Leeds Conservatoire Backs Campaign to Save BBC Introducing

By Gemma Cross

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A group of organisations that represent key stakeholders in the live music industry wrote an open letter to express “grave concerns” about the current uncertainty surrounding the future of BBC Introducing, amid cuts to local stations.

In the letter to Richard Sharp, Chair of the BBC Board, representatives asked for “urgent assurance” that BBC Introducing would be protected, noting that it “has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country.”

Signatories on the letter include Mark Davyd of Music Venue Trust, Nathan Clark of the Association of Independent Promoters (who runs Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club) and Silvia Montello of the Association of Independent Music.

Read the full letter to Richard Sharp, Chair of the BBC Board.

As an institution, Leeds Conservatoire backs the campaign to save BBC Introducing, acknowledging its vital role in the grassroots sector and enabling a diverse range of artists to be heard.

Professor Joe Wilson, Principal at Leeds Conservatoire, said, “It is disheartening to hear that local BBC Introducing shows are under threat. Local presenters know the local music scene inside out, and are a vital support to emerging talent.”

Students and alumni, many of whom have been championed by BBC Introducing, are also backing the campaign. For example, in this NME article, Lewis Whiting from graduate band English Teacher, whose members studied Music Production and Popular Music, shared how the continued support from BBC Introducing has been invaluable:

“It’s the main thing local bands strive for: you can see that, from the past, local BBC Introducing airplay has produced results and made bands’ careers more tangible. It gave us a future.”

Lily Fontaine from the band described their relationship with Emily Pilbeam, who has been presenting the BBC Introducing slot in West Yorkshire for three years:

Local BBC Introducing DJs form a continued relationship with the artists that they play. [Emily] Pilbeam has been there since day one, and has always gone to our shows and offered us DJ sets.

“If [the BBC] merge different local shows together, which is what I think they’re planning to do, then someone like Emily wouldn’t be able to give as much attention to new bands if they’re from a large region such as Yorkshire; each individual band would get less attention, and in turn, be given less opportunities. The current system is democratic. Without it, we would lose the community feel of working with BBC Introducing.”

A key part of BBC Introducing is sharing local artists’ success stories with listeners and inspiring the next generation of musicians. Pilbeam was part of the first team to listen to Yard Act, via the BBC Introducing website in early 2020, two years before they released their debut album which reached number two in the UK Album Chart.

Recently the band, fronted by Music Production graduate James Smith, tweeted that “not only do BBC Introducing support and promote new artists, they also train the future workers of the radio industry. Regional diversity is integral to balance within the industry. Removing local shows presents less opportunities for local voices to break through nationally.”

Little Planets. Photo Via Little Planets Website

Little Planets, who graduated from Leeds Conservatoire in 2022. One of the artists showing support to save BBC Introducing. Photo via Little Planets website

Popular Music alumni Little Planets reinforced the call to both listeners and artists who have discovered great music and/or enjoyed support from one of the local BBC Introducing shows to say so via Fresh On The Net. The band tweeted, “Be sure to fill this in!!! BBC Introducing is so important for artists like us – would be so sad to see anything happen to it.”

In addition, third year Music Production student Mollie Coddled, shared on Twitter that “BBC Introducing is SO VALUABLE! Getting rid of something which not only supports and inspires young creatives but adds so much culture to our society would be a crime!”

Support by sharing your experience of local BBC Introducing shows, as an artist or listener, via Fresh On The Net

By Gemma Cross

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