'New music is key to what we do': Inside the revamped schedule at Music Week Awards winners 6 Music

'New music is key to what we do': Inside the revamped schedule at Music Week Awards winners 6 Music

BBC Radio 6 Music has been enjoying a run of success, not least of which is the digital station’s reclaiming of its Music Week Awards crown.

The alternative network won the Radio Station trophy at the Music Week Awards last month. Following wins for Radio 2 (2021) and Radio 1 (2022), 6 Music took the title for the first time since 2020.

Last year we marked the 20th anniversary of 6 Music with industry figures and station head Samantha Moy

BBC bosses had earmarked the station for closure back in 2010, but a backlash from listeners prompted a change of heart. Since then, the network has gone on to become the most popular digital radio station in the UK.

The Music Week Awards result was also timely as a new schedule launched this week, including New Music Fix in the 7-9pm slot, followed by 6 Music Artist In Residence at 9pm and the pairing of Marc Riley and Gideon Coe at 10pm.

New Music Fix, presented by Deb Grant and Tom Ravenscroft live from Salford, launched this week (June 5) with handpicked tracks by Bar Italia, Mura Masa, Johnny Greenwood, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ditz, Baxter Dury and Pip Blom & Alex Kapranos, alongside less familiar names. It also featured the duo’s favourite acts from Primavera Festival and Janelle Monáe as a tastemaker in the Hot Tip feature.

6 Music Artist In Residence launched in its new slot this week with a series of shows by The xx’s Romy, with themes including cover versions, favourite remixes and music for sleep and driving. 

The series, also available on BBC Sounds, previously aired in a late slot and has featured artists including Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoebe Bridgers, Jockstrap, St Vincent, and more.

6 Music was out in force at the Music Awards, including nominated presenter Jamz Supernova.

Here, in a backstage Music Week Awards interview, 6 Music assistant commissioner Camilla Pia talks new music, schedule changes and ratings success… 

Why do you think 6 Music was able to reclaim the Radio Station title this year?

“We’re just really thrilled to have it at all. We’ve got this amazing community of presenters, and we’ve got this amazing community of listeners. We’re all really passionate about what we do. All of the nominees were amazing. We’re just really proud well done to the whole team.”

We’ve got this amazing community of presenters and listeners

Camilla Pia

You have a new schedule including a nightly weekday show, New Music Fix. Is that important for the station? 

“Yeah, new music is really key to what we do. Obviously, we’ve had New Music Fix as a brand for a while on the network, but to put it in this new slot feels really good. Our support for new music is constant really, it’s on every show. We’re really happy about it.”

6 Music has seen ratings success in recent years. Following the 20th anniversary, does it feel like the station can grow further?

“We’re thrilled, we just posted really great RAJAR results, 2.71 million, so we feel really good and really buoyed. We’ve got an amazing team of presenters, amazing staff. We’re just excited to keep doing our thing.”

6 Music Festival this year featured acts including Christine And The Queens, Loyle Carner and Arlo Parks. How was it to be involved in that edition in Manchester? 

“Amazing, it was the first time we had done it in that way, we reformatted it. We created unique moments with fans across the weekend. It was unique as a broadcast event, we had Loyle Carner with a choir, Christine And The Queens debuting new material, Arlo Parks as well. It felt really good, very unique, and we were excited to be in Manchester as well.”

You also have the Artist In Residence moving to prime time at 9pm, what was the thinking there?

“It was just hugely successful, so we were like, let’s put it somewhere that it can reach more people. We’ve got a great line-up coming up. We’ve got Romy, who’s putting out a show now, and we’ve got Manic Street Preachers and Big Thief as well. So it feels like a really nice run of artists in that slot.”

Click here for all the winners at the Music Week Awards 2023.



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