway the powers that be at the Big British Castle. The biggest issue is not running costs of each station, but the fee they pay each broadcaster! Is it not more logical to pay less for talent as many agree it is a privilege to work there rather than make cuts to output!?

  • Comment number 93.

    6 Music is excellent. It has a great mix of new and old music that rarely gets played on other channels. Radio 1 is for teenyboppers, Radio 2 for crusties, Radio 3...who knows?
    Where else (except for the Radcliffe and Maconie show on Radio 2) will the BBC be exploring and delivering new music without Radio 6? This channel carries on where John Peel left off. Keep it up!

  • Comment number 94.

    Despite living in central london I can't get digital radio reception because I live in a basement. So I don't have a DAB radio. However, as a contemporary musician all my musician friends tell me how good 6 Music is. It seems to me the type of programming that a public broadcaster should be getting its teeth into. So I say that if the BBC is going to be significantly reduced in size, as I believe it should, then don't withdraw good quality public service broadcasting but take the knife to the programming that interferes with the mainstream media marketplace, which is in any case the main problem with the BBC (that and its business content, which is very poor and misleading). I'd happily save 6 Music, Radio 3, Radio 4, BBC2, BBC4 and the website (but run as a more UK centric service that spends less time trying to tell other parts of the world how they should be running themselves - I don't mean less world news, just less world opinion so that users can form their own opinions - and instead dump BBC1, which is very expensive, distorts the marketplace and I generally find not worth watching anyway. Commercial television just does that sort of programming better. I don't follow much sport, preferring to participate than spectate, but it is obviously hugely popular and anything that encourages activity could save billions on the health budget, so the sports radio station also fits well with the ethos of public broadcasting, provided a more proportionate amount of time is given to less commercial sports (the Football Association is only one of over 100 sporting national governing bodies in this country, participants in which are not sitting in an armchair, unless they have recently invented armchair bog snorkeling or the like). Radio 1 is not aimed at me (nearly 50) although I do find its general approach somewhat prescriptive (why we need 6 Music) and whilst Radio 2 is very professionally done I find it a bit too populist. But that is what it is supposed to be so no complaints about Radio 2 if we are going to fund at least one 'national club' (albeit if I was trying to make a success of a commercial, middle of the road light radio station I'd be outraged at the behemoth state sponsored competition). BBC 3 I'll leave alone for the same reasons as Radio 1 and let someone who understands it make judgment.

    So there you have it. Save 6 Music and the other bits where commercial broadcasting wouldn't fill a vacuum and bin BBC1 instead. That will save billions and bring the ethos of public broadcasting in the UK into the 21st century. There is no justification with digital delivery and the many market participants we now have in this country for the license fee to be more than £25 per annum.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 96.

    Hang on, who's affluent?

    I listen to 6music, as do most of my friends, but none of us are affluent. I mean, I have a job, don't get me wrong, but this idea that if you listen to anything other than n-dubz you must therefore be posh is ridiculous.

    Is the argument that anyone with a DAB radio is affluent? I listen online at work and on my tv (not the top of the range model either).

    The sooner the BBC gets the idea that sometimes the vast majority of society like a bit of something different the better. Being poor, being working class or whatever we're supposed to call it doesn't automatically make a person thick and uncultured.

    Save 6music. The BBC should be doing things the commercial sector can't/won't and this is one of them.

  • Comment number 97.

    Closing 6Music goes directly against the stated aim of quality not quantity, particularly if BBC3 survives at the same time. I thought we'd reached the bottom of the dumbing down barrel, but looks like there are more depths to plumb. 6Music could not possibly survive unharmed as a commercial station. Listening figures don't tell all. This isn't your standard sonic wallpaper station that is just on in the background that can be bought by the yard. I suspect most listeners to 6Music actually listen, as there are often genuine surprises that go on to help form their musical taste - John Peel would be proud. The BBC never really understood what they had in him till he'd gone. Please don't kill this unique public service broadcasting gem, it's what the BBC is for. Leave the wallpaper to the commercial stations. Radio 1 endlessly jingles 'in new music we trust', while 6Music just quietly gets on with the job of playing it as a given.

    The small audience is partly a function of the bungled experiment that is DAB. I really can't see FM being switched off any time soon. If 6Music was also available on FM, I suspect your figures would leap. How many people have DAB radios in their vehicles? I do, as well as three other DAB radios that will largely be redundant if you switch off 6Music. It's not perfect, but listen to the clamour and improve it. You've got enough feedback to last a lifetime now. Think how much you've saved on opinion polls

  • Comment number 98.

    Maybe if the BBC stopped playing all the junk they do in the evenings on Radio 1 and moved it to 6 Music then there wouldn't be this problem. If I wanted to listen to obscure Indie music all night long then I'd tune in to 6 Music. If I wanted to listen to fringe rap music then I'd tune in to 1 Extra.

    Alas in the current state of play, if I want to listen to pop music as Radio 1 was always intended, I have to tune to local stations. I used to love BBC Radio but these days Radio 2 is too fuddy-duddy for me, Radio 1 is too full of inane DJ banter during the day and terrible fringe shows in the evenings. Radio 4's not really my cup of tea although the better half does like it. I don't like sports to Radio 5's out. Radio 3's the only good one left.

    These days I listen to local pop radio stations rather than subject to myself to the BBC's radio. I'll often listen to Radio 3's superb Jazz shows with Listen Again though. If I'm going on a longer car journey then I'll usually favour a good audiobook or my iPod over Radio 1.

  • Comment number 99.

    Word has it that Absolute Radio is circling Music 6.
    The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Clive Dickens said that the company is optimistic about the station’s commercial structure, telling The Times: “We would buy 6 Music from the BBC, both the brand and the network, and we’d run it more efficiently than they’ve been doing.”
    Dickens continued:
    “The passion that we’re seeing from listeners shows there’s nothing wrong with the station, it’s just been overfunded. It would stand a better chance of succeeding if it was run commercially. It could be a complementary service that could be run alongside our own stations. It wouldn’t generate a lot of cash but it would serve a lot of fans who don’t want to be disenfranchised.”
    I haven't been able to confirm the outcome of this negotiation.

  • Comment number 100.

    6 music is my music station of choice and therefore would be very sad to see it go, indeed it was the main reason I bought a digital Radio. Just adding my voice to the clamour that's all. I also think it would be a great mistake to cut the Asian network. BBC don't do it.


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