Who’s in here?

People always ask me, “What’s going to happen to 6 Music?”, as if perhaps, working there, I’m party to some insider information about the network’s fate. I’m afraid I have no such insight. We’re all just getting on with it.

We live in interesting times. For the best part of two years, I came off the 6 Music subs’ bench, and concentrated on trying to make a living from TV scriptwriting. It was during this time that Richard Herring and I started our podcast, in order to recreate the fun of my old Sunday radio show, which we both missed. In many ways, I’m grateful to have had that time away from 6 Music. Then, towards the end of last year, under new management, 6 Music started to offer me “deps” [pardon my jargon] for other presenters: George, Gideon, Steve, Jon Richardson, Cerys and, latterly Nemone. I was delighted to do so. And I found morale there at a much higher ebb than when I left in 2007. Lots of new blood, an inordinate amount of interns, but, reassuringly, plenty of production staff and second-tier management who’d been there the first time around, many promoted: it felt new and fresh, but familiar, too. I genuinely believed that the output had improved, both music and presentation, and I was happy to be back.

Ironic, then, that, having put in near-constant cover over Christmas and with a full New Year diary, I found myself suddently working for “the Doomed 6 Music”. The first leak in the Times pretty much chimed exactly with the start of me and Richard’s temporary, one-month-at-a-time takeover of the Adam & Joe show. Coincidence? Yes. Coincidence.

I don’t need to go over my feelings again about the BBC’s decision to shut the network down at a time when, literally, no other BBC station is catering for the broad church of listeners we’re catering for – suffice to say, it makes little sense to me, and little sense to the record industry, and, thanks to the flurry of protest and publicity, little sense to a broadening church of politicans and commentators and, yay, new listeners. You’ll have read that our online listening figures are up by 50% and that’s largely thanks – indirectly – to Mark Thompson and/or the next Prime Minister, whoever that may be, for the publicity drive. (If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might seriously entertain the “loss leader” theory. But I’m not, as you know. It’s just internal politics and paperwork.) As a presenter, I have to be careful what I say, but what I started this blog entry for was to simply state how much fun I’m currently having back on the radio: the sheer volume and sophistication and enthusiasm of the texts and emails is staggering.

I have been doing radio since the early 90s, when I made my first inroads with Stuart Maconie on the old Radio Five and then Radio 1. It was a heady time. And I’ve been learning on the job ever since. (I literally learned how to “drive the desk” when 6 Music piloted me, and it was Chris Hawkins who showed me the ropes!)  I’m still learning. But if there’s a better place to learn than 6 Music, I’d like to see it. I’d really like to see that.

It goes without saying, having a weekly national radio show with Richard Herring (Saturdays 10am-1pm) is the icing on the cake. For all your Collins & Herring/Collings & Herrin needs, please go to this website, or this one.

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12 thoughts on “Who’s in here?

  1. Aw, a lovely blog entry, Andrew.

    I didn’t think it was possible to “love” a radio station until I discovered 6music about five years ago. I’m not ashamed to admit I actually cried when I heard the news that management wanted to shut the station. It really feels like the listeners, presenters, producers et al are one big, happy family.

    Long live 6music.

  2. I’m sat on the floor of my student house eating a big pile of pancakes and listening to your show. this is the best day of my life. as was yesterday, the day before it and so on until 2001 when I dropped out of school aged just 14 and first flicked to 6music on my mums sky tv.

    yes, I’ve done other, perhaps more exciting stuff, taken my films to festivals all round the world, made a film for bbc writersroom, even had a crazy holiday romance with an american girl in Naples, but the thing I’m going to remember most when I’m old & recounting my youth is sitting on the floor, eating pancakes & listening to 6music. beautiful

  3. Last week, while attending to kitchen chores, I popped the DAB on to here Steve Lamacq. Within the space of 25 minutes I heard three records I knew I had to own. I hadn’t heard them before, including a 1995 Dodgy track, but immediately I was reaching for a scrap of paper to take down the details. That’s why I love 6Music. That and Andrew Collins continually springing some wonderful musical surprises. Long may it continue, preferably without Mr Lamb though.

  4. I feel similarly to Jocknroll above. I can turn on whenever and generally hear some tunes I have never heard before and then find myself looking for them on Itunes. The one that springs to mind is David Bowie’s Kooks which I heard on the A&J show one morning. I cant think of another station I would of heard that at 11am.

  5. If 6 music is so popular and a qaulity station why don’t the powers that be put it on FM. Not everyone has a digital radio at the moment.

    Perphaps those conspiracy theories you harbour may have some creedence.

  6. When I found 6Music I really felt like I had found my musical home, especially after the death of John Peel and the increased chart domination of Radio 1. Having you and Rich presenting on a Saturday is brightening up the start of my weekend. I loved Adam and Joe too but I’m enjoying hearing the two of you even more. It’s just great. I can’t think of any better way of saying it.

  7. I’ve honestly never felt as proud as when Adam & Joe read out and riffed on my ‘A Kneelin’ Ox’ text. 6Music must continue…

    Loving your Saturday morning slots – so much nicer when you don’t swear. As my nan would say.

  8. I live in Texas and I love 6 Music. It’s the only radio station that I listen to. (Praise from a non-license fee payer)

    I don’t know how the radio situation is in the UK, but I’m going to guess it’s similar – you have robot stations that play “hits” from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and now or stations that play the same 10 chart singles over and over. So listening to 6 Music at work is a treat. I was even considering getting satellite radio because I heard you could get BBC radio. But the only station they offer is Radio 1. So that’s why in my car, I listen to my iPod.

  9. I’ve eulogised and told ‘my’ 6music story. I mailed all the presenters and BAs I had on email with ‘my’ 6music story.

    The fact that a grown man, who really should know better, feels a connection with a radio station should tell someone something. They are missing out on a massive opportunity here. The internet is not a replacement for existing technology. Wise-up !

    On a related note… I’d love to present a radio show. Would anyone listen ? I doubt it. But I’d love to do it.

  10. What really baffles me is this talk of 6Music “overlapping” with commercial stations. Can anyone actually name any of these mythical commercial stations that are supposedly offering the same thing as 6Music – because I can’t find them. XFM? Q Radio? Not even close!

    Radio 3 and Classic FM however… plenty of “overlap” there – but they’d never dare close Radio 3!

  11. Well said, you are a lucky lucky man to do what you do. I will be sending my DAB to the DG the day after 6music goes silent. I hope it never comes to that, I need 6music in my house, it’s my lifeline to the music that woke me up to music from childhood onwards. An Ipod can be a lonely place, 6music at least allows us to share good music and banter that doesn’t involve all the defacating out of your mouth that goes on on the mainstream stations.

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