Published Mar 02, 2010Last week, the BBC caused an Internet hubbub when it leaked news that it was set to shut down 6 Music, one of its most beloved radio stations.
Now, following a strategic review of the BBC's digital output dubbed "Putting Quality First," the company has officially decided to axe 6 Music, Billboard reports. The decision will undergo a 12-week public consultation ending in September when the BBC Trust will take the final step after considering both the response of the public and its own analysis.
The closure will save the BBC approximately 6 million pounds ($9 million Canadian), and, according to BBC director-general Mark Thompson, will allow the BBC to "do fewer things better."
And while Thompson agreed that the decision to close it was a "very big and painful step," he has suggested that some of the best content from the station could be transferred to other networks such as Radio 2.
Nonetheless, the decision is being met with harsh criticism from many listeners and artists who appreciated the station's status as one of the few outlets for new and underground artists to be heard. British artists from every part of the pop music spectrum have voiced their dismay, from heavy-hitters like David Bowie and Paul McCartney down to cult artists like La Roux and Mark Ronson.
Other industry outcries have come from John Smith, general secretary of the Musicians' Union, and from UK trade body the British Phonographic Industry, who asserted, "The BBC has an essential role to play in introducing the public to new music. It has let down music fans and the music sector by failing to replace [weekly chart countdown] 'Top of the Pops.' Closing 6 Music would undermine the diversity and wealth of British musical culture."
And, of course, there's a Facebook group dedicated to saving BBC 6 Music. In the time it took to write this article, it gained nearly one thousand members. We're guessing it should be an interesting 12 weeks for the BBC Trust.