Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I don't yet know how I feel about the proposed closure of BBC 6Music. On the one hand, most of the podcasts I listen to are recorded for 6music, and I am worried about them losing financial support. On the other hand, I am a podcast listener and never listen live to the radio. I've never been able to listen to the same station all day and be consistently entertained by it; it makes much more sense for me to take the tidbits that I like and listen to them whenever I feel like it.

So in a way, I don't care if 6music closes as long as Adam and Joe find a way to continue making the podcast. While 6music is a good station for supporting presenters and music artists that find it difficult to get a foothold in a purely commercial environment, the internet is also pretty good at doing that. The only trouble is, people still haven't quite figured out how to make money from creative products in an internet culture where most things are given away for free. Maybe some hostile conditions will force the improvisation required to find the solution to this problem.

The BBCs behaviour on this matter bothers me not so much because it's hostile, but because it seems like it might be based on an outdated way of viewing the public. The BBC likes to break people down into age groups. You're supposed to listen to Radio 1, 2 or 4 depending on your position within a set of three age brackets. I'm not convinced that people are going to continue identifying with their age group that strongly anymore. In the same way that we can't talk to our neighbors anymore because geographical communities have become less important, similarly I don't think people have a lot in common with each other just because they are the same age. I think nowadays we build out identities based on the products and activities we consume, rather than choosing which products to consume based on our existing identity.

Stations such as 6music that are pitched at a taste group rather than an age group have staying power even as the information age erodes preexisting community boundaries. Stations that are pitched at age groups assume the existence of a majority mass culture that in ten years time will have all but disappeared.


  1. Perhaps 6music could continue as a series of truncated online podcasts. Save the money spent on studios/promotion, and retain the talent and musical output.

    Or napalm Radio 1.

  2. I'm hoping they could continue the podcasts. However, licensing laws currently prevent them from including music on podcasts, which is kind of important to a lot of people :S