No To Cultural Vandalism...
Seymour Patrick makes the case for 6Music

Like all of the station's regular listeners, I was, to say the very least, rather upset to hear that the BBC Director General, Mark Thompson, has earmarked the corporation's "alternative" station, 6music, for closure. In one sense, this is understandable: despite a consistently high standard of programming, a DJ roster that reads like a who's who of celebrity music enthusiasts and, crucially, wall-to-wall immense tuneage, the BBC have never seemed to know how to
market 6music and as a result the station has never enjoyed the audience it deserves (while the Radio 2 breakfast show is heard by millions, 6music's total audience has tended to hover somewhere around 600,000). However, bearing in mind the BBC's remit and its supposed commitment to quality programming, the reasons given for closing the station seem murky and steeped in self-contradiction.

Writing for the Guardian, broadcaster (I love that word) and comedian Phill Jupitus - who launched the station in 2002, hosting the 6music Breakfast Show for 5 years - has described this proposal as "an act of cultural vandalism", and it seems that increasingly more listeners, commentators, music industry sorts and musicians are falling over themselves to make their displeasure known. Perhaps ironically (unless
this is all a fine spot of PR by Thompson, in which case he must be rolling around his office floor, rubbing his naked body with clippings of all the press he got for free), the station's figures have soared in the past 2 days as people who'd previously never heard of the station, or never bothered listening, have flocked to satiate their morbid curiosity - and in some cases have been converted to the cause.

What's worth bearing in mind here is that these are currently only proposals put forward by the Director General. Powerful though he may be, he answers to the BBC Trust, who in turn answer to the licence payers, and it's now down to them - to us - to make the final decision.

So if you want to save 6music, you need to let the BBC Trust know how you feel. If enough people do the same, there's a very good chance the station could be saved. There are several ways you can do this - there are Facebook groups and online petitions, but the most effective way
to make a difference is to complain directly to the BBC Trust; you can't presume that the BBC Trust are going to gauge public response based on a Facebook group alone! You can do this in any of the following ways:

By e-mail:

Via the online feedback form:
By post, to the following address:

Strategy Review Consultation
BBC Trust
180 Great Portland Street
London W1W 5QZ

For what it's worth, here's what I've sent this to the BBC Trust, via e-mail. It's written in my best "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" voice but bear in mind that I tend to be overly-verbose and I'm sure a short and to-the-point e-mail would suffice.

"Dear Sir/Madam

I just wanted to say how saddened I am to hear that the Director General, Mark Thompson, has apparently failed to grasp the value of 6music. There seem to be a mass of contradictions in his reasons for wanting to close the station down, based somewhere between a notion of
“value for money” and the spurious idea that there are any other stations, within the BBC, the commercial sector or indeed anywhere else in the World which would be able to cater for the (potentially soon-to-be disenfranchised) 6music audience.

In the case of the former, it seems shocking for a man paid over £800,000 per year to describe a high-quality national radio station with a running cost of only £9 million per year as being poor value for money. Factor in the current £100 million overspend on the new Broadcasting House building (which would have paid 6music’s running
costs for several years) and the excessive wages paid to executives and presenters elsewhere in the corporation and this argument seems flimsy at best. It is not such a leap of logic to conclude that with the seeming inevitability of a new administration about to take control of Government, this move has less to do with saving money and more to do with the tiresome art of empty “gesture politics”.

In the case of the latter argument, I say, tish and fipsy. There is no other station like 6music in the World, and certainly not one which caters to people such as myself with a genuinely broad musical tastes with such admirable consistency. A commercial station with the same remit would flounder for a number of reasons, not just because
commercial considerations so often (quite understandably) require presenters and executives to act against the best interests of the station and the listener (resulting – as was the case with XFM – in a dilution of all that made the station great in the first place) but simply because it would be difficult to find advertisers willing to invest in a station whose loose demographic are, in general, not
concerned with or swayed by advertising, preferring to make their own judgments on whether a song (or product) is something they’d want to hear again, or to buy.

I love the BBC, I’m proud of the BBC and as a licence-payer, I do not feel that it is unreasonable to expect that the BBC should feel proud to represent me. Between BBC Four, BBC News 24 and especially 6music, I had in recent times begun to finally feel represented as a listener and viewer, as a licence payer and, through the awareness that other
people shared my hunger for excellent music and quality programming, as part of a wider community.

I sincerely hope that the BBC Trust will rule against the proposed closure of this vital radio station.

Kind regards..."


Read about Mark Thompson's proposed cuts here:

BBC Trust confirm that they are open to a "rethink":

Phill Jupitus' Guardian comment on Thompson's proposed act of
"cultural vandalism":

Seymour Patrick is the guitarist in Ten City Nation and presents The Painter's Radio Show every Thursday on Xstream East Radio.