6Music: Echoes of Storyville?

Everyone’s terribly excited about the rescue of 6Music, but this is nothing more than could have been predicted looking at the behaviour of the BBC over the storyville crisis two years ago.

A national icon, in that case the BBC’s last credible documentary slot, was threatened with having its tendons cut, reducing episodes by half and removing its ability to commission new films. At the same time cuts were proposed across current affairs, but it was Storyville that got the petitioners pens scratching. When a few months later the documentary flagship was reprieved, it was harder to get excited about gouging cuts in news.

6Music, like Storyville, was never under threat. It was a smokescreen.

My guess is that the original plan was to get rid of Asian Network, an expensive and increasingly irrelevant station offering a very similar output to commercial alternatives. Fearing a backlash, (remembering the ‘hideously white’ accusation) Auntie decided to threaten the most white, middle class station there was, wait for a fan campaign and then ‘relent’ at the last minute, ending up with what they wanted all along:

No expensive Asian Network, support for the beeb (and therefore the licence fee) from a group (young and highly educated) who are increasingly disposed to view the BBC  as an anachronism.

Trebles all round?

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