Media Top Stories

6music saved

By | Published on Monday 5 July 2010

As expected, 6music has been saved, thanks mainly to the thousands of listeners, musicians, journalists, bloggers, tweeters and music industry types who responded with very loud anger at proposals published earlier this year by BBC management to shut down the digital radio service.

The Times predicted last week that 6’s closure would be blocked by the BBC Trust, which had to approve the proposals set out in the BBC strategy document published earlier this year. It was thought the saving of 6 might be temporary, pending another consultation about the station’s future, though the Trust’s statement this morning suggests it is assured a long-term future. The Trust has called for a wider review of the Beeb’s digital-only stations, but not with any specific emphasis on whether or not to close 6music.

The Trust was clearly overwhelmed by the Save 6 campaign. 50,000 people filled out the public consultation form regarding the strategy review, and 78% of respondents focused primarily on the proposals for 6. The Trust said that 6music was “non-commercial”, “well liked”, “highly distinctive” and “value for money”. It also made the DAB radio network more attractive to consumers, a key aim of the BBC’s digital output. It encouraged the BBC to invest its energies into boosting 6’s audience rather than looking into ways to shut it down.

In a statement this morning, the BBC regulator said: “The Trust concludes that, as things stand, the case has not been made for the closure of 6music. The executive should draw up an overarching strategy for digital radio. If the Director General wanted to propose a different shape for the BBC’s music radio stations as part of a new strategy, the Trust would consider it”.

Although that last sentence gives BBC bosses the option to have another go at shutting 6, its more general wording will make it harder to do so. The closure of the Asian Network, though, seems more assured, with the Trust saying that, as part of that wider review of digital output “The Trust would consider a formal proposal for the closure of the Asian Network, although this must include a proposition for meeting the needs of the station’s audience in different ways”.

Many of the other cuts proposed by the BBC strategy review, including of non-core online services, were approved.