BBC Radio Scotland – Cuts Update
Recently, BBC Scotland has confirmed plans to wind up shows: Classics Unwrapped, Jazz Nights, and Pipeline. An update from Tommy Smith on the campaign to defend against programme cuts at BBC Radio Scotland.
Today, I heard from Angus Robertson, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture (and musician). He told me he was asked a question about BBC Scotland proposals at a Scottish Parliament committee by Clare Adamson, MSP, the convener of the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Committee, and responded, “how much I hoped still to hear jazz and bagpipe music on BBC Scotland.”
The issues at stake were highlighted in an open letter to Angus Robertson last week. The co-signers of that letter and the entire Scottish musical community remain extremely concerned about the state of affairs. We are active in the campaign to reverse this terrible decision.
A point that has yet to surface in this debate is the BBC’s statutory commitment to provide:
1.33.1 in relation to the mix of different genres and output, the BBC should ensure that a range of programming is provided across its television services. It should also secure the amount and prominence of those genres identified as at risk or in decline across public service broadcasting, including: music, arts, religion, comedy and children’s programming. On its radio services, the BBC should ensure its portfolio of stations offer the broadest variety of output and that the range of musical output on its popular radio services is broader than that of comparable providers;
2.82.3 Content and music of particular relevance to Scotland
Under the current Operating licence for the BBC’s UK Public
The BBC’s decision to cut jazz, classical and piping programming will vastly reduce how the BBC represents and platform some of Scotland’s most dynamic and emerging music scenes. Moreover, it would, in all likelihood, contravene this commitment.
Fiona Hyslop, MSP, former Culture Secretary, said, “I recall some time back securing responsibility in BBC Charter renewal for the BBC to have a role/responsibility to contribute to creative industries development in Scotland not just use talent as content – these plans cut right [through] this.”
Pete Wishart, MP, chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee (and musician), has said, “This is a dreadful decision from the BBC. This type of specialist programming sustains the smaller musical genres and gives them an opportunity to develop. I really hope they reconsider.”
Letters, sent out today by Chris Hodgkins (musician and former director of Jazz Services), have gone out to Alison Thewliss, SNP MSP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) vice-chair of the Parliamentary Jazz Group, John Spellar MP, co-chair, asking them to table or ask a question in the House of Commons. I later talked to Alison on the telephone today, and she has given us our full support.
Other steps are brewing in this activism, but more emails were sent to generate cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament, as the only way for BBC Scotland to take the issue seriously is by asking a question in parliament of action undertaken by the government or by proposing a motion in the Scottish Parliament.
Upward spiral, and many thanks for all your support,
Here are some online papers that have published our story and activism.
UK DAILY NEWS
LONDON JAZZ NEWS
THE EDINBURGH REPORTER https://theedinburghreporter.co.uk/2023/01/tommy-smith-heads-petition-to-save-bbc-scotland-programmes-from-being-axed/?fbclid=IwAR1CH6Erm_8m24Fk3Eb01QyCfaCMjZwTgGaGZEt-6OTUxKUvwPucszp_vcw
THE SCOTSMAN https://www.scotsman.com/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/celtic-connections-chief-and-performers-condemn-bbc-scotland-over-music-programme-cuts-3985296?fbclid=IwAR2sojmtOJPj5B4S6B9y9p5lEiJCYOrr0XcqoTAaKGIo5ewDvPITq3p2iEE