Coventry Conversation – Liz Kershaw & Gideon Coe
For those who are unaware of 6 music here’s a very quick overview: 6music is a radio station that is available via DAB digital radio, the station plays ‘alternative’ music which includes genres such as, but not limited to… ‘indie’, ‘classic rock’, ‘folk’, ‘punk’, ‘funk’ and ‘hip-hop’ 6Music plays archived sessions particularly the late John Peels sessions which date back to the 60’s and also creates it’s own sessions ‘according to Gideon, 6music records as many as 400 sessions a year.’ The station is also home to rock-stars/presneters, Bruce ‘Iron Maiden’ Dickinson and Jarvis ‘Pulp’ Cocker
Today’s Coventry Conversation focused on the recent decision by the BBC to close BBC 6Music and BBC Asian Network in 2011. Liz and Gideon are two presenters on 6music who have both been in the radio presenting business for over 40 years between the two of them, with Liz, most famously a former presenter of Radio 1’s Weekend Breakfast show and Gideon, a former sportscaster, both of them have been presenters on 6music from it’s first incarnate year.
Both Liz and Gideon were keen to point out that they were speaking as license fee payers and did not represent the BBC or their view on the situation.
Liz started off the conversation by saying that she got into the radio presenting role as she had a huge love for music, she mentioned she could learn lyrics to her favorite songs better than remembering notes for an exam. As mentioned above she was a regular presenter on BBC Radio 1 for a number of years. about 10 years ago Liz wrote an article about how her style of music was not catered for by BBC radio 1 or 2 and she was then approached to be a presenter for a trail station which eventually became 6Music.
Gideon described 6music as a different approach to new music, which BBC Radio1 and commercial radio are unable to achieve as well as a celebration of classics, Gideon stressed many times throughout the session that he felt that some of these songs would disappear from British culture if 6music were to close as there would be no major output for them.
Gideon described the audience is admittedly a ‘Niche’ market but it was a growing ‘Niche’ market and also mentioned that the station has 700,000 listeners (however neither him or Liz know what they get per program) He also believes that while Radio1 and Radio2 have to attract a certain audience, he doesn’t believe that there is an average 6music listener or a target demographic other than ‘music enthusiast’ . He also believes the proposed closure is possibly the best publicity the station has ever had.
When questioned about the closure of BBC’s asian network, Liz responded in a similar style to Dhrien Katwa a few conversations ago, saying that she didn’t understand the stations excistence claiming it promoted segregation and was in a way racist.
When questioned about why they believe 6music is likely to be closed, they both agreed that it appeared to be a political move rather than a cost cutting measure, 6music costs only £7,000,000 a year to run or as Liz put it “Two Anne Robinson’s and One Graham Norton” They believe the decision was made to please the possible new conservative government which had a very apparent majority at the time the decision was made and have suggested making even more damaging decisions such as selling off Radio1.
When questioned about thier future, both said they don’t know what will happen and won’t consider it until they have been shown the door. Liz also mentioned that her brother Andy was writing a book expected to be released at christmas and should be doing a Coventry Conversation later in the year.
If you wish to voice your opinion to the BBC Trust and hope to get them to reverse the decison to close 6Music please fill in the form at this link… http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/save6music?js=true