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back to article 6music wins possible reprieve from BBC Trust

6Music looks set to be saved from closure, after the BBC Trust confirmed this morning it had “not been convinced by the case” for shutting the digital music station. The BBC’s governing body published a 48-page interim statement today containing its “initial conclusions” on the Beeb director-general’s ‘Strategy Review’, which …

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Auntie doesn't get much right...

...but this is fantastic news.

There isn't anything else like it broadcasting in the UK. I love the feeling of being able to switch it on at any hour of the day, confident that there's quality music (especially music that I'd not heard of) to be had.

Save 6music!

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Not Auntie

This statement is from the BBC Trust, rather than the BBC itself. The BBC Trust is operately relatively independently and plays the twin roles of the angel and the devil on the BBC's shoulders.

It is still very encouraging to see the Trust are actually doing their job and acting in the best interests of licence fee payers.

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Re: Not Auntie

If "operately" wasn't a word before, then I'm making it one.

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Good show

Excellent, now all they need to do is move Radio 3 to DAB-only, use the spare FM bandwidth for Radio 6 and they'll get a multi-million listener audience.

I can remember which Reg commentard suggested that, but it was a bloody good - if highly unlikely - idea.

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Anonymous Coward

nah

Move Radio 1 to DAB instead of 3 (which will increase DAB uptake, or kill Radio 1, either of which will make someone happy).

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Re: Good show

It was an Anonymous Coward on this thread (I remembered because I replied to it):

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2010/03/01/save_6music/

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Announced closure = blessing

I suspect the announced closure, a few months ago, drew lots of new listeners to the station.

I, for one, started for the first time. I really love the broadcaster/journalist Andrew Collins & comedian Richard Herring. "Herring Rules" and "Text the station" really brighten up my weekends.

I not too thrilled about the lack of dance music on 6music. Too much guitar rubbish, not enough hard trance. (What happened to the Sunday night who with Dave Pearce?!)

We do need a commercial-free, alternative to Radio 1.

If only Crapital could be closed.

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Megaphone

Guitar rubbish.....!!?

If I could I'd have a Joe Satriani only station, well maybe with Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Steve Hackett, Rush and similar stuff thrown in for good measure.

Trance? Yep, I can get into one of those listening to the Satch....

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Need more joined up programming

The biggest issue I see is the lack of joined up programming across 6m, r1 and r2. Weekday evenings on all three stations is mainly guitar based alternative music - Marc Riley on 6m, Zane Lowe on R1 and the UTTERLY WONDERFULLY EXCELLENT Radcliffe and Marconie on R2. They are roughly similar, ticking the same boxes. However come the weekend evenings and R1 and 6M are both on dance music and R2 is I don't know what... They just don't pay any attention to what the other stations are doing, and so make one person pick between a number of shows at times, and leave them with nothing else at others.

The idea of leaving 6m's demographic for commerical stations scares the bejesus out of me though, it's an alternative audience... the other ones... the ones that no one else wants... 6Music != Heart FM and all that arse.

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mj1

Ross is going soon

that will cove half the cost,and if they revise there policy of employing "celebs" for the other stations and just find people with talent for broadcasting we may get some change from our license fee

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Better a meritocracy than titles

That's music to my ears ?

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Joy of Six

I always felt that there was nowhere for ex-Radio 1 listeners to go except R2. Fortunately 6 Music fits the slot for people who like music, but are a bit old to put up with the constant pop/rnb on R1, but aren't yet ready to give up on life and listen to Wogan et al.

Good music, all day. What else could you want from a radio station?

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Spotify killed the radio star?

I'm one of those ex R1 listeners, i gave up on it (all the rnb et al) hate most of the rest (crapy emo guitar noise) put R5 on in the car and if i want music i use my mp3/cd player and listen to tunes that can lift my soul, currently going through a early 90' techno /late 80's electro sort of thing (early klf,njoi, beltram etc)

Most music is to recycled and the gems are few and far between for me to bother looking for. If something peaks my aural interests i may have a check on spotify. Sitting there being force fed what some else thinks you should hear? not for me any more, i dare say most radio listener figures are made up of those who use it as audio wall paper, rather than actually listening to it, as most genres have stagnated.

/rant mode off

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titleist...

I'm not ashamed that I was one of those people who jumped on board as soon as it was announced it might shut, and I thank god I did. I very rarely have it off these days (waheey!) great selection and the dj's don't detract from the frankly excellent selection of music.

I got into the National off the back of these guys (seriously, check 'em out) and that for me is the purpose of this kind of radio station, not to drip feed heavily marketed music by numbers, but to expose both new and old acts to everyone, and on that one 6music rarely fails.

