Happy 10th Birthday 6music

Published on 11 March 2012 in , , , ,

It was the day that some of us feared would never happen. But it has. Today BBC Radio 6music has reached the age of ten and it’s going strong.

I’ve been listening to the station since day one – my first show being the mighty Gideon Coe who at that point was on the 10-1pm slot now occupied by Lauren Laverne. I didn’t have a DAB radio at the time so initially my listening was restricted to putting on the headphones at work.

I knew Gideon from his days on BBC GLR – another mighty station that the BBC didn’t quite know what to do with, and indeed another one they got rid of. I used to listen to his “Sport and music” Saturday afternoon which Gideon deservedly won a Sony award for. I say deservedly because anyone who can make me listen to a show that included lots of sport must be award worthy.

After Gid came Liz Kershaw’s lunch time shown, who remains at the station on Saturday afternoons and who is, frankly, a presenter I wish the station did more with. She’s fun, witty and interesting.

I must have taken off my headphones for lunch at some point, and I certainly had to part way through Andrew Collins’s excellent “Tea-time show” – a slot now occupied by Steve Lamacq who is, frankly, a presenter that just oozes 6music and who really should have been on the station from day 1.

In fact early 6music relied far more on ex-GLR and Radio 2 presenters than Radio 1 ones – besides Gideon Coe the launch lineup included Clare MacDonnell (who had a Saturday show), Sean Hughes (Sundays), Phill Jupitus (breakfasts) and Tracey MacLeod (Sunday mornings). From Radio 2 there was Bob Harris and Janice Long.

It took about six months before someone decided Lammo would be ideal for the station, with him taking on the Saturday morning show. Another renegade from Radio 1 turned up in 2004 in the form of one half of Mark and Lard. I vividly remember the first Marc Riley show with an incredibly nervous sounding former sidekick who had rarely ever presented a show by himself before. It didn’t take him long to find his voice and now Riley’s evening show is a fantastic listen as a I chop veg and make tea.

It’s opened my ears to so much music; music I’d probably never hear otherwise. How many stations have played 1930s jug music as Cerys Matthews has a habit of doing? And how often will you hear John Betjeman’s wonderful poetry set to music as Gideon Coe loves playing.

And then there’s the new music. So much new music that rests in my collection thanks to the station. And some older ones too. Had it not been for 6music I probably wouldn’t own albums by the Who or the Clash.

Before 6music came along I’d pretty much given up on music radio. I was still doing my best to catch those few shows on Radio 1 that hit the spot (Mark and Lard and John Peel mostly) but I was listening more and more to Five Live and (later) Radio 4. I knew that one day there wouldn’t be anything left for me on Radio 1 and that some day I’d have to go elsewhere. My knowledge of music was going down the pan.

6music came along just at the right time. And I’m glad it did. It’s been a roller coaster ride of a ten years as the station found its feet, wobbled a bit then seemed destined for closure.

But now 6music’s a station going from strength to strength. A bold, confident sounding station with an amazing array of presenters who live, love and breathe music. It’s an intelligent station, likened by some as the rock music’s version of Radio 3. It’s a national treasure.

Happy 10th Birthday BBC Radio 6music. Here’s to many more.