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BBC death knell on big bands

It appears that the BBC have dropped the axe on big banding — so could brass bands be next for the radio chop?

Whit Friday

 

If you think brass bands are having a hard time of it trying to get airtime on the BBC, then unfortunately we are not alone.

Axe

It has been reported recently that the BBC Big Band has been taken under the wing of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra—perhaps linked in some way to the news that the BBC has decided to axe British Dance bands from their regular Radio 2 spot at 10.00pm on Sunday nights.

Brass band connection

Strangely the decision seems to have been taken by a producer well known to the brass band fraternity—Bob McDowall, who many people will remember as a former producer on Listen to the Band a few years back.

"…this uniquely British music is gone from the airwaves—thousands of listeners are bereft and there appear to be no plans to feature it elsewhere on the BBC. Shame on the BBC!Michael Bennett-Law

Recent report

A recent report in the Guardian newspaper (Media Guardian 15th December) highlighted that the decision seems to have been taken with no public consultation (if true, something that could in turn have dire consequences if the great and good at Auntie decide brass bands are no longer as worthwhile as ‘Celebrity Come Dancing on Ice’ etc).

Heyday

Although the report did state that British dance bands were in their heyday between 1925 and 1939 and at the time millions of people listened to them on radio, those days were now over, although the programme still had a very loyal and committed fan base.

Sound familiar?

No future plans

It did for the writer, Michael Bennett-Law from Kent who berated the BBC: "Thanks to an arbitrary and arrogant decision by a BBC Producer," he wrote "…this uniquely British music is gone from the airwaves—thousands of listeners are bereft and there appear to be no plans to feature it elsewhere on the BBC. Shame on the BBC!"

Could brass bands be next in line on the BBC scaffold….?



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Alan Fernie

DRSAM, Dip.NCOS
Arranger, composer, adjudicator, conductor