How to Save 6Music & Asian Network

March 2nd, 2010 by James Leave a reply »

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any non-microblogging, but then it’s increasingly rare I’ve got anything I want to discuss. Except, today I have, because someone is trying to take 6Music away from me, and frankly, that cannot stand. I will now do my small part in trying to keep 6Music/Asian Network going, by telling you how you can do the same.

Most importantly, we must all take part in the consultation process. This is the very reason the consultation process exists – to get the public’s opinion, not to simply rubber-stamp the proposals. The full consultation review details can be read on the BBC site.

Things to consider:

DO e-mail the BBC trust. Unlike voting for the government (SATIRE!) your voice matters.
DO encourage others to do the same. A massive response is what’s needed.
DO emphasise that these stations cannot/do not compete with commercial broadcasters.
DO mention that you think the stations justify the license fee.
DO Listen to the stations. Preferably on iPlayer, where I imagine the BBC can see the stats themselves.

DON’T make pointless threats about boycotting the BBC – it isn’t going to happen.
DON’T try and suggest that they cut something more expensive instead. As much as we’d all love to see the back of BBC3, this decision isn’t being made by the accountants.
DON’T swear, use too many exclaimation marks or generally make yourself look like a tool. Your e-mail will presumably be read by a grown-up.
DON’T just cut and paste the e-mail below. Add some of your own thoughts and reasoning.
DON’T accuse the BBC of bowing to political pressure. It’s probably true, but it won’t help.

Here’s a template e-mail, based off the one posted by my good friend Seb Patrick. You should download the cover note from the BBC site, fill it in, and attach that to your e-mail, which should be sent to: srconsultation@bbc.co.uk

(NOTE: the e-mail address trust.enquiries@bbc.co.uk is also going around on Twitter – this appears to be a general contact address, whereas srconsultation@bbc.co.uk is specifically given on the consultation page, so I’d use the latter.)

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to address proposals announced this morning which suggest the possible closure of BBC 6music and the BBC Asian Network.

As a loyal supporter of the BBC and the licence fee, it is my belief that, contrary to the stated aim of closing these stations, they each fulfil a remit that commercial broadcasting cannot, and indeed, one that it has repeatedly shown no interest in fulfilling.

I understand that these proposals have to be considered and approved by the BBC Trust before any cuts are made, and so would like to add my voice to those requesting that the Trust strongly consider rejecting the call to close these stations. Their very existence proves the validity and necessity of both the license fee and the BBC, especially in an age when commercial pressure on broadcast media is stronger than ever.

Kind regards,
[YOUR NAME]

Feel free to customise and repost this however and whereever you like. The more people that send e-mails, the better. Note: Early support is vital, but don’t think it’s too late to e-mail just because it’s been a few days. The consultation period lasts until 25th May.

    What next?

For a start, you can also fill out the consultation questionnaire.

You can also try signing the petitions at 38 Degrees and Petition.fm

Jeanette also suggests below that “it may also be good for as many people as possible to contact Radio 4′s Feedback this week as it covers listeners’ views on BBC radio programmes and policy, so may reach a wider audience of avid radio fans.” You can do so here

If you want to discuss this situation with like-minded individuals, there’s a Save 6Music Facebook Group.

Finally, if you’re so inclined, Twitter Hashtags you can use when discussing the matter include:

#save6music
#saveBBC6music
#saveBBCasiannetwork

I think that’s everything. If there are any other suggestions/ideas or if you think I’ve got any of this wrong, please let me know in the comments.

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27 comments

  1. Liz Ireland says:

    Thanks so much for doing this. It is truly excellent advice and will be passed on!

  2. Robin Sidle says:

    Thankyou for this – you have helped me to retain my diplomacy and sense of focus in spite of my anger. I shall focus every sinew and ounce of energy into saving this wonderful station.

  3. J-P says:

    Thanks for this. It’s important for people to know how to put pressure on in the most effective way possible, and to remind them not to drop any grisly clangers like talking about boycotts.

    The email address trust.enquiries@… is going round on Twitter too. Do you have a reference for which is best? I wouldn’t want to get anyone’s backs up.

  4. J. Hunt says:

    J-P: Good point, I’ll add a mention of that to the main post. The trust.enquiries one seems to be a general address, whereas the other is specifically mentioned on the consultation page, so I’d use the srconsultation one for now.

  5. Pete Owen says:

    Today Nemone is advocating srconsultation@… as the address to contact.
    Hope this helps.

  6. Jeanette says:

    Hi – lots of good suggestions here.

