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Music Industry Bodies Call For BBC Introducing Shows To Be Saved
Christian Eede , January 18th, 2023 19:10

Local BBC radio shows dedicated to highlighting upcoming artists are reportedly set to be scaled back

UK music industry figures and organisations have expressed concerns at reports that BBC Introducing, the BBC platform which aims to highlight the work of new and upcoming artists, is set to be significantly scaled back.

As The Guardian reports, a source has said that the BBC aims to "rationalise" BBC Introducing, with a two-thirds reduction in the number of local radio shows under the banner. The cutbacks, which are being carried out as the BBC aims to find savings across its operations, will mean that the remaining BBC Introducing shows on local radio will air across larger regional boundaries. Critics of those plans have said this will increase competition across shows and reduce the amount of airtime available to individual new artists.

The heads of 13 music industry bodies, including the Music Venue Trust and Association of Independent Music, have written a letter to the BBC's chairman Richard Sharp expressing their worries that BBC Introducing "may be under threat as a result of wider cuts to the BBC's network of local radio stations."

The letter reads: "We want to impress on you very strongly that this would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector. New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities.

"BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country. Whatever reorganisation might be required to meet the demands of the future stability and viability of the BBC, it should not be the case that BBC Introducing is the unintended victim of those changes."

In response, a BBC spokesperson said: "Our new local radio schedules will be announced in due course but they will not compromise the essence of BBC Introducing. We're committed to maintaining dedicated support for discovering and sharing the work of new talent at each of our 39 local radio stations. Local radio will continue to celebrate local artists and be an entry point for talent.

"We need to acknowledge the changing listening habits of audiences and the intention is to reach even more people. Every local radio station has a place on BBC Sounds which has a fixed Introducing slot featuring prominently with more content than radio schedules could ever accommodate. We also regularly feature Introducing tracks and artists on breakfast shows and that will continue too."

Launched in 2007, BBC Introducing has helped to develop the careers of a number of now well-established UK musicians, including Little Simz, Ed Sheeran and Florence And The Machine, via dedicated radio shows across the BBC's various national and local radio stations.