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Anonymous Coward

<- as well.

Not ashamed of it at all. Its a fantastic station and what's even better is that its available on Freeview. I've been longing for XFM to turn up on Freeview to no avail. So now its XFM in the car, and 6 at home.

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Great News

This is right at the heart of Choice in Radio. Too many soundalikes.

In my view, what we need is not channels with different programmes but channels that specialise so that you always know where to go.

Agree that 6 could do with an FM channel, but cannot agree it should come at the expense of 3.

BBC has far far far too much bandwidth in FM. Even in may car I can get R4 four times, R1 about four times and the same for R2. No other stations get this much! What gives?

In fact I know the answer - its the old analogue transmission answer to coverage problems...

Really we need to close analogue not digital!

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Black Helicopters

Political correctness

I wonder if there was ever a serious plan to close 6 Music. If the BBC's Asian and black stations aren't economically justifiable, I can imagine the mother of all race cards being played if they announced they were just closing those.

So by making the very white, middle aged station which is 6 Music the centre of attention, only for it to be given a royal pardon by the BBC Trust later on when the story had died down a bit, the BBC would manage to get rid of the stations it doesn't want and keep the one it can afford.

It may have been a gamble in a recession, but it appears to be turning out that way.

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong Forum?

When the BBC announced they wanted to axe 6Music guess which other station had its neck put on the block at the same time. So 10/10 for affronted Daily Fail reader posting, 0/10 for factual accuracy.

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Re: Correct Forum!

Eh? My point was that they announced the axing of 6 Music at the same time as the BBc Asian Network. I don't think you understood my point.

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Anonymous Coward

So?

So you didn't make your point very well, did you?

The interesting thing was that there were very few complaints about the closing of the Asian Network. Why do you supposed that would be? Because nobody listens to it. Presumably it doesn't serve the audience it purports to. Rather than closing it down it would make more sense to figure out what it's doing wrong and fix it. That way the BBC would come closer to fulfilling the role that they are supposed to.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So indeed

I did, but you've gone off at a tangent.

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Anonymous Coward

The Case?

Well the trust are damned right not to be convinced that there is a case for this.

Firstly there is the fact that the BBC claimed that they had other stations broadcasting the same sort of music. Well their only other output that comes close is Radcliffe and Maconi on radio 2 and they've cut that back from 8 hours a week to six.

The idea that audience figures don't justify keeping the station going would make some sort of sense were it not for the fact that 1Xtra gets a much smaller audience but Auntie isn't thinking of getting rid of that station. And guess what, there is another station broadcasting to the same audience as 1Xtra and not just 6 hours a week. 1Xtra is as the name suggests an extension of Radio 1. Apparently having two stations broadcasting to young people with no musical taste is good value for the licence fee payer, even though a good chunk of that target audience probably don't even pay the licence fee.

It all seems to be an extension of the days when Radio 1 (or 1FM as it was then) started haemoraging listeners. Whoever was in charge then decided that what young people wanted to hear was the sort of thing that is particularly favoured now by 1Xtra. The more of that sort of music they broadcast, the more listeners they lost. And the solution to this thorny issue? Broadcast even more of that sort of music because the Beeb *KNOW* that this is what young people want, even though audience figures clearly showed that the young people clearly didn't know that. And with the launch of digital radio and 1Xtra Radio 1 went back towards the mainstream and audience figures went up. 1Xtra took up the baton of what young people really want to listen to (according to Auntie) but nobody is listening. Presumably they're all listening to 6Music instead. The solution this time? Abolish 6Music in order to force 1Xtra's audience share up and hence "prove" that the Beeb were right all along.

Could it be that the people who used to be in charge of Radio1 in the wilderness years are now in charge of the BBC's digital radio output.

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NME radio

finally went from DAB this week. A real shame - the last couple of weeks of DJ-free music have been wonderful. If 6Music could just get rid of the DJs, I could probably start listening again.

I've never quite understood why DJ-free radio stations are not more common, particlarly as DAB has a line of scrolling text to tell you what you are listening to (if you really need to know). If I want talking, I'll switch over to 4 - much better than the banal, smug chit chat (can the "zoo" format be killed off, please?) and shitty phone-ins that most stations seem to fill their airtime with.

Any suggestions for a 6music-alternative? Tried Kerrang! for a while, but they really need to be done for false advertising (for an off-shoot of a metal megazine, they play a lot of Snow Patrol) and Planet Rock is starting to do my head in (OK for a while, but I can only take so much Dad-music, before I start to feel my age).

