Save Our Six: Why the Save 6 Music campaign is so important
By Andrew Law
On the face of it, the Save 6 Music campaign is about preserving a radio station. On the face of it, 6 Music’s fate is not that consequential one way or another to most people. As we all know, though, appearances can be deceiving and in this case they most certainly are.
The Save 6 Music campaign isn’t about a radio station, it isn’t even about music. The Save 6 Music campaign is about no less lofty an issue than the entire purpose, function, and accountability of the BBC – inarguably one of the world’s best loved, best recognized, and best respected media institutions.
Is the BBC accountable to its peers in the media industry – who would love to see it continue cutting back, scaling down, and packing up (and it’s worth noting, Mr Thompson, these peers will not be appeased by a few million pounds of “efficiency savings”) – or is it accountable to the taxpayer, who funds its entire existence?
Is the purpose of the BBC to inform and educate the public while (as a publicly funded body) preserving the various sub-cultures that make Britain such a vibrant place to live, or is its purpose to generate profit in an effort to appease conservative politicians and sections of the press who resent its entire existence and robust financial footing in the first place?
And, finally, is the function of the BBC to produce entertaining popular content or is it to give a voice and opportunity to those artists, musicians, authors, and filmmakers who - due to the nature of their work - could never get a look-in at ITV, Sky, or even increasingly Channel 4? The BBC states its vision is “to be the most creative organization in the world”. How can it hope to fulfill this if it alienates those content producers vital to its entire creative output?
Really, it’s a question about how much we as a community, as a country, and as a culture, value the little man’s voice over the corporate giant’s. The BBC is a public service broadcaster, not a mass entertainment network. 6 Music and the Asian Network are the two clearest, least diluted, and most powerful examples of the BBC fulfilling that remit to a better ability than any other organization the world over could ever hope to. To lose these stations to flimsy reasoning and disingenuous logic would see the BBC commit itself to cultural irrelevance, and Caroline Thomson might find that those famed “37 year old men” who supposedly all listen to the same music may very well be lost to the BBC forever.
To quote from the video I made for the campaign, 6 Music is vital to music and it’s vital to education, to cut it now would be a travesty. So please, BBC Trust, make us all proud and stop this ludicrous decision in its tracks.