Gran Kru Records want 40 per cent of all British 'urban music' on UK radio to be made by homegrown artists...

A UK rap label is behind a new campaign that is asking the government to radically alter the programming policies of the country’s radio stations.

Gran Kru Records’ president Gary Gordon, aka Bandit, has instigated the campaign, which is designed to pressurise the government to provide legislation that will ensure that 40 per cent of all ‘urban music’ played on UK radio be made by UK artists.

The campaigners cite the situation that exists in France as an example: with a similar airplay quota in force, French hip-hop artists have succeeded in becoming a major part of their country’s musical mainstream. Despite the inroads into the UK pop charts made by UK garage of late, the campaigners argue that the lack of vital radio exposure for homegrown urban music is holding back the artists and, by implication, the entire music industry.

“This can open gateways and the economy of the country can benefit,” Brown told NME.COM. “If British music got more exposure and became more popular, there would be more money coming back into British music. Jobs can be created from this, particularly in the hip-hop scenes. People are being fired and urban artists are being dropped right, left and centre, because the radio’s not supporting it.”

The campaign was launched this summer, since when Brown has secured backing for Gran Kru from Liberal Democrat councillor John Hemming.

The campaigners have written to Prime Minister Tony Blair, urging him to throw his weight behind the initiative, and the matter has been referred to the Department of Media, Culture and Sport. The campaigners have spent the last three months amassing signatures for a petition in support of their case, and intend to launch the next phase of the campaign in February, when they will release a compilation album and stage a press conference at Downing Street, London.