The BBC has received almost 8,000 complaints about the plan to close digital radio station 6 Music.
The modern rock and alternative network will be closed by the end of 2011, along with the Asian Network, as part of the publicly-funded broadcasters strategic review.
As well as the complaints direct to the BBC, reported today (March 12) by the Guardian, a Facebook campaign to save the station has 158,000 members. The group organizers are to stage a protest at BBC Broadcasting House in central London at 12 noon on March 27.
Listeners who want the station to be saved are being urged to take part in the online public consultation being held by the BBC Trust, the BBC's governing body, which runs until May 25.
Artists, presenters and the music industry have voiced their anger at the proposals, and a 'Save 6 Music' concert was staged at London's Proud Camden on March 10, featuring Kitty Daisy and Lewis and Master Shortie. Some in the industry have speculated on further, bigger shows to raise awareness about the closure plan.
Alternative folk artist Laura Marling, who releases her new album "I Speak Because I Can" (Virgin) in the U.K. March 22, tells Billboard.biz the closure proposal is "bizarre."
Marling says the station has helped her and acts such as Mumford & Sons, a band with which she has performed, along with many new U.K. artists to reach an audience early in their career. BBC 6 Music is also supporting her new album with lead single "Devil's Spoke" on the playlist.
"It's important for almost every genre of music," says Marling of 6 Music. "It's a very important radio station, I'm so surprised at what they're doing."
Part of the BBC's remit includes provision of outlets for new U.K. music. When Billboard.biz put this to Thompson at the March 2 press conference for the strategic review, he responded: "We will have in [national top 40 station] Radio 1 and [AC network] Radio 2 two popular music U.K.-wide radio stations, and those are the platforms we are going to use in the future to cover as broad a range of popular music and as broad a range of great popular music talent that we can."
See the new issue of Billboard for more about the music industry's campaign to save 6 Music.