Dave James is a British Radio Journalism student at the University of Huddersfield. He’s 30 years old and passionate about saving alternative music radio stations BBC 6Music and the Asian Network.
Dave has organised support for a campaign and petition, which thousands of disgruntled listeners in Britain and abroad have already signed.
The campaigners want to stop BBC plans to make sever funding cuts and take the two stations off the airwaves because, as station controllers state, “they need to reach more listeners”. In the D/B interview, Dave explains why he decided to get involved with the protest and gives an insight into why niche music is relevant.
Can you describe in a few sentences why it’s important to keep 6Music going?
6Music does so many things for UK music. From plugging so many new musicians, through to reminding the listeners of the great music that have been. And it does this in a way that is unique to everything else that’s around.
What are your favourite shows & presenters on 6Music?
That’s such a hard question because it all depends on what mood I’m in. I love nearly everything on there and it is probably easier to say what I don’t like, which is The Freak Zone with Stuart Maconie (but that’s just my personal choice).
Would the BBC funding cuts, if given the go-ahead, be a severe set back for alternative music in the UK / worldwide? If so, why?
If the cuts go ahead I don’t think there will be a sudden drop in ‘good’ music straight away. However, its in the long term that’s what we should be thinking about. I understand that people have to move with the times and change the way we consume our media/music but without sounding sentimental the BBC has always been a good discovering ground for music, both on radio and television.
Shutting 6Music and the Asian Network will close of an easy route in to a vast array of music that doesn’t get mainstream coverage, music that influences and shapes future musicians.
What can people do to support the campaign?
The most important thing to do is to fill in the BBC Strategy Review (on the BBC Trust website) this is the ‘direct line’ to the BBC trust that will get your voice heard by the right people.
Then there is the petition, which has 60,000+ signatures and is a good way to express your dismay at the planed cuts.
There are Facebook groups, Twitter, blogs, demonstrations and movements happening all over about the issue. It seems to have grabbed the passion of many people.
Which bands and musicians have got involved with your campaign?
Many DJs from both stations have spoken out about the plans and support the campaign, but their hands are tied to fully get involved.
There has been support from Lily Allen, David Bowie, Coldplay, U2, Stereophonics as well as many of the bands and artists that are played on both stations.
Many ‘celebrities’ have come out backing the campaign as well, such as Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Phil Jupitus, Stephen Fry and more.
Anything else you would like to say?
The BBC needs to admit that it is a mistake to cut theses stations and remember their original remit slogan which is that the BBC output is to ‘Inform, educate and entertain’.