I can’t remember exactly when or why I started listening to BBC 6 music. What I do know is that I can honestly say its the been the biggest influence on my life music wise for many a long year.
Honestly, every day I listen to it something catches my attention and I’m constantly looking at the ‘now playing’ facility on my digital radio to find out who I’m listening to. I’ve got into so many bands thanks to this station and my life is richer for listening to it.
I couldn’t go back to mainstream radio, I couldn’t listen to Radio 1 now when I used to be addicted to it when I was a kid. There really wasn’t much choice and I used to be there on a Sunday, fanatically taping the chart rundown on my little cassette recorder (google cassette recorder if I’m speaking another language). It was a fine art trying like mad to stop the tape at the end of the track before Alan Freeman started talking again!
Mainstream radio is well, too mainstream for me. There is a time and place for the stuff they play but for me, I get my kicks on BBC Radio 6.
The breadth of genres is astounding; Cerys Matthews on her Sunday show playing everything from bluegrass to Guatemalan banjo bands, Stuart Maconie and his freakier zone play all sorts of weird shit to the very wonderful Iggy Pop shoving anything on that he fancies, but lately it seems he’s in love with the Sleaford Mods…and why wouldn’t you be?
You’ve got Steve Lamacq kicking off the evening from 4pm, leading into the usually eardrum-splittingly loud (what do you mean I can turn the radio down?) Marc Riley from 7pm showcasing old and new music, with his favourite established and up and coming bands playing live.
On Saturday morning, I can wake up to the dreamy voice of the very lovely Mary Ann Hobbs. Her gentle enthusiasm is infectious and her way of getting the best out of her guests on the show (listen and learn Lauren Laverne) are a joy to listen to. I used to tweet her every Saturday and she always replied but I’ve stopped now – don’t want a restraining order do I?
Next up is the man with that voice – Huey Morgan. His voice is amazing, I could listen to him reading the warning on a packet of paracetamol and still be smiling. If Jack Daniels had sound it would sound like Huey! He plays some seriously amazing music. When Huey isn’t around its usually down to Katie Puckrik to spin the discs…well push the buttons! I love Katie, she’s American, she’s rude and has a wicked sense of humour and she replies when you tweet her, which always make you feel special.
A little while ago there was talk about the powers that be closing down BBC 6 music, there was outrage, there were petitions and tweets and a general outpouring of emotion that eventually led to the station being saved. Thank god for that say I and long may it stay with us.
It’s not only a radio show, there lots of spin offs such as the very popular 6 music festival; the show goes to various city’s putting on live music and showcasing bands both familiar and not so well known.
There’s also TV shows – Guy Garvey’s Music Box and Marc Riley’s show All Shook Up and the brilliant documentary Music for Misfits recently hosted by Mark Radcliffe.
The station has developed a cult following with many ‘celebrities’ and musicians forming an orderly queue to host a show. It has also had it’s critics with the Mercury Music prize being a bone of contention for some people who think it’s elitist and not really for the ‘people.’
I say bollocks to that, I love it, and I urge you to give it a go if you haven’t tried it yet. If you’re a Radio 1 or Heart FM fan it might be a bit like Marmite for you…….but I LOVE Marmite!