    I would suggest this petition may be a better one for everyone to sign, as it’s been running longer & already above 25,000: http://www.petition.fm/petitions/6musicasiannet/1000/

    It may also be good for as many people as possible to contact Radio 4′s Feedback this week as it covers listeners’ views on BBC radio programmes and policy, so may reach a wider audience of avid radio fans: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/feedback/contact/

    Finally, have you seen Lauren Laverne’s 6Music flag – it’s excellent: http://twitpic.com/163ggh – the creators have said people are welcome to download & use the image, so feel free to use Vistaprint or whoever & design your own T-shirts, car stickers etc.

  7. Aloo says:

    This is fantastic I will certainly be passing this on to my friends and family. I already have a long email prepared which I shall be forwarding on to these BOSSES! Lets hope the ASIAN NETWORK starts giving less emphasis to celebs like Shilpa Shetty and focuses on the real issues concerning the community. There is only HOPE! Good luck

  8. rolyhamroll says:

    The problem is the BBC tries to do too many things for too many people.

    In my view it’s easy. Scrap all televised sport (the Winter Olympics coverage were a great example of why this sort of thing should be left to the likes of Eurosport) people who want to watch will pay, like they do for Football, kill BBC three, stop buying in expensive US shows, make Radio 1 a commercial station, and keep Radio 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

  9. Fred Hart says:

    re above comment
    Oops – sorry its James (looked on Twitter)! Will change in a moment.

  10. Ashley says:

    The Director General will be on Channel 4 news tonight, email the newsroom: news@channel4.com

  11. craig horsfall says:

    thanks, i agree. i think we should also do as much as possible to spread the word; encourage ticket sellers, record companies, venues, bands and fan sites. in new music we trust?

  12. Mike Evans says:

    Thanks for doing this. I’ve sent my email just now and hope thousands of others do too!

  13. Gary Smith says:

    You are doing sterling work here. Keep at it.

    I’ve been trying to do my bit too. I’ve signed two different petitions, sent e-mails to the BBC complaints department, Mark Thompson, Sir Michael Lyons and the BBC Trust seperately, I’ve filled out their consultation questionaire, written a blog, and pointed at least 50 people in the same direction.

    I’d like to do more but what more can we do? Let me know if you come up with anything else. What about pickets outside local BBC stations?

  14. Austen Naughten says:

    EXCELLENT RESOURCE – I hope everyone is sharing links to this page!

    These are the points I’ve been circulating to people, that they might make in their messages to the Trust (or in letters to magazines and MPs etc):

    The commercial sector will not provide the content of 6music, so cancelling 6music doesn’t “make space” for them. The “space” (ie audience) the commercials want is occupied by r1 and r2.

    The audience of 6music are not attracted to what the commercial sector will provide- ie the 6music listeners will now be completely disenfranchised.

    Radios 1 and 2 have historically never made much room for alt.music, except the very occasional graveyard shift show. And latest plans are to aim radio 2 at an OLDER audience. Plans have mentioned BBC Light Orchestra and Light jazz. AND they want it to be much more speech based. So suggestions that radio 2 can provide 6musics service are ridiculous.

    This is a massive kick in teeth for UK music industry – there are so few radio outlets for new music/bands to even get heard.

    6music is cheap – 3.4p per listener hour. 6th cheapest BBC radio in UK. Costs exactly the same as BBC local radio. 6music has 1.5% of the BBC radio budget and 0.2% of the total BBC budget.

    Audience figures ,every quarter, rising despite 6music being on a digital-only station, virtually by word of mouth alone.

    It is excellent quality. Award winning. A unique service. It = BBC Core values. How can a review aimed at focusing on quality and value-for-money end up axing the excellent 6music?

    If you are in any way involved in making or producing or selling music, mention that too!

    **************
    Hope that’s useful and complements the advice above.

  15. DrB says:

    Great resource- thanks for putting it up.

    It’s also probably important to emphasise the need for maintain 6music and the Asian Network as standalone stations as opposed to assimiliating their “most popular” elements into the output of other stations. I’ll leave people to decide these reasons for themselves.

  16. Paul says:

    How many people are going to lose their jobs?

  17. marcus patrick says:

    Hi There

    I don’t really know who you are to be the arbiter of taste in terms of what should & what shouldn’t exist at the BBC? I certainly don’t know what gives you the right to determine that we all hate BBC3? I actually think it does a great job of reaching its target audiences: it mixes sexy, original content, that young people enjoy, like family Guy, Gavin & Stacy and Being Human, with slightly worthy, but quite cleverly done ‘real life’ shows, that deal with issues like weight, sex, drugs and stuff that effect Young People; but in a clever, not too patronising way. I’m 43, and a lot of that contraception stuff is irrelevant obviously, but still worth being reminded of ;0)

    Now lets get onto the rest of it. BBC Asian Network tries to appeal to too many people. Sadly, since it was set up, the commercial sector has begun to super-serve this audience. Whatever you want to hear, somebody already provides it: Devotional, bhangra, Indian, Pakastani, Hindi, Muslim – there are stations that can deliver your exact requirements, whether it is based on age, religion or geographical origin. For the BBC to broadcast to a ‘generic’ ‘Asian’ audience strikes me as fundamentally missing the point and what is being proposed seems like a good way forward: return Asian programming to the locality that it serves, so that content really reflects the community and its needs.

