BBC Radio 6 Music
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom – Nationally via Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB)|
Sky (UK only): 0120
Virgin Media: 909
UPC Ireland: 912
|First air date||11 March 2002|
|Audience share||1.6% (December 2014, )|
HTTP progressive Streams
BBC Radio 6 Music is one of the BBC's digital radio stations. It was known officially as BBC 6 Music from its launch on 11 March 2002 until April 2011. 6 Music was the first national music radio station to be launched by the BBC in 32 years. It is available only on digital media: DAB radio, the Internet, digital television, and in northern Europe through the Astra 2B satellite.
Often referred to as the sister station of BBC Radio 2, it shares common features and DJs with both BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2. For instance, it operates a playlist of similar 'A/B/C' structure to both Radios 1 and 2 and regularly shares selective tracks on its 'A' playlist with both stations, although it is generally less reliant upon chart music than the more mainstream stations.
Evening and weekend programming, however, features a more diverse selection of tracks across genres both popular and on the fringes, with dedicated shows towards different forms of dance, jazz, soul, and Jamaican music, among others. The station also features performances from the BBC music archives, including the "Peel Sessions" put together by John Peel from the late 1960s to 2004.
In July 2010, the BBC Trust announced it had rejected a proposal by the BBC to close 6 Music to provide commercial rivals more room. The Trust commented that the station was "well-liked by its listeners, was highly distinctive and made an important contribution." 6 Music is the most listened to BBC digital radio station with an average weekly audience of 1.9 million.
The station opened at 7 am, Monday, 11 March 2002, with a show presented by Phill Jupitus. At the start-up, presenters included Liz Kershaw, Andrew Collins, Tom Robinson, Gideon Coe, Janice Long, Chris Hawkins, Gary Burton, Craig Charles, Stuart Maconie, Brinsley Forde, Suggs, Clare McDonnell, Bruce Dickinson, Tracey MacLeod, Sean Hughes, and Bob Harris. The first record played was Ash's Burn Baby Burn 6 Music attracted criticism for changing daytime schedules during late 2007 and early 2008. In response, Lesley Douglas, Controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music at the time, said that the changes were intended to attract more female listeners. She claimed that men listened to music in an intellectual way while women were more emotionally attached. This in turn brought on more criticism of perceived sexism on Douglas' part.
In 2011, BBC Radio 6 Music started the process of moving some of its presenters, staff, and shows from London and elsewhere to the new studios at MediaCityUK in Salford near Manchester. The studios are located in Dock House. Among programmes broadcast there are Radcliffe & Maconie, Funk & Soul Show, and Marc Riley's and Mary Anne Hobbs' shows.
In February 2010, in anticipation of a review by the BBC Trust, newspaper reports suggested 6 Music might be axed. The review stopped short of recommending closure but noted that only one in five UK residents were aware the station existed, and that it lacked presenters with credibility as music experts. The Times claimed that Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, proposed closure as part of a bid to scale back BBC operations and allow commercial rivals more room. A high profile campaign to oppose closure of the station attracted media attention and led to "#SaveBBC6Music" quickly becoming a trending topic on Twitter. A leading voice in the campaign was Jarvis Cocker, a DJ/musician who presents his own show on BBC 6 Music, Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service. A Facebook group set up to oppose the proposed closure gained nearly 180,000 members.
The Sunday Times reported that following the public outcry over the proposed closure, 6 Music would be rebranded as Radio 2 Extra, retaining a similar playlist but broadcasting for only 12 hours a day but Tim Davie, head of audio and music at the BBC, denied this was a possibility.
In the first quarter of 2011 some BBC radio services, including 6 Music, were part of an efficiency review conducted by John Myers. His role, according to Andrew Harrison, the chief executive of RadioCentre, was "to identify both areas of best practice and possible savings." The Telegraph suggested that this was due to 'commercial sector criticism' whilst The Guardian cited an National Audit Office report.
Nominations and awards
Several of BBC 6 Music's presenters and shows have won Sony Radio Academy Awards. In 2006 presenter Marc Riley won a Silver award for The Music Radio Personality of the Year. In April 2008, comedy duo Adam and Joe's 6 Music Saturday morning show won the Broadcasting Press Guild award for Radio Programme of the Year. George Lamb also won the Sony 'Rising Star' award. In May 2009, Adam and Joe won three Sony Radio Silver awards.
Following the announcement that 6 Music was to be closed, Adam and Joe won the best comedy prize at the Sony Radio Academy Awards in May 2010, with Jarvis Cocker winning the rising star award, voted for by listeners, for their 6 Music shows. Two years later, the station was named UK Station of the Year at the Sonys, with the judges citing its "confidence across its schedule that not only reflects a real passion for music but also a firm understanding of the audience they are broadcasting to."
