Bowie, Ronson slam BBC for plans to axe 6 Music

Tue Mar 2, 2010 12:56pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Music stars David Bowie and Mark Ronson have reacted angrily to the BBC's decision to close its 6 Music station, seen as a key platform for alternative and lesser-known rock and pop acts.

BBC Radio 6 describes itself as a station that "brings together the cutting edge of today and the iconic and groundbreaking music of the past 40 years," and has a weekly audience of about 700,000 listeners. It was one of the first BBC digital stations and went on air in 2002.

The decision to shutter the station is part of a strategy to redirect about 600 million pounds ($890 million) into higher quality content such as its journalism, UK drama and comedy.

Commercial rivals such as ITV and Channel 4 could then be left to bid for sports or U.S. drama.

When details of the plans to take 6 Music off the air first surfaced last week, Bowie issued a statement on his website.

"6 Music keeps the spirit of broadcasters like John Peel alive and for new artists to lose this station would be a great shame," he said.

Peel was a pioneering radio DJ from the 1960s until his death in 2004 and championed music that would struggle to be heard on more commercial channels.


<p>Singer David Bowie receives the Webby Lifetime Achievement award during the 11th annual Webby Awards honoring online content in New York June 5, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>