6 Music Saved

The BBC Trust’s decision to reject the corporation’s plans to shut radio station 6 Music has won immediate support from the UK’s record companies.

British Phonographic Industry chief exec Geoff Taylor said it supported his organisation’s belief that 6 Music makes “a unique contribution to the UK’s cultural life.”

The Association of Independent Music, which represents 800 UK record labels, described the trust’s decision as “a victory for common sense.”

Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said that the case for the closure of 6 Music, one of a number of cost-cutting plans suggested by BBC director general Mark Thompson, had not been made.

He said the BBC Trust, which represents the interests of license-fee payers, would consider closing 6 Music only as part of a wider strategy on the future of digital radio.

A high-profile campaign to save 6 Music began in March, after the BBC set up a strategic review of its services. Apart from the BPI and AIM, artists including David Bowie, Lily Allen, Damon Albarn and Coldplay protested the closure of 6 Music.

The campaign also drew strong support from the public as the station’s audience has risen from 600,000 to 1 million since the proposed cuts were announced.

Of the 40,000 who commented on the strategic review, 78 percent said they were opposed to 6 Music closing.

The station costs £9.5 million a year to run, about 1.6 percent of the BBC’s budget, and Lyons has indicated he wants to see a brake on pay increases for its top execs. Thompson declined to comment on whether it’s true that 117 BBC execs are paid more than the £187,000 annual salary the prime minister receives.

The trust accepted plans to close the Asian Network, cut 25 percent of the online budget and close teen service Blast!