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WTF?

Huh?

I'm confused...does this mean that the people ARE being listened to? Whatever next...BBQ bacon wings?

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BBQ

hmmmmm barbeque bacon wings

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RAJAR

The RAJAR number of 1 million listeners almost certainly masked the explostion in listeners by some margin; the closure announcement came two-thirds of the way through the RAJAR quarter, biasing the figure towards the pre-announcement figure.

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@ Great News

Agreed. If the Beeb wants R6 to succeed it should be on VHF/FM. The BBC needs a new stategy for digital radio - a high quality service which is compatible across all European countries. Surely the EBU could do something about this? The UK's current head-in-the-sand attitude is doomed to failure.

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Anonymous Coward

Disjointed Thinking

The BBC were tasked by the previous government with encouraging people to switch to digital. And the way they decided to do this was to proivide content that isn't available in analogue, so sticking 6Music on analogue makes no sense from the BBC POV. If they do that they won't be doing what they were asked to do. I suspect that the plan to scrap six music may have been down to a new government/ofcom agenda. Perhaps it was a victim of it's own success? It's done its job of attracting listeners so now it can be replaced with something cheaper to run.

And of course now we have a new government who may have a different agenda re digital radio. Far be it from me to suggest that the trust's report is just a way of the BBC saving face without having to do an embarassing u-turn.

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Stop

Cynical

Sorry if I'm being a cynic, but this just sounds like a ploy to boost ratings.

And who cares that these ratings have come as a loss to those commerical stations producing similar output.

BBC radio should mostly be privatised, especailly R1, R2, with 6 not far behind. The idea of the BBC is to be able to produce programming that couldn't exist in the commerical world - all of these stations could. Easily.

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Anonymous Coward

Er, eh?

So you want them to make things that no one wants to watch or listen to?

Ill wager you one groat that then you'll be all upset as they don't make anything that you are interested in.

Genius.

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Re: Er, Eh

Oh course the BBC can make popular shows. Dr Who, Top Gear, MOTD are all things that I love and are very popular.... but I'll add, I'll happily watch a repeat on "Dave" with ads, etc. I really doesn't distract from my viewing pleasure (in fact, in the days of VOD/Sky+, who doesn't skip ads anyway).

The flagship Radio1 & 2 are running at a dextriment to commerical providers - no one can afford to produce a national FM radio with pop songs and over paid presenters.

Make these flagship stations answereable to a public body (hmmm, shareholders?!) - you'll soon see it scrap it's overbloted, over paid presenters.

But sorry, back to the point I didn't really make first time around (but have in other threads) - it never should have been an issue about 6 - it never should have been on the cards. 6 and 1xtra and the type of output that the BBC should be producing. If they want cost saving, part privatise radio 1, use the money to fund more 6esk projects (although 6 is "so popular now" it could cope commerically - look at absolute, XFM, etc.).

It's also pretty shocking that 6 gets all this public backing, yet NME radio sunk without even a wisper.

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Anonymous Coward

WTF?

"BBC radio should mostly be privatised, especailly R1, R2, with 6 not far behind."

Except that it wouldn't make any money. What you have to remember is that even the BBCs most popular channel, Radio 2, is full of minority programming. Do you really think that a commercial station would run The Organist Entertains or the likes of a serialisation of Suzi Quattro's autobiography? How about some of Radio 2's comedy output or an actor reading an Ian Fleming novel? How would that sit on commercial radio?

"The idea of the BBC is to be able to produce programming that couldn't exist in the commerical world - all of these stations could."

Since the BBC has existed for longer than commercial radio I fail to see how on earth you think the BBC could have been conceived with such an idea in mind. What you seem to be saying is that somebody predicted commercial radio and said "that's bound to be full of populist crap we'd better invent something with a minority interest". If somebody had access to a time machine back in 1922 you'd think they would have done something a bit more useful with it than predict commercial radio.

Doesn't the royal charter simply say that the BBC is supposed to "educate, entertain and inform"? I certainly don't remember the charter saying anything about them not broadcasting anything that might be popular.

You certainly don't listen to much commercial radio if you think any of the BBCs stations could be privatised and remain the same. Within weeks of being privatised they would turn into the same homgenous crap as every other commercial station. You only have to look at Classic FM to see how it works. Sure it was created with very high minded ideals, but it quickly turned into station that only plays "accessible" classical music - that is to say theme music from film, TV and advertising. Or how about Virgin radio? When they started they claimed they were going to play "classic album tracks and the best new music" - pretty much what 6Music plays today. It wasn't long before they were just playing the British equivalent of what would be called AOR in the US. Not what they promised at all.

