Nile Rodgers has shared his concern about the merging of local BBC Introducing Radio, and expressed how he thinks it will negatively impact the music industry.
- READ MORE: Inside the fight to save the local BBC Introducing shows: “It’s so much bigger than just radio play”
The update shared by the musician follows an announcement made by BBC Local radio presenters back in January, in which they confirmed that there were some significant changes underway for BBC Introducing programming.
The restructuring is set to see the BBC Introducing local network in England and the channel islands cut back from 32 shows to 20 – and numerous presenters and production staff out of their jobs.
Now, guitarist, record producer and songwriter Rodgers has backed a campaign set against the merging of the radio stations, and highlighted how the shows are vital in supporting emerging talent and providing a platform for new artists.
“Over the last few weeks, while large parts of BBC Local Radio have been on strike, it’s become clear the extent of these cuts – particularly around music,” he began, sharing a new update on his Instagram page.
“@BBCintroducing is a network of 32 local programmes that support unsigned, undiscovered and under-the-radar music from each area in Britain,” he added. “Its impact on the music scene since 2007 has been enormous – not only breaking the biggest names in the music industry, but shining the spotlight on the incredible local scenes and those brilliant artists that would never want a #1 record.”
He also described the network as “a true outlet to shine a positive light on some of our most creative talent” and the upcoming change as causing both emerging talent and local music scenes to “lose out”.
Elsewhere in the post, he also emphasised how “many of these people who live and breathe their local scene” face the threat of losing their positions, and “not being offered anything in the restructuring”.
Both Rodgers and his manager Merck Mercuriadis also issued a joint statement, reading: “We have had the privilege of travelling the world which gives us an incredible perspective to how amazing BBC Radio is to the success of music throughout the world.
“Its mandate is to play new music and new artists so you’re always going to hear ‘what’s next’ before anyone else gets to.
“Not only British artists but global artists too and for many years the first port of call for today’s superstars has been BBC Introducing. It’s an essential part of turning today’s wannabes into the culturally important phenomenons of tomorrow.”
Rodgers’ update comes following BBC 6 Music broadcaster Tom Robinson launching a campaign, asking listeners to post messages of support for local BBC Introducing presenters to his blog to raise public awareness of the situation.
“Those shows, staffed by enthusiasts and volunteers have been supporting local music communities around the country with airplay, interviews and sessions ever since the network was founded in 2007. Many have worked to set up local gigs, festival stages and outside broadcasts for musicians in their area,” he wrote in the blog update. “From August onwards, all that is about to change.”
He also posted an update on Instagram, sharing a map (the same as shared by Rodgers), which revealed which local radio stations would be lost due to the cutbacks. Check out the post below.
Alan Raw – founder of the Raw Talent show and part of the team that helped to launch BBC Introducing — also weighed in his thoughts following the announcement, and shared how the Radio Humberside show will have its last show in October, before merging with Radio York.
Following on from Tom Robinson's blog post on Friday, the news is now out. BBC Introducing on Radio Humberside will have…
“I wasn’t given the opportunity to apply for the role. The future of the rest of [the] team is uncertain,” he wrote. “ In those 21 years [since we launched the show as Raw Talent] we’ve been so proud to represent the East Yorkshire/North Lincolnshire music scenes with thousands of sessions, live festival appearances, gigs and events – and just playing your music week in week out and shouting about your gigs has been our absolute privilege.”
NME also detailed the consequences of merging BBC Introducing radio shows at the start of the year, with Sophie Williams writing: “Even if they are to become wider regional shows, the pool of talent that will successfully make it onto the airwaves in the future will likely become smaller. The current infrastructure preserves the autonomy of local radio, and eases some of the earlier upward steps musicians have to make by providing contacts, music education and gigs in places where opportunities are few.”