Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Why I am not lamenting 6Music but why I worry about local news

So the news is out.

The BBC's Mark Thompson has announced plans to scale back its £3.5bn a year operations,pledging to the public that the corporation with its guaranteed licence fee income, did not “try to do everything”.

So what won't it be doing? Well it will slash its radio budget by closing the digital radio stations 6Music and Asian Network.It will reduce by around a quarter its budget for running online operations and will pledge a new cap of spending for 2.5 per cent of the licence fee on overseas acquisitions and 9 per cent on sports rights.

It has also pledged to bring its overheads into line from around 12 per cent of the licence fee to 9 per cent

The middle classes are up in arms about 6Music.Quite frankly I have never listened to it,so don't share the twitterati clamour about defacing the memory of John Peel.Anyone surely Radio 1 is the place for breaching the barriers of new music.

I am more concerned about why there isn't such a clamour for the closing of the Asian network.

I am also concerned that the corporation has not addressed other areas where it is playing on a lopsided arena,notably its magazine arm and its acquisition of Lonely planet magazine last year.

As for the website,I also have worries.Which information is going and who will fill it.The BBC for all its critics supplies news and information which commercial operations are unwilling or unable to provide.

It says it will allow local papers to develop local services but I worry.Local websites, it says

" will be refocused, meanwhile, to carry only news, sport, weather, travel and local knowledge content.

Whether this gives an opportunity to those of us who want to serve the hyperlocal market remains to be seen.Maybe a sweetener would be to give us some of the license fee that they will save?


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