Commercial pressures? Not really since Radio2 is more popular than any commercial station. What is it then? I suspect that what commercial radio wants is a static audience so it can tell it's advertisers that they can guarantee a certain audience. The way commercial radio achieves this is to output a constant level of dross, that neither stimulates nor offends. The variety output by the BBC does not fit in with this business model.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NME

"It's also pretty shocking that 6 gets all this public backing, yet NME radio sunk without even a wisper."

Yes, if commercial radio is such a happy and close ship, why wasn't the armada of usual suspects who found time to clamber over each other on their way out of the woodwork to hammer another nail in the coffin of BBC 6 Music and take swipes at the corporation, unable to find the time to make such a fuss over keeping NME afloat? Where are all the other companies willing to take over the day-to-day operation of the station for the NME brand?

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RE: WTF

Sorry, but clearly I couldn't disagree more, and I'm sorry to start a flame war, but you don't really have much of an argument.

It's complelty chicken and egg - your example, classic FM, has problems because the BBC plays classical music (on Radio 3, unless I'm mistaken).

I listen to plenty of commerical. In fact, with the exception of the excellent 5live (which I think should never NOT be a state owed station), I try to only listen to commerical radio - and yes, it has been dumbed down, because every time any one does anything decent, up the comes the BBC, copies it's format, throws a ton of money at it, then steals it's audience. For every BBC station (even 5live) there is a commerical alternative. The trouble is, only the BBC can afford natational licenses, so any local output (mostly London), doesn't really stand a chance.

I'll be honest though, I do only know about "indie" genre stations, and again - I'm afriad your argument is not right - XFM was producing 6music esk output, well before 6 appeared (in fact, 6 stole half it's presenters) - it was had unsigned shows (still does) and broke plenty of bands. It had to chop and change once 6 turned up, and yes it isn't as good, but the format (6music) is commerically viable. Virgin lost it's way, but since it has been bought by absolute, it's starting to change for the better, producing bespoke 80s and 90s rock/indie esk only DAB stations, along with more specialist shows starting to appear in the evenings (not as good as 6music, but you have to cater for the audience don't you). This non commerical argument is a myth, as is the origionaility of 6music's output (but as I said, 6 should survive, and the others, at the expense of radio 1 - come on, what of educate, entertain or inform does radio 1 actually manage - have you listened to Moyles!?)

Rergardless though - are you telling me that this ringfenced "educate, entertain and inform" charter would be dumbed down by playing 60seconds of ads every half hour?! The BBC floods it's radio with self promotion as it is, it really wouldn't hurt to have that in there and save some of that wasted money.

And I never said the BBC should broadcast un-popular output. Just said output that couldn't exisit in the commerical world (Most of R1 could, most of 2 could - the parts that couldn't, then fair enough, create a channel for it). Ideally, I think the BBC should quit radio as a producer/broadcaster, and live as a platform to assit other stations (including it's own current lot) - letting everyone have a fair stab a the pie.

Still, with the days on podcasts, on demand music, etc. I can't see much of the BBC lasting much longer.

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What a crock!

"It's complelty chicken and egg - your example, classic FM, has problems because the BBC plays classical music (on Radio 3, unless I'm mistaken)."

Nope. Classic FM plays the same bloody things over and over again. It doesn't do that because it has problems competing with R3. Were it trying to compete it's output would be more diverse, not the ennui enducing blandathon it currently is. I can't decide if Classic FM has the tedious middle of the road output because it is run by a bunch of advertising salesmen with no idea about classical music and no imagination or if they have fallen for that most ridiculous and pointless invention of the 20th century: market research. Or maybe those two amount to the same thing. The market research thing is nailed on and it's never going to work in this environment. Ask a few thousand people what they want to listen to and what are you going to get? Bear in mind that the people who respond to that market research are probably mostly Classic FM listeners. If they already listen then they are mostly going to be happy with what they already hear, otherwise they would "touch that dial". Want to increase your market share? Don't ask the customers you already have. Ask the people who shop elsewhere why they shop elsewhere. In this case ask the R3 listeners why they don't listen to Classic FM. However the thing that grabs me about the comment I quoted at the top is that you didn't originally argue that R3 should be sold off, but now you think it's unfair competition for Classic FM and presumably should therefore be privatised. Be consistent.

