6MUSIC HAS BEEN SAVED! REJOICE! The radio station of wonder and joy will continue to broadcast! The news is dampened by the fact the Asian Network couldn't be saved, of course. It's another example of a thing the BBC should be doing, but there's a feeling that it was one or the other. Or, indeed, possibly neither, when the cuts were announced.
The BBC Trust said there had been "significant public support for the service" and that 78% of nearly 50,000 online responses to a consultation on the BBC's future focused on 6 Music. The trust also received more than 25,000 emails and nearly 250 letters about the station, "the great majority" of which opposed the closure plan.
Now, I don't wish to sound like a wanker, but I sent one of those emails. I filled out one of those consultation forms. How did I find out how to do those things? Twitter. Twitter pointed me towards 38 Degrees and Love 6 Music. Twitter put out the correct email addresses to use, all the while urging people to be polite. There were protests in London of course, which I'd have given anything to be at, but that wasn't to be - but those of us who couldn't make it had plenty of ways to make our voices heard, which is something new.
Twitter (and maybe facebook, I don't know, facebook never captured my imagination and I don't spend hours on it talking to people and making friends and discovering wonderful things, unlike Twitter. Facebook is just sort of... there) gets a bad reputation for being a bunch of left-wingers shouting about injustice and getting things attention but ultimately resulting in nothing concrete - Jan Moir still has a job, for example; the newspapers continue to publish bilge. Okay, so the Nick Clegg's Fault hashtag sort of came true but we didn't mean it to go down like that. We're sorry.
And tweeting alone didn't save 6Music and I'd never claim it did. But Twitter spread the news that the station was facing closure like wildfire, informed people of what action they could take, was able to focus the outcry into something that was actually helpful, instead of either ranting into the ether or a bunch of disparate responses that went to the wrong places. Plus on a personal note, I made new friends dicking about on 6Music hashtags, who send me yet more awesome music just because they think I'll love it (I do). It's all good.
I don't wish to overstate this and say that we're all a band of heroes and it'll all be okay because of the POWER OF THE INTERNET because, you know, it won't. In this case though, I think it - we - did good. Would 6Music have been saved without such a public response? I doubt it. I'm glad to have been a part of it and this just makes it an even more special radio station.
I was only one of tens of thousands who protested, in whatever form that took, but - just this once - can't we say it was nice to be listened to? No matter that most of the time we're barking at nothing, no matter that we didn't reform the government, no matter that it's a "just a radio station" - we won this time! Let us have our victory!
In any case, it's not just a radio station to those who kicked up the dust. Music matters. I'm fortunate in that I have a group of friends who understand this perfectly - they live for music. Music powers them. We need 6Music - or at the very least, we need the spirit in which it broadcasts.
My other writing on this:
A personal post on how 6Music helped save my life. Quite literally
A post in more general terms about why the station matters