Open letter to Roger Wright and his bosses ....
I call you Squealer, and your bosses Napoleon and Snowball. I know this upsets some members of this forum; they and you perhaps do not understand why I do this. It is simple. Animal Farm. The pigs' names are fitting for you Davie and Thompson because you have damaged public radio in general, R3 and Jazz broadcasting in particular in pursuit of a populist ideology that is pure bullshit. Populist in the sense of a marketing mind set and pursuit of audience size for its own sake as the prime and over reaching goal. This is an ephemeral a notion as whatever propaganda the pigs used to maintain their power.
For some time now I have been puzzled by your decision to close R6 and what it really meant. Here is what I think. You made a profound error in your analysis in thinking that R6 was a very minor part of your 'output'. Small in audience, you misread its real value. It is the future of Public Service broadcasting. In fact I think that R1 is the dead past and the BBC would be well served to drop it and leave such chart shows to the commercial market providers as the BBC is not in the audience market. You are in the audience market if you are selling advertising. If you are the Public Service you are in the satisfaction and loyalty markets; satisfied license payers and loyal listeners are far better hall marks for Public Service.
You perhaps clutch at the audience size of R1 and R 2 & 4, but I think these are false comforts; you should learn from R6 that the combination of expertise, independence and an almost wilful assertion of aesthetic choice is the future, it builds an audience of loyal enthusiasts. I am sure that R2 and R4 have such audiences; alas like me they are probably balding grey and elderly. I do believe that R3 has the potential to reach its audience as R6 so clearly does but not, Squealer, with your dead hand at its throat. And they are the future of Public Service radio.
You lied about Jazz when you promised to treat it well. You have ensured that it is now so unreliably broadcast, with such slack indications of timing and programming that it can no longer create a coherent audience. There is little sense of sharing with the other half million or so souls in the UK who might listen to serious jazz broadcasts at the same time.
Thompson Davie and yourself have just got radio wrong, as Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer got it wrong. You patronise us with phony consultation and argue you care about listeners' views. Not as much as you care about your place in the gang of the more equal.
aaka Calum da Jazbo
"Society is indeed a contract. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”