Hundreds join rally to save BBC's 6Music

Indie kids and ageing rockers come together outside Broadcasting House to protest against closure of the pioneering digital station

Hundreds of music lovers gathered outside Broadcasting House in central London yesterday as pressure mounted on the BBC to overturn its controversial decision to close down the digital radio station 6Music.

The comedian Ed Byrne and singer Cerys Matthews were joined by some of the station's most popular DJs as fans listened to live music in the glorious afternoon sunshine.

Devotees had travelled from Glasgow, Liverpool and Birmingham to protest against the closure of a station that attracts more than one million listeners every week.

6Music is celebrated for its eclectic mix of old and new music which was reflected among yesterday's crowd. Indie kids and ageing rockers held banners and sang protest chants together, united by a genuine passion for music that, they claim, is not played on any other station.

Scores of supportive messages from musicians, including Damon Albarn of Blur, Lemmy of Motorhead and the rising star La Roux, were read out to loud cheers.

The station is credited with helping many new bands break through over the past eight years, including Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs and Florence and the Machine. Performing a live session on the station carries as much prestige among established musicians as it does with unsigned bands.

Steve Lamacq, the new music champion who has hosted the station's drive-time show since 2005, stood at the back of the 500-strong crowd. He said: "The listenership could not have done more to save the station. Now it is up to the BBC. The rise in listener numbers is impressive – but not surprising because we have been getting better and better for the last eight years. Right now, 6Music is at the top of its game."

More than 170,000 people have joined the Facebook campaign to save the station since the BBC's director-general, Mark Thompson, made the announcement in March.

Presenters from the Asian Network – the other station earmarked for closure by next year – also took to the stage to remind the BBC Trust of its obligations to serve all British communities. A bigger protest against the Asian Network's closure took place at the same time in Birmingham.

There was no sign of the newly appointed junior culture minister, Ed Vaizey, who famously retracted his support for the BBC's decision after a weekend listening to the station.

The campaign to save the threatened stations received a boost earlier this month after they won a hat-trick of prizes at the industry's top awards ceremony – the Sony Music Awards.

A diehard fan, Mandy Williams, 44, who had travelled down from Liverpool, said: "I have listened to the station since it started eight years ago and I'm totally obsessed with keeping it open. To shut it down would be cultural vandalism."

Ed Byrne, a Mock the Week regular, entertained the crowd by saying that he didn't mind having to watch sport or Andrew Lloyd Webber, or even listen to Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright interviewing an astrologist about the hung parliament, as long as he could keep listening to the likes of the former Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker on 6Music.

Byrne told the IoS: "This protest sums up 6Music very well: a small number of very enthusiastic people. Go tell the world."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower