DAB heavyweights respond to 6 Music closure rumour

Pure and Roberts Radio bosses respond to the latest rumours of BBC DAB station closures, with 6 Music rumoured to face the axe
Pure and Roberts Radio bosses respond to the latest rumours of BBC DAB station closures, with 6 Music rumoured to face the axe

The rumours that the BBC is set to close alternative music station 6 Music and the Asian Network, which TechRadar reported on earlier today, have sent shockwaves through the radio industry and among listeners.

Two of the major DAB Radio manufacturers, Pure and Roberts, have been quick to comment on the rumours, with Leslie Burrage, Chief Executive at Roberts telling TechRadar:

"It's obviously disappointing to hear that BBC 6 Music is not a sustainable business in its own right. However, the ceasing of this station highlights how the running of a station on the DAB multiplex is expensive and, therefore, it should be heeded that switching most stations from FM to DAB is not as simple as some may perceive.

"In these recessionary times, while regrettable, it is inevitable that some stations will be unable to remain profitable, particularly in the commercial radio sector and as also demonstrated in the BBC."

Passion for digital radio

Meanwhile, over at Pure, Marketing Director Colin Crawford remains confident about the longer term future of digital radio in the UK, telling TechRadar:

"The reaction to the Times article shows the real passion that exists in the UK for digital radio. Over the past few months, a number of new stations have launched on the national digital radio network and there are now over 10 stations on the national commercial multiplex, including really great stations such as NME Radio and Planet Rock.

"We are more confident than ever about the robust health of the future of digital radio in the UK."

Robert Shepherd, a spokesperson for the government sponsored group Digital Radio UK, added that they were, "aware that the BBC are conducting a Strategy Review," and that they were awaiting the outcome, "but the BBC have confirmed that they have a continued commitment to the development of digital radio and to investing in high quality digital only content."

But the increasingly vocal campaign online, on Twitter and on music and radio industry blogs to save 6 Music only wants to know one thing – that this 'continued commitment' to 'high quality digital only content' means that the 620,000 regular 6 Music listeners in the UK won't lose the station they treasure at some point in the near future.

How to find new music

Dave Haynes, head of business development at digital music specialists SoundCloud told TechRadar that, "6Music plays an important role in championing music that often doesn't find an outlet elsewhere. We know this firsthand since Tom Robinson uses SoundCloud to find new music for his Introducing show.

"It's important that these opportunities exist for up-and-coming musicians to get their music heard on a BBC radio station, and for that avenue to be shut down would be a tragedy for musicians and music fans alike."

Stay tuned for further updates as we get them on the news of the BBC's plans to make cuts to its digital radio and online divisions.

Adam Hartley