A campaign to save from possible closure a BBC Radio 1 show dedicated to showcasing unsigned Scottish bands has been taken to the Scots representative on the Corporation's national governing body, the BBC Trust.
Introducing in Scotland 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, because 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.
And journalist-turned-politician, Joan McAlpine MSP, was joined by Paul Downie – of music promoters, Pelmet Nites – and blogger The Pop Cop in spending an hour with Bill Matthews at the BBC Scotland HQ at Pacific Quay, Glasgow.
SNP MSP, McAlpine, has tabled a Scottish Parliament motion, while an online petition has gathered over 6,000 signatures which, say supporters, is more per head of population in Scotland than signed up to save Radio 6 Music across Britain.
Since the petition was launched, the BBC has sought to reassure that an UK-wide programme would still provide plenty of opportunity to showcase Scots talent.
Said Downie, in a statement issued by the SNP: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to meet with Bill Matthews and to present our case to the Trust. BBC Introducing in Scotland is a unique platform offering the chance not only to showcase some of the incredible talent our country has to offer but also in providing a new generation of musicians, across a broad spectrum of genres, a sense of hope and confidence by being played to a national audience. With so many people offering their support to the campaign we would hope that the BBC will acknowledge the importance of these shows and look to work with us to ensure they continue to grow and nourish the Scottish music scene.”
The statement also quotes McAlpine, as saying: ”The campaign to save Radio 6 Music was successful but The Pop Cop has gathered more signatures per head of population in Scotland with a lot less publicity, which shows the strength of feeling. The BBC really needs to listen to that message and save the sound of young Scotland. It will be a lot less expensive than saving 6 Music as they only employ two members of staff. This is the only Scottish opt-out on Radio 1, so dropping it is just unfair.
“Although Bill cannot express an opinion, he was well informed and had listened to the show. He had obviously been a bit of John Peel fan back in the day and Introducing in Scotland is just as influential in its way. It's a creative catalyst helping nurture the industry and it brings the music to an audience who would not otherwise hear it on mainstream radio. It's a very refreshing alternative to X Factor in that it features young talented people doing it for themselves, without any moulding by the big music moguls.”