back to article BBC confirms death of 6Music, slashes online budget by a quarter

The BBC plans to axe its 6Music digital radio channel by the end of 2011 as part of a pledge made by the Corporation's director-general to cut costs at the Beeb. The BBC Trust published the BBC's 79-page strategy review this morning. It was leaked to the press last week. Under the proposals, which are now subject to a 12-week …


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  1. Smallbrainfield

    Shit sandwich

    Get rid of radio 1, which stifles a lot of other commercial stations (and only dishes out Cowell sanctioned pap anyway) and shove the savings into the rest of the network. Radio 1 does nothing your local Smashie and Nicies couldn't deliver.

    Save 6 Music.

  2. Dibbles

    Commitment to digital?

    I'm genuinely upset about the 6Music news - it's an innovative station that offers music not found elsewhere on the BBC's network or mainstream commercial alternatives. But then Mark Thompson has decreed that he wants to play politics, so who are we to complain?

    However, this does make complete hypocrisy of the BBC's claimed commitment to digital radio and badgering of commercial rivals to support DAB. It's a nonsense, and hopefully one that will be picked up and thrown back at Thompson to explain and justify.

    1. Jon Whiteoak

      re: Shit Sandwich

      I don't think getting rid of Radio 1 is the answer, after all they have 8m+ listeners. They could improve the quality of it by integrating some of the 6Music programming in to it.

      I agree that daytime Radio 1 is utter shite, but the evening schedule covers a lot of genres you won't find anywhere on commercial radio.

    2. James 7

      Tried listening?

      You've obviously not listened to Radio 1 much. Take a look at the fab from the guys at Absolute for evidence it doesn't just dish out "Cowell sanctioned pap":

      I don't think You Me At Six, Gramophonedzie or Tinie Tempah (R1's top 3 played tracks over the last 30 days) would be very happy to be described as such, anyway.

      And let's compare to your local Smashie and Nicey on Capital: - I'd say the difference is fairly marked.

      6Music still needs to be saved, of course, just don't fall into the trap of denigrating Radio 1 just because you don't fall into their target audience.

      1. Smallbrainfield

        Re: tried listening?

        How about ditch radio 1 and migrate those things worth keeping to 6 music?

      2. Anthony 13

        Yeah but when ...

        ... are people listenting to the radio? Am I only allowed to listen between certain hours now? You can't tell me you listen to BBC1 in the morning and don't feel sick?

    3. passportholder
      Thumb Down

      radio 1

      zane lowe and annie mac are both on radio 1 and have excellent shows

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Marky W

    Here's an idea...

    How about 'redirecting' the £600m back to the licence payer.

    Money-wasting tossers.

  4. Rob McDougall

    Tighter Focus

    The BBC needs to keep a good range of distinct radio stations, not a one-size-fits-all mentality with just 5 main stations.

    I've never felt the need to listen to Radio 1, but 6Music has often had a great range of programming - the "gateway drug" for me being Adam + Joe...

    If anything, they should make the programming more niche - often I would tune out as more popular music was piped out, stuff I could listen to on Radio 1 (but obviously wasn't...)

  5. Alex Gollner

    6Music sacrificed for political reasons

    You state 'The BBC plans to axe its popular 6Music digital radio channel by the end of 2011 as part of a pledge made by the Corporation's director-general to cut costs at the Beeb', yet their level of investment in digital radio is to stay the same.

    More accurately: 'The BBC plans to axe its popular 6Music digital radio channel by the end of 2011 to placate commercial radio interests who find it hard to compete for a valuable target market - 50 quid man' 6Music already provides better value for money per listening hour than other BBC stations, but if the Beeb invest more in that station, they'll be in trouble for stifling commercial radio.

    I think the Trust should spend the next year monitoring 6Music's competitors to see how likely the market will step in and serve this distinctive audience.

  6. Shusui

    Additionally ...

    "... the corporation won't provide its own email, webmail or instant messaging service, nor will it create social networking sites."

    Thank God for that!

    1. Annihilator


      Agree with A&J. My gateway drug was Russell Brand, before he moved to R2 and you know the rest.

    2. breakfast

      Stifling commercial interests?

      But there is no commercial station within fifty miles of what 6 Music offers. Of all the BBC music stations it must come closest to being genuinely unique. Surely pretty much any other station would need to be axed first if they were to use that logic.

    3. Pete 2 Silver badge

      sell off the lot of them!

      > The BBC needs to keep a good range of distinct radio stations

      Errr, why - exactly?

