the media’s in a tizz about Thatcher song
Why Radio 1′s decision is the right one and why this is a storm in a BBC tea cup
Whatever you think of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy, none can deny it’s a divisive one as this inventive blog post from blogger Diamond Geezer wittily demonstrates.
The availability of a wealth of music tracks on iTunes and other music services means that Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead, a short track from the Wizard of Oz, has been purchased by more than a few people.
How many people? I asked
discount ray bans UK chart guru James Masterton how many songs it needs to be number one. In 2012, excluding the last two weeks of the year, he tells me the number one song sold, on average, 89,910 copies. It might not, of course, be number one: but it’s been in the top five for much of this week.
So, now that the song’s in the charts, the media’s in a tizz about whether it should be played in an entirely fabricated media storm.
First: the song’s already been played, of course at least, clips of it. Capital Birmingham played clips of it in the breakfast show on Tuesday, the day after Thatcher’s death, with Capital Manchester’s breakfast show, BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio 1 all playing
replica ray ban sunglasses clips on the Wednesday, and BBC World Service following up early on Thursday morning.
Second: the main media furore is about the BBC Radio 1 chart show. Yet, this show has 1.3m listeners; the commercial radio equivalent The Big Top 40 has a million more listeners (2.3m). Yet, nobody is questioning Global Radio, who run that chart show: in spite of it being much more relevant to many more people.
So, it’s mostly another media furore about the BBC, their joint sworn enemy. The last media storm managed to unseat a Director General, after all; and they’re even deliberately
cheap ray bans misleading readers in order to make a cheap shot about Huw Edwards’s tie, as I uncovered the other day.
The BBC are on a no win path here. By playing it in full, they risk upsetting Thatcher fans and accusations of being run by ‘lefties’. By not playing it at all, they risk accusations of government censorship and impartiality.
So it’s nice to see a sensible, rational decision by Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper. The song isn’t banned; nor will it be played in full: I’ve therefore decided exceptionally that we should treat the rise of the song, based as it is on a political campaign to denigrate Lady Thatcher’s memory, as a news story. So we will play a brief excerpt of it in a short news report during the show which explains to our audience why a 70 year old song is at the top of the charts.
Ben Cooper’s relatively new in the job: as is the new BBC Director General, Tony Hall. Hall has done the right thing by deferring the decision to Cooper: showing good leadership sense and faith in the Radio 1 management. In short, it’s a thoughtful decision, correctly handled. This shows great promise for the new management at the top of the BBC.
E mail James Cridland Visit James Cridland’s website Last updated April 15, 2013
18 commentsPage: 1 2 next Richard Horsman posted on Friday 12th April 2013 at 20:06
Absolutely agree Ben Cooper is caught between a rock and a hard place. Whatever he opts to do, he face protest.
Also agree absolutely that Tony Hall has done the right
cheap ray bans thing delegating the decision to station and service management.
But Ben claim that playing a few seconds of the track (probably excluding the title hook, according to his interview with Eddie Mair) will protestors the oxygen of publicity shows shocking naivety of how news works.
It a classic BBC fudge reminicent of a seventies furore over a Radio Times publicity picture for the Derek Jacobi dramatisation of Claudius
The picture showed, in the background, a topless female slave. The decision to publish or not was referred up and up until (eventually) it said a Governors committee had to rule on it. Their pronouncement? young lady may have one breast exposed, but certainly not both
I don know if the story is true or apocryphal but it survived because it illustrates perfectly a particular BBC way of thinking.
Cooper could and should make a rational case for banning the song on the grounds of taste and decency OR broadcast and be damned on the grounds that these are the tunes the punters bought this week . and the 1939 lyrics in themselves are innane, but inoffensive.
Either course of action would be more honest than playing it a short extract, without the bits and then getting a Newsbeat reporter to deliver a history lesson. The Beeb should grow a pair, make a decision and then be prepared to defend it.Articles Connexes：