One of the best things the BBC ever did was employ John Ravenscroft. Anybody who thinks Peel could have done on commercial radio what he did at the BBC for 37 years has their head so far up their own arse they are probably a Tory MP. And what station did Peel do this on? Oh yes that's right, Radio 1. The one you think ought to be sold off to the commercial sector. Again you are hardly being consistent. If BBC radio's output were all avant garde like Peel's output then would anybody be listening? How many people first listened to Peel not because they liked what he played, but because he was on Radio 1. And how many liked what they heard and continued to listen and had their musical horizons continually expanded as a result?

The simple problem your argument is that the minority stuff gets a lot of listeners who wouldn't normally listen to that sort of stuff. This happens mostly because most radio listeners never change the station they are tuned into. How many people have heard one of the special interest shows on Radio 2 at 7pm by accident, just because they were driving home later than usual one evening? How many of those people thought "actually this is quite good" and listened again or bought music they wouldn't have otherwise bought? If these programs weren't preceded by something as populist as Simon Mayo then most of people would never hear this stuff at all. Which is one interpretation of the entertain/educate/inform balance that the BBC needs to have. Take the populist entertainment away and nobody will be listening in order to be educated or informed. If it was all educate and inform nobody would be listening and everybody would object to paying the licence fee for a broadcasting company that doesn't serve them. What would people say then? "If we're going to have to pay this licence fee then the BBC should play what we want to hear" would pretty much cover it.

Most of the time the BBC gets the balance right, where it's gone furthest off the rails is in working with presenters with their own production companies and we have previous governments to blame for that. Sure they were trying to do the right thing by encouraging the BBC to commission programs from independent companies. I don't think they envisaged the BBC signing a 3 year £18M contract with Ross and his cronies and basically giving them free rein to produce any old shite. Hell Ross isn't even capable of choosing a play list for his Radio 2 show, he employs somebody else to do it for him and his only input to that is to occasionally complain about the choices. But still thinks of himself as a DJ.

Bear in mind also that when it comes to commercial TV there is only one station that manages to produce a diverse and occasionally challenging output. And that channel may be commercial, but it also happens to be state owned. Obviously they have commercial pressures, but they have the freedom that comes from not having to please shareholders and pay them a dividend. Commercial radio run on the same basis as Channel 4. Now that's a thought.

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Classic FM, competition for Radio 3??

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

No.

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Re: what a crock

Right, thanks for 100% argeeing with me and arguing for putting ads on the BBC radio stations (which in turn leads to part privitaisation)....Case in point - C4 - that is (if you actually cared to read what I wrote) exactly how the BBC should function.

There are plenty of commerical stations who do specialist interest shows in the evening, so again, it can live outside of the bbc.

And, again, if you read my post, sorry, i don't know much about R3 and classic - as you expressed. But would it harm R3 to bung a few ads on? Make it commerically viable, part privatise it?! And as your arugment clearly states, R3 isn't responding to listners, it's up it's own jumped up arse doing what it wants to do (what presenters want) - unlike commerical stations that actually listen to the markets and respond with what they want.

Still - if you go back to what I was talking about with 6, and commerical alternatives, no one has come back with a decent response.

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Anonymous Coward

Probably already posted, but...

I'd happily bet £50 with a friend that 6music will be back to it's old listener numbers +/- 5% within 6 months of today.

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I wouldn't

Want to know why? Because the biggest problem 6 Music had was a lack a public awareness about what it was all about. The publicity surrounding the planned axeing of the station has raised public awareness of it's true nature. Once people get onto six music I don't think they'll leave.

The BBC have always been crap at spotting a good thing when it's presented to them and publicising it when they get it. Notice how often they get a really cracking show and bury it on the graveyard shift without any publicity. More often than not nobody notices it and it dies a death. Just occasionally, however, these shows win awards or get massive word of mouth publicity. Then, and only then, will they get repeated prime time. One classic example of this was the original H2G2 radio programme. On the other hand they spend a fortune publicising the stuff that is guaranteed a huge audience like Dr Who, Top Gear* or the England v. Germany world cup match. That would be the match they were predicting every single person in the country would be watching would it? So why did they need to publicise it in every single break for days?

* That's massive audience in BBC2 terms.

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FAIL

Too late....

Too late, Bruce Dickenson's rock show has already been canned, so they can now close 6music for all I care.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Too late....

Nice.

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Flame

adverts

The main reason I prefer the BBC radio stations to the commercial ones?

Adverts.

I can't stand being forced to listen to them on the radio (only marginally easier on the TV), so as long as commercial radio relies on forcing me to listen to them, I'll keep listening to the beeb, or my mp3s.

(or TripleJ which is an Australian Broadcasting Corporation and so doesn't have adverts)

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