21
Jun 06

Stop Of The Pops

Do You SeePost a comment • 534 views

I feel very uncomfortable. VERY uncomfortable. I agree with Noel Edmonds. The BBC are making a massive mistake in axing Top Of The Pops. Perhaps I wouldn’t put it in such cold hard business terms as Edmonds, as just the loss of a brand. But having seen how easy that brand has been to adapt in, say, France – it really is a loss. But the BBC probably do not realise what the possible knock on effects will be.

Top Of The Pops, as a show, may not be packing them in like it used to. And much of that is due to the music television on demand. Nevertheless it was THE music chart show, and as such it lent far more legitimacy to the Official Radio One chart than just being on Radio One did. Radio One is a silly pop radio station, Top Of The Pops was on BBCTV, after the news, and as (shudder) Paul Gambacini says rightly, it was the News Of Pop. So its very existence lends a degree of legitimacy to pop music. Maybe pop music itself does not need this legitimacy, but the BBC does: if it wants to hold on Radio One and even Radio Two. By completely ditching pop to the commercial broadcasters, it is signing the death knell of Radio One. Again not necessarily a bad thing – but probably a bad thing for the BBC.

So yes, TOTP’s value is as a brand. But a brand that informs and influences much of what the BBC does. A brand that, unlike Grandstand, cannot continue without its own idiosyncrasies, its lousy presenters, its juxtaposition of music that surely nobody likes all of. Recently it has been over managed, tried to be cool, be about more than just the music and the shitty presenters. But in a mlti-channel environment everyone is hunting ratings, everyone is hunting recognition. As the BBC does not carry advertising, they need not be as ratings hungry. What they need to recognise is that there is value in owning a program that nobody watches, but everybody knows.

The BBC might as well axe its evening news for exactly the same reasons (the internet, rolling news channels). Keep Top Of The Pops on life support: it not only feeds future nostalgia shows but its existence justifies a large part of the BBC’s estate.

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