Cuts not about “politics” but about focussing on quality, says BBC boss

The BBC says its plan to cut radio and digital services is not motivated by political pressure but about offering more opportunities to its commercial rivals.

Lauren Laverne 6Music

The BBC says its plan to cut radio and digital services is not motivated by political pressure but about offering more opportunities to its commercial rivals.

The corporation is expected to unveil a series of proposals later today (2 March) aimed at “putting quality first”. Changes include shutting radio stations 6Music, which features presenter Lauren Laverne (pictured), and the Asian Network and reducing the size of its website by half.

The cuts are said to have been the result of pressure from the Conservative Party, which has called on the BBC to curb its spending.

However, BBC director general, Mark Thompson says the changes are “not a piece of politics”.

Writing in the Guardian today, Thompson adds the changes are not a “blueprint for a small BBC, or a BBC that is a retreat from digital” but about delivering services of “outstanding quality”. To this end, the corporation is also expected to announce plans to invest £600m a year into quality programming.

The BBC has come under fire from critics over the salaries of its executives and presenters such as Jonathan Ross. Commercial rivals have also questioned the role of its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.

Thompson says the corporation’s commercial activity “should help fund and actively support the BBC’s public mission, and never distort or supplant that mission”.

“The BBC should not attempt to do everything. It must listen to legitimate concerns from commercial media players more carefully than it has in the past, and act sooner to meet them. It needs the confidence and clarity to stop as well as to start doing things,” he adds.

Reports that 6Music is facing the axe have led to a backlash from the station’s listeners. More than 70,000 have joined a Facebook group demanding the digital-only station be saved.

Absolute Radio has expressed an interest in buying the 6Music brand and network if it should be axed.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here