BBC Scotland targeted by mass ‘musical protest’

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
Musicians and campaigners angered at the planned axing of a Radio One show that promotes up and coming Scottish bands are today staging a mass busking session outside the BBC’s Glasgow HQ at Pacific Quay.
 
The Radio One show ‘Introducing in Scotland’, hosted by Ally Macrae, is facing the axe as part of the recently announced cut backs from the corporation.

The show which has introduced and featured a host of top Scottish acts – including Paolo Nutini and Biffy Clyro – is under threat as a part of the BBC’s Delivering Quality First plans announced last month.

The demonstration, which will take the form of a mass busking session, has been organised by Paul Downie, of music promoters Pelmet Nites, and the Scottish music blogger The Pop Cop.

The campaigners who have gathered a 6,000 strong petition claim to have backing from everyone on the Scottish music scene.

Mr Downie said: “We decided the best way to get the message across was to show the BBC what they could lose by getting some of Scotland’s best new talent to perform outside Pacific Quay.”

Former Times journalist and now SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has been at the forefront of the campaign and said: “If future generations are going to enjoy the same success as some of the great Scottish artists around now they need a break, and Introducing in Scotland is a great platform.

“To lose Introducing would put a hole in our music scene. The campaigners have my support and we met with the BBC earlier this week to highlight how important the programme is.

“The more public support the more chance we have of keeping Introducing in Scotland on our airwaves and I’d urge anyone who wants to hear the best of new Scotish music to support the campaign.”

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit, an indie band based in Selkirk, added: “I am 100% against the closure of BBC Introducing in Scotland.  I don’t know that there’s a single successful Scottish band out there that hasn’t been through the process of listening to the show, being on the show and using it as a platform for exposure.

“Losing Introducing in Scotland would be a travesty.  Just having the show threatened is a travesty. For a small country we have got a massive output of music and we need our own show to reflect that.”

BBC bosses are considering replacing the late night Scottish opt out with a UK wide show featuring bands from across the British Isles.  The effect of these changes would be to give unknown or new Scottish artists less air time as it must be shared with artists from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A BBC spokesman defended the plans and said that a merger with ‘BBC Introducing’ would cost five times less than continuing to run the show in its current format.