Recently, when my brother asked me to help him when he moved into his new home and told me he had hired a Transit van for the task, I accepted on one condition: that it had a digital radio and that we could listen to BBC 6 Music as we drove.
I’d imagine that for most of you, like me, BBC 6 Music is your (music) radio station of choice. Certainly, recent figures indicate that so far in 2018, it’s the most listened to digital-only radio station, with an average weekly audience of 2.3 million.
It’s hard to believe that it’s not that long ago that the station was threatened with closure. (That’s especially hard to believe because, when fact-checking this post, I realise that it was actually eight years ago.)
This was on the back of a report by the BBC Trust, who, when charged with finding ways for the corporation to make savings, stated that only 1 in 5 UK residents were even aware of the station’s existence, and that the roster of presenters lacked credibility as music experts.
Frankly, the idea that the presenters are not credible music geeks is laughable; the week-day schedules include Lauren Laverne (a pop star, of sorts, in a previous life), Stuart Maconie (former music journalist with the NME, back when it was good, by which I mean when I used to read it), Mark Radcliffe (whose been around for ages, on Radios 1 and 2 previously, and who co-hosts the TV coverage of Glastonbury), Marc Riley (former member of The Fall – but who hasn’t been?), whilst elsewhere on their rota you can find former Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan, 70s agit-pop star Tom Robinson, Mary Anne Hobbs (ex-music journalist at Sounds and NME), former Welsh-pop star Cerys Matthews, Don Letts (who made several of The Clash’s videos, and was in Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones), and Tom “Son of John Peel” Ravenscroft, to name just a few. Frankly, I can’t think of a radio station with a more credible rosta of DJs.
Anyway, I mention all of this now because the other week it was announced that, for the first time in…oooh, ages, the schedule is to be shaken up in 2019. I’ll not bore you with the details, you can read about it here if you really wnt to. Suffice it to say, it will soon be Lauren Laverne’s job to get me out of bed of a morning, instead of Shaun Keaveny’s.
When the station was threatened with closure what I now realise was all those years ago, one of those Facebook campaign things was launched to save it, and at the same time, to get one song – which, it was thought, epitomised 6 Music’s position as purveyors of a mix of quality ‘alternative’ and classic music – to number 6 in the UK charts.
It got to Number 56.
And it’s that song we’re going to this morning. As with many songs by this band, much loved by many in the blogging community, this never fails to put a huge dumb smile on my chops. Enjoy:
Half Man Half Biscuit – Joy Division Oven Gloves