The BBC has announced that 20 BBC Introducing programmes will be broadcast across its regional stations, as part of a reorganisation of local services.
In a statement issued today, the BBC said it will “continue to celebrate local music across England with fresh plans for BBC Introducing on local radio and BBC Sounds”.
It follows a campaign launched last month, which saw Music industry trade bodies unite to express their concern about the impact on new music resulting from the BBC’s modernisation programme.
Under the proposals announced last year, it was understood that 32 regional Introducing shows across England and the Channel Islands could be cut to 11. Although the BBC gave assurances about “giving more prominence to new music”, there were concerns about the future of Introducing as an effective nationwide on-air incubator for talent.
BBC Music Introducing presenters had taken to social media urging listeners to voice their support for the shows, which champion new acts discovered via the Uploader tool. The Introducing platform, which launched in 2007, has given early exposure to acts such as Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine, Lewis Capaldi, George Ezra and Little Simz.
Acts including Field Music, Sea Girls, The Howlers, Yard Act and more called for the network of BBC Introducing shows to be saved.
The BBC has today (February 3) announced that 20 new BBC Introducing programmes will be broadcast across the BBC’s 39 local stations each week. It has not yet named the line-up of shows.
While the number of shows has been cut from 32, the BBC points out that, for the first time, the Introducing shows will be broadcast twice a week (Thursday and Saturday evenings) “giving up-and-coming musicians a bigger platform and audience than ever before”.
The Introducing shows on local BBC stations play an important part in supporting new talent – and will continue to do so
“All 39 bases up and down the country will retain music expertise on site to support the production of the programmes and bring in new talent,” added the statement. “New bands and artists will also prominently feature in the new ‘Local to me’ section on BBC Sounds, so people can easily find the latest new music where they live on demand.”
In addition, an Introducing Artist Of The Week will feature on all 39 local stations with featured tracks getting peaktime airplay.
Chris Burns, controller of local audio commissioning, said: “The Introducing shows on local BBC stations play an important part in supporting new talent – and will continue to do so – but we know more people are turning to BBC Sounds to listen and we want to do more on there and in our peak daytime schedules to showcase new talent.”
The BBC has not outlined the overall effect on staffing as a result of the modernisation plans. New roles will be created across all 39 local bases to produce on-demand audio for BBC Sounds. BBC Music has 11 apprentices in post across England.
“Overall investment in local services is being maintained but changes have to be made to adapt to audience needs and strike the best possible balance between live and on-demand services,” said the statement.
BBC Introducing shows across England are supplemented by programmes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and on the BBC’s UK national networks such as Radio 1, 6 Music, 1Xtra and Asian Network.
While local radio runs the weekly Introducing shows and their format, BBC Introducing is managed by BBC Music. As well as broadcast opportunities on radio and TV, BBC Music supports new artists to perform at major festivals.