      There are two sorts of radio station the beeb spends our money on: ones designed to go head-to-head with commercial alternatives and minority interest stations that a small number of highly vocal individuals deem "worthy". Oh yes, and local stations - the less said about them the better.

      So far as the commercial stations go (and this applies to telly, too) just why do they feel the need to compete? They don't provide an incentive to improve the quality (heavens, ITV is an obvious example of this failure) and while the do provide an alternative, if they disappeared there wouldn't be a monopoly left behind - though there might *just* be more listeners to spread around, allowing the commercials to make some money, rather than having to compete with "free".

      Looking at the "worthies": why should the great unwashed indulge the minority and elitist interests of the grate[sic] and the good? If stations such as Radio 3 & Radio 4 are so necessary and popular, they could stand on their own - maybe with a bit of behind the scenes help, a la Channel4.

      I'd suggest that what we need is to spread the ownership of broadcast media around a bit - not focus it in the hands of a small number of massive players -whether government owned or run commercially. Once the barriers to entry are broken down, and it becomes possible for small entrants to compete, then we'll see true and independent diversity.

  7. Neil Hoskins


    Nice to see I'm not alone in speaking out to defend 6 Music but there don't seem to be that many voices raised in defence of the Asian channel. I should point out, though, that despite being a White Anglo-Saxon, I found myself listening to the Punjabi programme on Sunday as it was the only thing on the whole spectrum worth listening to.

  8. The Original Steve

    Sounds like a plan

    The Beeb's content is woefully thin. Primetime is normally a mix of shite reality shows and soaps. That's BBC One - BBC is poor quality comedy, BBC Three (aimed at my demographic) is lost on me and I can't listen to 6Music due to coverage.

    I mean there's TWO kids channels, BBC News, BBC Parliment, BBC One, Two, Three, Four, at least 8 national radio stations as well as local radio. I'm still shocked there are seperate stations for Black (1Xtra) and Asian (Asian Network) stations....! Seriously?! What's next, BBC Christian radio? BBC Gay Radio? Why the seperation? What a waste of money.

    Same with BBC Switch and the other one. Some of the shite spewed out of the Radio One playlist (mainly XFactor and plastic 1 year wonder 'artists') already covers the 12 - 16 year olds that are coverered by Switch. Why rebrand stuff and shove it into Radio One and BBC Two for a few hours a week?

    BBC Two has been sucked dry by BBC Three and BBC Four - neither of which grab my attention.

    I rather like the BBC Website, although it's bloody enormous and I'm sure you can trim it down / save costs without removing the decent content.

    All makes sense to me - trim down the crap and sidelines, focus back on the core whilst keeping the technology, diversity and quality as high as possible.

    If you can't keep the quality high enough across 4 TV channels and 5 national stations why do you think you can do it across even more stations?

  9. EddieD

    Change to appease the politicians, I think

    The BBC identity has now become overwhelming, and the values that identified the stations has been lost - Radio1 used to be yoof/pop oriented, Radio2 was middle aged/mumsy, Radio3 was classical, Radio4 was news/talk. Now there is a mush of Radio1/Radio2/Radio6 - they all have strong points, but no "market identifiers" - there is nothing particularly unique with any of them. Similarly BBC1 (populist and mainstream) and BBC2 (minority/experimental) have lost their individuality, and sucumbed to a morass of imported dross, or they have adapted existing programs to a foreign (i.e. USAian) format (yes, Dr Who, I'm looking at you). We no longer make programs like "I, Clavdivs", the risk is too great that they won't be marketable - which is nonsensical - the BBC shouldn't need to consider market risk, they have guaranteed funding, and experimental/niche/new should be their métier.

    Alas though, success is now only measured in ratings and tabloid column inches - quality programmes which create broadsheet inches are anathema.

  10. censored

    Quality Programming

    Let's play "spot the quality programming" shall we...

    The Fearne Cotton Show

    The Lauren Laverne Show

    The Vernon Kay Show

    Friction - Asian Network

    The Huey Show

    The Reggie Yates Chart Show

    Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone

    The Adam and Joe Show

    The Steve Lamacq Show

    The Scott Mills Show

    (Clue - some of those were nominated for Sony Awards, often in multiple categories (e.g. music and music personality. Other, ummm, weren't).

    1. Andy 97
      Thumb Up


      Yes, Asian Network is excellent and I'm not an Asian either.

      Many of the station's core demographic, however, still get all of their news from SW or the internet; listening to shows from their parent's countries of origin.

      I have no idea why, but it's the same for ex-pats in Spain listening to Radio 2 off the satellite and moaning about it on The Daily Mail's forum.

    2. Jan 0

      No voices defending the "Asian Network"?

      Much as I enjoy programmes on the Asian Network, particularly "Friction', the name is a joke. I first started listening in the hope that I'd hear modern music from south east Asia. It gradually sank in that I wasn't even going to hear music from China, Kazakhstan, Mongollia, or Tuva, let alone the occasional bit from Lao. Perhaps this is why it's hard to defend a station that claims to play Asian Music. Ok, I'm not expecting a World Service kind of remit. I realise that it's primarily for UK people of Asian extraction, but that remit seems blind to the substantial numbers of people of Chinese, Vietnamese Thai and Filipino extraction in the UK. (Apologies in advance if any other groups of Asian extraction feel left out too.)

      Asia is not a synonym for what UK english used to call 'The Indian sub-continent",

      was the name "South Asian Network" just too long?

      1. Glesga Snapper

        Here in Glasgow.

        Here in Glasgow, there are already Asian FM stations that are very popular. In contrast, there are currently no commercial offerings that could replace 6 Music.

        That said, I don't want to see either axed.

        Also, do we need 1Extra, that is just a continuation of the bland, RnB shitfest that is Radio 1?

      2. Neil Hoskins


        "Asia is not a synonym for what UK english used to call 'The Indian sub-continent""

        Err... yes it is, here in UK at least. Yanks use the term when we would say "oriental". Neither usage is "correct": British English is different from American English. Live with it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @the Original Steve - Sounds like a plan

      " there's TWO kids channels"

      Because there is a differentiation in what is suitable for toddlers/preschool and for older children. A 10 year old doesn't want In the night garden and a 4 your old probably ought'n be watching the Sarah Jane adventures (IMHO)

      1. benjymous

        Digital babysitter?

        Then you, as a responsible parent, who's sat watching TV with their child, only turn it on when there are programs suitable for their age range, and turn it off again afterwards.

      2. The Original Steve

        Well obviously...

        ...but funding two channels? 10 years ago the kids programmes were shown between 3 and 6pm. Not saying thats rights, but the kids stuff years ago has moved to TWO channels, whilst BBC Onc and ITV around that time now show even MORE cooking and home programmes...

        How about people look after their kids than relying on a channel babysitting them? Not saying there is anything wrong with a kids channel - that's fine, but two is just a waste of money.

        Kids aside, I would have thought the daytime playlist on Radio 1 and Radio 2 easily incorporate 6Music. Would keep everyone happy.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Popular 6Music"?

    I thought the whole point was that it wasn't actually very popular...

    Anyway. I listened to it briefly this morning, just to see. Hmm. I won't miss it.

  12. Andy 97

    Missed chance?

    6 Music needs to be sold not closed.

    Commercial stations are appeased because they have a ready-made (tiny) audience and can then stop moaning like spoiled girls about how The BBC takes all their listeners because their programmes are so much better - oh boo hooo!

    6Music Listener(s) is/are happy because they get to keep all the "really great" content and fab presenters like Gideon "I'm so hip and down with the kids that I still take the bus into work, but refuse to acknowledge people saying hello to me because I'm also very cool as well" Coe

    BBC happy because they get to save money + a few quid spare, BBC staff happy because they get to keep a job.

    Daily Mail happy because they ... what am I thinking? DM readers will never be happy until the Nazi party takes over and executes anyone who isn't like them,

    1. Jolyon

      That speck overhead is the point

      It's not a populist station and it is not on the mainstream broadcasting system.

      It is however much loved by the people that do listen.

      So it is not popular in the way British Rail was but it is popular in the way British Rail wasn't.

    2. Neil Hoskins


      You are Mike Godwin and I claim my five pounds.

  13. Robin

    Stuff and Nonsense

    Thanks a lot Lesley Douglas and Mark Thompson.

  14. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    Kill Radio 1 & 2

    They seriously need to go, and not in two years, I mean now!

    Their presenters are overpaid, and these two stations are killing commercial radio, if the BBC were serious about these cuts they would be saying the same.

    1. StooMonster
      Thumb Down

      Kill Radio 3

      Radio 3 has direct commercial competition in Classic FM.

      6music does not, it is both "classical" music to me -- as well as provider of new music (of the non-shite, non-reality show, talented musician type) that I tend to go and buy on CD.

      It's obvious they are killing 6music for political reasons, I would much rather they closed down Radio 3 and used its bandwidth for an FM version of 6music -- then I could have 6music in my car -- in my dreams I guess.

