Monday, 5 July 2010

White people triumph again

The BBC has decided to reverse its decision to close indie music station 6Music, but will still close down the Asian Network (as long as alternatives are proposed).

I like 6Music a lot. It's cheap, plays music the commercial sector won't play (one of the BBCs charter requirements), and its presenters are mostly knowledgeable, interesting people.

I've never listened to the Asian Network, which provides programming by and for Asians of many cultural backgrounds, in English and a range of other languages. Perhaps, you might say, it ghettoises Asian people, but I'm not convinced. There are a range of Asian cultures which aren't catered for on mainstream channels. Britain's history has led to sizeable Asian communities in this country - these citizens need to be served.

I know that 6Music fans aren't solely white people (like me), but it's a fair bet that the vast majority of its 600,000 weekly listeners are white, bourgeois urban trendies (almost like me) who blog Twitter constantly when their interests are threatened. Good - I want 6Music to live, but we need to take a wider interest.

So I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable with today's decision. It seems like 6Music has called upon the efforts of a lot of influential people to save itself, whereas the Asian Network hasn't been able to draw upon a similar range of people. Good lefties like me - and liberals - should have been calling for both channels to be saved (if sacrifices are to be made, I'd chop Radio 1, which is indistinguishable from commercial pop stations).

The arguments for the Asian Network are the same as for 6Music, but only one is saved. Something doesn't feel right about this.

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