Letter: Tuning in and turning off BBC radio stations

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The Independent Online
Sir: How right Frank Barrett is in his condemnation of Radio 1 ('Dear Matthew Bannister'; Open Letter, 2 February). But it isn't just the failure of Radio 1; it is the failure of the BBC, the radio community in general, and, above all, the Home Office.

The largest and richest socio-economic group in this country, 30- to 45-year-old ABC1s, wants a rock music station on a quality FM waveband, 24 hours a day, just as the hickest hick town in the US does. The BBC does not, currently, provide such a service to its licence payers. GLR, the station whose music policy came closest, recently reduced its music-to-chat ratio to the extent where it now offers one FM rock programme four times a week. Pitiful. Radios 2, 3, 4 and 5 play no rock at all, and Radio 1 plays almost none.

Until the Home Office starts to understand that grown-up rock music is not the same as the stuff that 17-year-olds listen to on Radio 1; that classical and easy listening music listeners are already well served; and that our musically disenfranchised group is just as likely to vote Conservative or Liberal and Labour, then it's down to the BBC to do something with one of its existing stations.

Come on, Messrs Bannister and Birt. There's enough chat and lowbrow pop on our FM stations already. Turn Radio 1 or GLR over to the grown-ups and use one of your AM bands for the talk and the teenypop.

Yours faithfully,


London, SW4

2 February