      1. Neil Hoskins


        I agree to a certain extent. But for some weird reason the World Music programmes are on 3. They would need to be moved somewhere more sensible.

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        @Stoo Monster

        "Radio 3 has direct commercial competition in Classic FM." This translates as "I don't really like classical music". If your curious, spend a day listening to each, then see if you have the same opinion.

  15. trachycarpus

    website emasculating?

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

    I'm more concerned about the reduction of the web site, how long will it be till the Papers get their way and remove news from it so they can charge for the content on their own site? This is what Murdoch and co are really pressing for imho.

  16. Danny 14 Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    They need to make savings after switching iplayer to adobe from its open strategy. Lord knows how much that has cost them (at the expense of people trying to get away from adobe shite)

  17. Piro


    Have to say I never heard of it before this kerfuffle, and I'm sure I read something about the Asian Network costing the BBC more per listener than a prime time TV show, so it has to be a failure.

    That said, if Radio1 stopped broadcasting from this moment onwards, less people would care...

    1. Dale Richards


      "I'm sure I read something about the Asian Network costing the BBC more per listener than a prime time TV show, so it has to be a failure"

      As a public service broadcaster, the BBC has little need to be motivated by ratings. As long as they have enough support across the board to keep the license money coming in, the number of listeners/viewers for each individual service should be of little consequence as long as there is some demand for it.

      I say "should", of course, because the BBC has gradually drifted so far away from its original purpose that it's a wonder the government hasn't intervened.

  18. Richard Porter

    @Quality Programming

    "Let's play 'spot the quality programming' shall we...

    The <insert any name> Show ..."

    That's the whole problem. The title tells you nothing about the content. The show is built around the presenter. I'll listen to a programme of the genres that I'm interested in, if I know. But I'm not going to listen to some presenter-named show just to find out.

  19. ewan 3

    Properly retarded

    Get rid of Radio 1, that provides proper commercial competition. Keep 6 Music, XFM is the only competition really, and that's s**t.

  20. Whitter

    How's this for a plan?

    BBC news 24 + BBC parliament: merge thes two

    Radio 1: effectively commerial broadcasting without ads during - already done by commercial raio, so bin it.

    Radio 2: bit better than radio1, but 'on report' - get more originality or bin this too

    Radio 4: grand, if very establishment

    Radio 6: doing what it is meant to

    CBBC and CBeebies - fine so long as they keep a clear age differenetial

    Website: news and BBC programing: additional elements only as supports these two, so bin the magazines, non-program-related educational areas, quizes, games etc

    Soap operas: Well served by commerical broadcasters: stop or sell them (save radio soap(s) perhaps as commecial channels don't do them)

    Celeb-lead programming: commerical channel activity. Stop these and save a fair bit.

    News: time is limited, so actual news please. No "somebody is expected to say this in a speach later" and such the reporting of future-if as-if news: wait till it happens, then report it if newsworthy. Tiger woods has press conference wherein he says nothing of note? Don't report it. And end the inane "here's me saying intro - cut to somebody else pointlessly standing somewhere else, says same thing again - back to studio".

    BBC 1: flagship. No repeats. New programming.

    BBC 2: best bits of BBC3 and 4 - as a result, remove.

    And blitz the middle management gravy train.

    1. censored

      Not quite my point...

      I was merely trying to show that in the last round of Sony Awards (the Oscars of UK radio), there were multiple nominations for 6Music and Asian Network and only a couple for Radio 1 (namely Scott Mills and Zane Lowe).

      So, if it's quality the BBC are going for, they already have industry-recognised quality on 6Music.

      I then threw in other shows, particularly Fearne Cotton to show that the average daytime show on Radio 1 lags far behind the Sony-nominated Lauren Laverne in the same time slot.

    2. Hayden Clark Silver badge

      Games on

      These are a vital part of the BBC service for parents. My two have spent hours doing educational and fun things on the CBBC and CBeebies site. On-line content that you are happy for children to hoover up to their heart's content.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    ..all very political. Better to close BBC3, which is horrible tabloid crap these days (after a strong start). That'd save a chunk, and allow people to keep 6music. You can get reality TV and re-runs of sitcoms anywhere, a fresh mix of indie and mainstream music- not so much.

    Anonymous because these are my opinions, and clearly my employer doesn't share them.

  22. Rob Crawford

    Quality programming my brown eye

    If they wanted quality programming BBC3 & Radio 1 would have bitten the dust.

    Ironically the claim of not cutting across other broadcasters would have meant the death of Radio1 & 2, BBC4 (cuts across every shite channel) and News24 competes with Sky News et al.