    But as for 6 music. bloated, self reverential, overstaffed, puffed up, over resourced (for what it is: liking & playing good music), bit like a rest home for ex radio 1 dj’s, lack of hunger, self indulgent. If you work there: Really sorry; but maybe you shouldn’t always believe your own hype.

  18. Ammo Talwar says:

    The BBC Asian Network – Ten Reasons Why It Works

    1. It’s exactly the right size. The BBC Asian Network is neither a cartel nor a community radio station. It’s big enough to reach the largest possible UK audience for Asian music, but not so big that competition can’t thrive beside it. As it is, the network can robustly deliver on the BBC’s Charter yet be flexible enough to scale its services professionally as resources wax and wane.

    2. It brings you the world. The BBC Asian Network showcases the best in emerging music and culture from young British Asians. It’s the only place to hear contemporary Asian sounds alongside new and important music from across the UK and the world. The station’s unique approach puts Asian music in a British context, connecting listeners beyond their community.

    3. It’s the best match of format and content. The structure and output of the BBC Asian Network has been developed and refined over more than a decade. It is a true network, grown from community roots by professional expertise. It continues to develop to meet public expectations. No brand or station created adhoc could better serve its listeners’ needs.

    4. It stands for every flavour of Asian music. As a service, the BBC Asian Network is unique in representing music culture from across the whole of the Asian diaspora. The station’s output is genuinely accessible to all, reaching out beyond borders, faith and language groups, yet always sensitive to cultural preferences and divisive local issues.

    5. It’s the flagship for British Asian media. The BBC Asian Network sprang from the energy and enterprise of British Asians who have been active in the UK media industry since the 1980s. Their spririt helps drive employment and expertise at home and generates overseas interest in the UK. The BBC Asian Network is the credible public gateway to this world.

    6. It’s what the BBC stands for. Beyond fulfilling the letter of the BBC’s Charter, the Asian Network is authentic to its spirit. The station defines its UK Asian audience as an active British community, linking Asian interests with the whole. It’s where British news, sport, soaps and stars become ‘desi’.

    7. It’s the UK’s gateway to Asia. The output of the BBC Asian Network is unique. The new music it plays distils the breadth and dynamism of British popular culture and the UK Asian experience. Britain is the birthplace of the ‘desi’ sound, and the BBC Asian Network is where Asia tunes in to it.

    8. It’s the Radio One of Asian Music. The BBC Asian Network reaches an audience that transcends its target demographic. Thousands of listeners from across all the UK’s communities tune in, and all are made welcome. Professional. contemporary and accessible, the BBC Asian Network works for everyone.

    9. It has the technology right. The BBC Asian Network uses the best delivery methods for its uniquely diverse audience demographic. It helps some communities to learn to let go of medium wave, while serving others through digital, web or iPlayer. No other station can meet the diverse needs and habits of the nation’s Asian community.

    10. It makes new music happen. With live artist recording sessions and a presence at niche music events across the country, the BBC Asian Network is instrumental in getting new music and new artists recorded. By broadcasting and promoting the UK’s Melas helps makes them popular and accessible to all.

    simple!!!

  19. Nigel Smith says:

    Hi

    I work for the BBC and think the decision to close 6 Music is a bad one. I’ve also read all of the Strategy Review. I’ve written what I think is a well argued defence of 6 Music here:

    http://carnivalsaloon.blogspot.com/2010/03/some-thoughts-on-demise-of-bbc-6-music.html

  20. J-P says:

    Nigel: already saw your post doing the rounds on Twitter. It’s brilliant, really carefully considered, and I’ll pass it on now.

    For reference, I ended up emailing both email addresses here. I’ve had a reply from Trust.Enquiries confirming my email will be considered as part of the consultation. The process is still open for comments, until 25 May.

  21. Barbara says:

    I’ve been really sickened off at this decision. It’s like Mark Thompson wants us all to be content with moron fodder instead of something that’s so much more than that.

  22. New Band says:

    Hi i sended an email and i signed the petition. There are some really great new music bands who might join the network. The best new still unsigned and unknown music bands are listed at newband.us.com

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