If you’ve joined the Facebook campaign to save 6 Music, or added a Twibbon to your Twitter avatar, give yourself a tentative pat on the back – you might just have rescued the digital music station from oblivion.
It might seem like a done deal, BBC boss Mark Thompson’s decision to axe 6 Music. But think about it. This is a corporation that can’t even bring itself to discontinue the Shipping Forecast – a service that no fisherman in 2010 really needs – because it’s afraid of the public outrage that would ensue if it did.
Nothing terrifies the BBC like listener/viewer dissent – it’s funded by us, after all – and the campaign to save 6 Music, which has attracted the support of big-hitting figures such as David Bowie and Emily Eavis, is unprecedented in the corporation’s history. It has gained a momentum that the BBC, given its public service remit, will simply find it impossible to ignore.
Besides, nothing is set in stone yet. Based on Thompson’s recommendations, a strategic review has been submitted to the BBC Trust. At this stage it is still, officially speaking, a proposal. And the chairman of the Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, has already hinted that the proposal could be overturned.
“If we find that… there’s massive public concern that we need to take account of then we will go back to the director general to rethink the strategy before it’s approved,” he said.
Plus, you have to ask why news of these BBC cuts were leaked in the first place (it was reported in The Times several days before being made public officially). Presumably BBC insiders were to blame. Why would they do such a thing? Simple: to build up a head of steam of popular opinion in support of 6 Music.
All of which is a rather long-winded way of saying: ultimately, I don’t think 6 Music will close. Which is a good thing. Here are a few things we’d miss if it did get the chop.
1. Lauren Laverne
The antithesis of void-brained DJs such as Fearne Cotton, Laverne’s enthusiasm and North-East lilt is like audio Prozac – it’s basically impossible to be in a bad mood while she’s on air.
2. Jon Richardson
The comedian is apparently for the chop (even without the wider cuts) because he’s not enough of a music expert – which seems crazy, because his gentle, self-deprecating humour is ideal Sunday morning hangover-balm.
3. Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone
It would be hypocritical of me to to claim that I’m a regular listener to Maconie’s forays into the extreme leftfield – but it’s nice to know that, should you ever want to listen to the hits of Lawnmower Deth reinterpreted on hurdy-gurdy and swanee whistle, Maconie would happily oblige.
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4. Craig Charles’ Funk And Soul Show
I’m not what you’d call a funk and soul kind of guy – in fact, if anything I’m profoundly unfunky and utterly soulless – but Charles is clearly a remarkably gifted DJ, so knowledgeable and upbeat he makes Zane Lowe sound like Eeyore.