Never Mind The Buzzcocks star and comedian SEAN HUGHES has hit out at plans to slash the musical output of BBC London radio station GLR, one of the last outlets on the airwaves for alternative music in the UK.
The BBC want to change the station’s format to “less music, more chat about London”, but fans of the station want the music content to stay the same.
Hughes, who presents two weekend shows on GLR which champion new and alternative bands and include live sessions, said he hoped the station would stay the same, especially in light of the mainstreaming of Xfm after its takeover by Capital.
GLR has a long history of championing new bands, including Radiohead and The Cranberries, who both performed their first live radio sessions on the station.
Bands that Hughes has recently had in the studio have included Tindersticks, Mercury Rev, White Hotel, Low, 5-Ziq, Mark Eitzel and Sona Fariq.
He told NME: “The reason I joined GLR was to play tunes and it’s the reason that most people listen. GLR is a brilliant station as it is.
“Where else do you hear this music? Not on Radio 1, that’s a diabolical travesty of a station. London is the music capital of the world and we should reflect that. I know for a fact if they get rid of the music that every single presenter will leave. They should be investing more money into marketing GLR as it is, not changing it.”
But Jane Mote, head of regional and local programmes for the BBC in London, insisted that music would still feature on the station – although she refused to be drawn on what type would remain.
She said: “GLR 94.9 is NOT going to be talk-only. Music remains part of the mix, what we are discussing is what music, how much and when it should be played.”
But fans remain unconvinced by such platitudes and a ‘Save GLR‘ campaign has sprung up. Creation boss Alan McGee has already added his voice to a growing wave of concern, and in a furious letter to The Guardian said: “Where will we go now to hear Junior Delgado played back-to-back with the 1910 Fruitgum Company?
“It’s a travesty that we are going to be made to listen to yet more rolling news shows and inane phone-ins instead of great music played by people who really care about and understand what they are doing.”
GLR is renowned for its eclectic musical output where presenters choose what they want to play. As a result, the station regularly features programmes devoted to jazz, northern soul, Asian music and reggae, and the mainstay music during the day is a mix of indie, dance and retro classics.
To protest against the proposed changes, go to the [url=]’Save GLR’ website or register your opinions on the BBC listener feedback line on 08700 100160.