Ratings and listenership
In February 2010, 6 Music was reported as showing growth in its audience, winning an audience of 695,000 listeners, up 12.3% year-on-year. However, in the quarter to December 2009, its 'reach' (proportion of the adult population who listen for at least 5 minutes in the course of an average week) was 1%, and Total Survey Area share (of total listening time) was 0.4%.
According to the BBC's service review of Radio 2 and 6 Music, published in February 2010, the average age of 6 Music listeners is 36, which it considers too low. The review implied that the deficiency in appeal to female listeners apparent in 2007 was still in existence, and that there should be changes to attract more listeners from ethnic minorities and lower income groups. However, the review did not give details of the scale of these issues.
Following the proposal to close the station, online listening figures rose significantly. The number of unique online listeners rose to an average of 133,653 in March 2010, up 50 per cent on the previous March. When the RAJAR listening figures were released in May 2010, it was revealed that 6 Music had an average of 1.02 million listeners in the first three months of the year, compared to 695,000 the previous year.
In 2011, 6 Music had a total audience of 1.3 million listeners in the three months to 27 March, up from 1.14m in the previous quarter, according to the latest data from the Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) board. Buoyed by shows from high-profile DJs such as Jarvis Cocker, Huey Morgan and Lauren Laverne, 6 Music has also grown its audience from 1.02m in the first quarter of 2010. The station broke more records in 2012, with a total audience of 1.62 million in the third quarter of the year. For the last month of 2012 RAJAR reported 6 Music listening figures had overtaken BBC Radio 4 extra to become the most listened to digital only radio station in the United Kingdom. The same report also showed that 6 Music had surpassed BBC Radio 3 in listening share, an increase of 31% from the year previously.
In 2014, a report was released stating that BBC 6 Music had overtaken BBC Radio 3 in numbers of listeners per week for the first time. The digital station's weekly average was 1.89m listeners (up 5.5% on 2013) while BBC Radio 3's average weekly listenership was only 1.884m. 
In 2007 BBC 6 Music was in the press because of scandals over rigged competitions. It emerged that in 2006 the Liz Kershaw Show faked a competition by using producers and their friends as 'competition winners', leading to the firing of a junior producer. On 20 September 2007, it was announced that the Head of Programmes, Ric Blaxill, had resigned.
- Bob Shennan – Network Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music, 2009–
- James Stirling – Head of Programmes, 6 Music, 2012–
- Paul Rodgers – Editor 2008 -
- Jeff Smith – Head of Music, Radio 2 and 6 Music / head of the weekly playlist meeting
- Lorna Clarke – Network Manager, Radio 2 and 6 Music, 2010–
- Lesley Douglas – Network Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music, 2004–2008
- Ric Blaxill – Head of Programmes, 2004–2007
Presenters and shows
- Richard Bacon
- Vicki Blight
- Edith Bowman
- Russell Brand, Matt Morgan and Trevor Lock
- Adam Buxton
- Jen Brister
- Nick Conrad
- Joe Cornish
- Gary Crowley
- Natasha Desborough
- Bruce Dickinson
- Bob Dylan – Theme Time Radio Hour
- Brinsley Forde – Lively Up Yourself, Dub Bashment
- Jane Gazzo – Jane Gazzo's Dream Ticket
- Jo Good
- Clare Grogan
- Bob Harris
- Richard Herring
- Jon Holmes
- Russell Howard
- Sean Hughes
- Hamish & Andy
- Iyare Igiehon
- Phill Jupitus
- Phil Kennedy
- George Lamb
- Janice Long – Dream Ticket
- Clare McDonnell
- Danny Wallace
- Stephen Merchant
- Jayne Middlemiss
- Tracey MacLeod – My Life in CD
- Vic McGlynn
- Pete Mitchell
- Pete Paphides – Vinyl Revival
- Dave Pearce
- Paul Weller
- Eddie Piller
- Queens of Noize
- Anita Rani
- Jon Richardson
- Sean Rowley
- Miranda Sawyer – 6 Degrees of...
- Peter Serafinowicz
- Bradley Wiggins
- British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors
- CBC Radio 3
- Digital Audio Broadcast
- Internet radio
- Le Mouv'
- MDR Sputnik
- Triple J
- Studio Brussel
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- Plunkett, John; agencies (30 April 2010). "BBC 6 Music's online audience soars". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 3 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- Plunkett, John (13 May 2010). "BBC 6 Music's audience rises 50%". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
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