The previously doomed digital radio station BBC 6Music has been offered a reprieve by the corporation, following the BBC Strategy Review and protests, complaints and lobbying from various corners of the country, reports The Daily Telegraph. It is expected that a statement will be made today on the future of the radio station.
6Music, along with the Asian Network, was recommended for closure by The BBC Strategy Review back in February but protests soon followed, including many pleas from DJs of the station. Now, it is believed that the BBC Trust - who head the review - will say that the station should be temporarily saved, with a more wide-ranging review of digital radio planned.
BBC Director General Mark Thompson, who earlier defended the planned closure of the station, said yesterday:
"We're going to hear interim conclusions from the BBC Trust tomorrow, so let's leave that to them. We’ve got big questions about the future of digital radio and I expect the Trust will say is let’s look at the whole future of digital radio. Let’s talk to commercial radio and make sure we’ve got a portfolio of radio stations."
The statement has now been made, with the BBC interim conclusions being available to read here. Ctrl + f "6 Music" if you want to cut to the juicy part, but here's what it says:
The Trust has not been convinced by the case for the closure of 6 Music
The Executive’s proposal to close 6 Music derives from an underlying ambition to; do fewer things better and thereby focus the BBC more effectively on its core mission; ensure that it plays its full part in promoting the move from analogue to digital; and have due regard for the BBC’s competitive impact. While we endorse this ambition the Trust is not convinced by the case for closure, as presented.
The report also says that 6Music is making an "overall contribution to digital radio listening similar to other BBC digital-only services," adding that the trust remains unconvinced that closing the station and using the £9 million saved would make much of a difference to the digital "take-up".
And good news for those of you who were worried that 6Music would change into a "Radio 2 Extra" station, as the report also says that:
"The idea of moving 6 Music content into a new ‘2 Extra’ station, a concept raised in public debate since the publication of the Executive proposals, prompted consultation responses arguing that this would not constitute ‘doing fewer things better’ and could in fact have a negative market impact."
Last week 6Music DJ Jarvis Cocker warned of "dirty tricks" over the alleged stay of execution for 6Music. He told the Association of Independent Music: "I don't want the vehemence or size of the protest against the closure to be a handicap. They may just want to stall."
The BBC has also recently been under fire over staff salaries, with some arguing that the BBC should publish the individual earnings of their 'top talent', though Thompson said that doing so would be damaging to the corporation, as it has to compete with commercial broadcasters, who do not have to reveal their staff's salaries.