Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Why closing BBC 6 Music is a bad thing

Today it’s been announced that the BBC plans to close 6Music, its digital-only radio station. This is a bad thing.
While I admit I now rarely listen to the radio and prefer my own music collection or streaming services like Spotify, BBC 6Music sat comfortably between Radio 1 and Radio 2. If you’re in your mid-20s like me you may find that the music on Radio 1 caters for a younger audience, but you still feel too young to listen to Radio 2. 6Music fits nicely in the middle between the 2.
But perhaps more importantly is 6Music’s status as a digital-only station. It’s not available on FM or medium wave, and is only broadcast on DAB, digital TV and online. The roll-out of DAB hasn’t had many successes and the loss of 6Music, along with BBC Asian Network, another DAB-only station, may make the case for moving to DAB even less compelling. This in stark contrast to DVB-T for television, where large areas of the country have fully switched over from analogue services. DAB may have technical flaws (low bitrates, outdated encoders, poor signal coverage) and the units are still rather expensive and have poor battery life, but at least there’s a greater range of radio stations than on FM/MW. If these 2 BBC stations go away, DAB will look even less like a good proposition and I would expect other stations to close as well.

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