Has the BBC and Radio 6 lost the musical plot?

This week it’s been the BBC Six Music Festival in Glasgow. OK, fair enough.

So most of Radio Six has been devoted to this event, including endless airtime about how wonderful Glasgow, its musicians and Radio Six are for discovering them.

So I didn’t get my usual fix of Craig Charles’ Funk and Soul show on on Saturday evening, instead there was some dance DJ droning on about Glasgow this and that. Followed by Beeb veteran Liz Kershaw, getting all excited about something else Glasgow-related. It’s massive overkill – like the way the Beeb plugs the FA Cup, the only live club football it can afford. I tuned out from Ms Kershaw (I know I’m gaining a reputation as a misogynist -see Comments) but this was really not good.

All live radio broadcasts invite the response “You had to be there.” But you can at least package the stuff attractively and not shove it down everybody’s throats. This Radio Six signally failed to do.

So I tuned to Liza Starbuck on Radio Two (hardly ever listen to Two as couldn’t stand Terry Wogan and Chris Evans is even worse in the mornings – anyway I listen to Today but don’t get me on this) but it used to have ex-Manfred Mann Paul Jones doing a blues show and, I seem to recall, once broadcast Bob Dylan’s wonderful Radio Hour from the US.

All Starbuck did was vapour on about stir fries and other such nonsense (she used to appear on a cookery show).

The records weren’t so bad but, as a music show, it was total crap.

Does anyone at the BBC listen to this stuff? Or all they all too busy fending off the Tory government and its supposed plans to castrate the Beeb? It might have succeeded without even trying to.

Back in the 1960’s the Beeb played a key part in killing off independent pirate music radio stations, without which we’d probably never have heard Dylan, the Four Tops, Jefferson Airplane and The Band. The least it could do is respect the mass market monopoly it now has.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.


  1. Radio 6 coverage is absolutley top notch.
    they should not pander to your taste.
    it woudl appear you are a complete arse.

  2. Funk and Soul moved to Radio 2 for the evening, which you could have tuned into. The coverage of the weekends events showed a vibrant city well, and it’s wealth of musical offerings. Such culture should be celebrated and not berated. It’s important to show case the cultural offering through the whole of the UK and educate those who are unaware – it makes a nice change from the London centric offerings that tend to be broadcast.

  3. BBC Radio 6 music is perfect, certainly the only radio station to offer this kind of output and I’d like nothing to change. You come across as a bitter old codger who has it in for those whippersnappers and their rubbish music tastes. This was one weekend out of 50-odd. It’s fine.

  4. I love Radio Six too, along with BBC4 they’re the best two channels on the Beeb. And both of them were on the chopping block a couple of years ago until people like you revolted.

    But I still think the Glasgow music festival was overkill and I expect the same thing will happen with Glastonbury again this year.

  5. What a clown!