Journalist-turned-politician, Joan McAlpine, has laid down a motion in the Scottish Parliament seeking to prevent the threatend closure of a BBC Radio 1 programme that aims to find the best new unsigned music talent in Scotland.
The South of Scotland MSP says she is concerned about Introducing in Scotland, which is at risk of being axed following a review by the BBC – Delivering Quality First – that is expected to result in some 2,000 BBC jobs going, UK-wide, as a result of budget cuts.
Says the Delivery Quality First report (page 45) BBC bosses are considering replacing the late-night Scottish opt-out with an UK-wide show featuring bands from throughout the UK.
McAlpine, whose early journalism career included writing for the NME (the New Musical Express) and who is currently a panellist on the STV programme, Scotland’s Greatest Album, says scrapping the show would be a devastating blow to hundreds of young unsigned bands and artists.
An online petition has already gathered nearly 6,000 signatures – in less than a week.
McAlpine is a former deputy editor of The Herald and was also once an editor of Sunday Times Scotland.
She says: “I’m pleading with the BBC bosses not to silence the sound of young Scotland. Introducing in Scotland has blazed a trail for our cutting edge bands and solo acts thanks to the enthusiasm of both [presenter] Ally Macrae and the previous presenter, Vic Galloway.
“The judges on Scotland’s Greatest Album had a really tough time choosing 15 acts from each decade between the 1970s and the noughties.
“If future generations are going to enjoy the same success they need a break, and Introducing in Scotland is a great platform. Scotland has always punched above its weight when it comes to great pop music and having a vibrant scene depends on shows like this.
“A popular campaign saved Six Music. Let’s hope the BBC bosses listen to the Scottish public as well.
“Scotland contributes £300 million to the BBC license fee and gets only a small proportion back to promote and develop our own talent. The cost of saving 'Introducing in Scotland' is miniscule in comparison to the salaries being paid to London executives and presenters. It’s time the BBC paid more attention to Scotland’s integrity as a nation with its own distinct culture – and that includes its unique brand of contemporary music.”
The petition can be signed here.