Yes of course I’m gutted about the proposed closure of 6 Music. Steve Lamacq has already said pretty much everything a presenter can say on the subject on his blog – though keep an eye on Adam Buxton in the next few days…
However I haven’t read as much about the impact that closing Asian Network will have on the huge and thriving South Asian music scene here in the UK. The only national outlet for new and unknown artists in these genres is on Bobby Friction‘s richly eclectic playlists of homegrown bhangra, desi and dubstep which he airs three hours a night, four nights a week. For freshness, expertise and sheer personal warmth there’s nothing remotely like it on UK radio, as you can hear at bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/friction
The official on-air line for presenters at both stations is that we can thank listeners for their warm wishes – and although we can’t read out their complaints about the closure, we can forward them afterwards to the Trust. What we can say on air is:
“The BBC Trust would like to hear your views on the proposed closure of 6 Music and Asian Network at bbc.co.uk/trust/consultations“.
We do warmly appreciate our listeners’ enthusiasm. We do understand their frustration as BBC Management continues to parrot the official line rather than engaging with the counter arguments they raise. And we note their fears that the decision is already a done deal – that once again the public consultation will prove to be an expensive exercise in windowdressing.
So here’s an important message to concerned listeners:
* Do fill out the Trust’s online survey – or send them an email – but please only do it once. If it turns out there’s been widespread cheating, it will discredit the results
* Do call the BBC complaints line 03700 100 222 – all calls get logged and passed to the Trust. Again, don’t make multiple calls under different names, for the same reason.
* Instead, spread the word. Tell your friends about Asian Network and 6 Music – they can hear any of the shows at any time via the BBC iPlayer or subscribe to any of our podcasts here
When making your views known to the Trust, here’s the crucial point:
The argument is not about whether Stuart Maconie or Bobby Friction make excellent radio shows. It’s about whether that excellence should be merged into digital offerings from fewer, bigger, more marketable “brands”.
If you are keen that Asian Network and 6 Music should survive as distinct public service offerings, then your best hope is to convince all 11 members of the BBC Trust of their importance. That there’s more to “Putting Quality First” than narrow categories and brand consolidation. And that there’s a place in the nation’s heart (and half a percent of the BBC budget) for these two small, standalone centres of excellence.
Unless the the BBC Trust members are persuaded to take a robust stand on this specific point, there’s no reason to suppose from their recent pronouncements that BBC management will change their plans by one iota.
I’m Tom Robinson – thanks for listening. Taking us up to the end of today’s post, here’s Noah And The Whale:
NOAH & THE WHALE cover “The Last DJ” by Tom Petty