Published 12 March 2010 by Tony Morley
In recent years, there's been a lot of grumbling about the BBC in the public sphere. How much of this is genuine dissatisfaction among license fee payers and how much is stirred up by the media and politicians is a moot point. I'm firmly of the belief that, like that other great British institution the NHS, a lot people take the BBC for granted, and they won't know how great it was until it's gone. Like the NHS, the BBC isn't perfect, but the quality and range of programming to be found on, for example, BBC 4, Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 6Music makes the BBC the envy of the world. When compared to the dire state of broadcast media in the USA, the BBC provides a beacon of balanced news, drama, comedy, factual and music programming that is second to none.
As you probably know by now, the BBC is threatening to close 6Music and the Asian Network. The logic is bizarre - that closing these niche stations that could not survive in the commercial space will somehow stimulate competition in the marketplace. The reality couldn't be more different - commercial radio will never in a million years leap into the void created by the removal of these services, and that diversity will be lost forever.
Another justification is cost-saving. I understand that 6Music costs around £9 million a year to run - perhaps they could halve the pay of about 20 BBC executives and make up the numbers that way instead? Just a thought.
Many of our artists would not gain any significant airplay without the support of 6 Music. It's often the only way many people get to hear genuinely new music at all.
It's not too late. The BBC Trust has pledged to listen to what the public have to say. The outpouring of support for 6Music in particular has been overwhelming, but don't let that put you off making your voice heard. There are several ways you do this, so spend a few minutes and do one or more of the following:
1. Click the link to complete the BBC Strategy Review Online Survey - tell them how important 6Music is!
2. Email the BBC Trust: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Sign the petitions:
4. Join the Facebook group to Save 6Music: www.bit.ly/aJ04tq
5. Show your support by listening to 6Music on the iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_6music/
6. Forward this message or send the links to all of your friends and family, and post the links on Twitter (use tag #savebbc6music), Facebook, Myspace etc.
The BBC will take note if enough people take action, so please spread the word! Thanks for your time!
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