    Basically lets keep what the great unwashed and the elite (read media types & politicians) want and fuck the rest of us!

    Even the Asian Network was better than Radio1 Xtra (but no damn 60s Cambodian pop or Korean psychedelia)


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha ha

    Skim read it and you see that they are going to shut down 6 Music and Asian Network to save money. Read it more carefully and it seems that they are going to maintain their investment in stations that are unique to digital. IOW they are not going to save any money on that particular move.

    The BBC have been under pressure from the government to force the uptake of digital TV and radio. Or to look at it another way the government are using your licence fee in trying to force people onto digital TV and radio. That isn't what the BBC is for, nor is it what the licence fee is for. Don't blame the BBC for that, blame the government.

    It's pretty clear that somebody is not happy with the rate of uptake of digital radio. Somebody has decided that the BBC could do more to make people move to digitial radio. Somebody has reached the nonsensical conclusion that the poor audience figures for 6 Music and Asian Network indicate that these stations are not doing enough to attract people to digital. Maybe these are all the same somebody, but I suspect the first two somebodies are nothing at all to do with the BBC and the third somebody is a committee of Tristrams at the BBC desperately clutching at straws. If the Tristrams had any balls at all they would have pointed out that whatever the BBC present on digital radio the uptake will not accelerate until cheap receivers are available especially when it comes to cars.

    It's been said many times before, but most people stick to the same radio station. If your car only has FM (and most do) then you're probably going to listen to a station at home that you can also get in the car. Even if you're lucky enough to have a standard fitting head unit in your car replacing it with DAB is very expensive, if you have some prpprietory fitting then it's an arm and a leg. And then you get your DAB receiver and discover that reception is patchy over your normal routes so you switch back to FM.

    In short the BBC are not to blame for the poor uptake of digital radio. The real blame lies with the government and ofcon, but they will never accept responsibility for their big plan going titsup. So they blame the Beeb and will continue to blame the Beeb even up to the day they abandon DAB altogether.

    If the Tories get in no doubt they will expect Roop to encourage people onto digital radio. For which task he will expect half the licence fee and his plan will be to remove popular stations from FM, move them to DAB and then (once everybody has moved to DAB) work out a way of charging people to listen to those stations.

    *note to non-British residents. "Tranny" was a slang term for hand held transistor radio.


    Cyberman says "Delete!"

    Jesus, and I thought John Birt was a shithead of a controller.

    Apparently it's not too late, and the BBC Trust has to approve this cack-headded decision.

    (which appears to be down at the moment of posting.)

    Theres also an email (gleaned from )

    SRconsultation *at*

    I get most of my value from the license fee from four main sources, two of which are being destroyed by this decision: comedy shows on the two main BBC TV channels, the BBC website, radio in the form of 5live and 6music, and the iplayer for stuff I miss.

    What the BBC seems to define as its core service (ie BBC 1 and 2) makes up only a small part of what I use it for.

    They talk about adapting to the changing landscape, but surely, if anything, people like me are part of that changed landscape - we don't just rely on the two main TV channels for our value and instead have migrated to the newer, more innovative offerings the BBC has put out and which the 'core services' simply don't - and never have catered to.

    This decision can only be to appease the Murdoch-arse-licking Conservatives and their other big-media friends. It certainly isn't in the interest of license fee payers or the British public as a whole.

  25. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    I suppose some of 6 Music's unique offering will be taken up by other BBC stations. I spend more time listening to Radio 4, but a good concert or music documentary would lure me to Six. I wish the doccies were better advertised. In Radio Times it says that's what is on at midnight to half past, Mon-Thu, but not what it is about.

    Radio 2 is running "Blagger's Guide" on Thursdays.

    The 6 schedule also seems to like young comedians as disc jockeys - I suppose because Phill Jupitus was very good at it and then left(?) "Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." That means that comedians are likely to turn out to be refreshingly intelligent people, and it's also interesting to hear their thoughts when they aren't using that mental muscle to reach out for the next gag.

  26. Jolyon

    BBC Charter

    The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows—


    (b)promoting education and learning;

    (c)stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;

    (d)representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;

    (e)bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK;


    6 Music is a very good fit across all of these core requirements of the BBC Charter and as it is the sole reason I've bought four extra DAB radios for the house I'd say it is also succeeding in promoting the switch to digital.

    I am very disappointed that culling rather than cost-cutting is seen as the solution for this station and it is hard not to be cynical about good BBC product being axed at a time when commercial interests in the same sector are struggling.


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