Twitterville unites in bid to save BBC radio stations

Online poll to save under threat 6Music and Asian Network

In what is a familiar response to unwelcome news, the power of social networking and online campaigning is being used in a bid to secure the future of two radio stations seemingly under threat as a result of BBC cutbacks.

Rumours that digital radio stations BBC 6Music and the BBC Asian Network may be axed as a means of The Beeb cutting costs are reported in detail in today's Times newspaper. The story is being given credence by the BBC's silence on the matter. The BBC's own website reports that the corporation has issued no denial of plans to close the radio stations.

Twitter users, up in arms at the prospect of losing a much-loved radio station in 6Music, are attempting to get a million retweets to their #savebbc6music posts from around the globe by way of indication of the station's popularity.

A Twibbon (an electronic badge that can be added to a user profile photo) has been created for Twitter user's to demonstrate their support

A petition to save both radio stations has been set up at the Number 10 website.

The petition reports: "The BBC will close two radio stations, shut half its website and cut spending heavily on imported American programmes in an overhaul of services to be announced next month."

In the past three months, audience viewing figures for 6Music have averaged a healthy 695,000. As well as being broadcast on DAB digital radios, listeners can tune in via the internet and on Freeview and Freesat TVs.

Two weeks ago The Guardian warned of the threat to the BBC Asian Network's radio station, which has lost listeners over the past year.

The Times reports indicates that BBC Click and BBC Blast technology microsites are also likely to be shut if the BBC cost-saving measures are implemented.

The BBC has come under fire for the amount it spent on refurbishing its central London offices, securing the rights to show popular foreign-made TV shows such as Mad Men and Heroes and the resources it devotes to sports programming.

While the BBC has made no comment on whether the planned radio station and website closures have been finalised, 6Music presenter Richard Bacon, predicts the station will survive and that the sort of passion and web campaigning inspired by the rumoured shutdown will actually serve to prove the popularity of less mainstream programming.

The Times says Absolute Radio will bid for 6Music should the BBC decide to withdraw funding for it.

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Rosemary Hattersley

PC Advisor (UK)

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