I'm really beginning to wonder whether it's a genuine desire to close down two radio stations, or whether the BBC are playing brinksmanship with the Tory/Murdoch alliance against public broadcasters. It's the only explanation that doesn't require staggering incompetence at every level of senior management. (Which I'm not totally prepared to discount, but...)
In angling to cancel a station that is not duplicated commercially, one that has vociferous and dedicated listeners, the Beeb has basically given itself an extraordinary publicity campaign about how much a significant section of the public values its services. In other words, they've chucked 6Music (and to a lesser extent the Asian network) on the chopping block to show:
- The Conservatives, whose election victory is far from assured, just how damaging an anti-BBC stance could be for their popularity.
- Murdoch that his much vaunted "commercial interests" are not even touching some of the same content the BBC produces.
(The latter one is a bit of a straw man. There are indeed tanks on the lawn outside Murdoch's house of paywalled content with the BBC logo on them, it's just these are the tanks from the BBC1, BBC3 and BBC News regiments. Similarly, the main threat to commercial radio broadcasters are R1 and R2. This is why I don't see the whole, "stepping back from commercial territory" argument as it relates to axing R6 and Asian network.)
It's also been fantastic publicity for 6Music itself. You couldn't buy advertising like that. I wonder what the listening figures for the last week are like?