On Wednesday BBC Scotland announced that it would be removing Mary Ann Kennedy’s Tuesday Global Gathering radio show from its scheduling – a shock decision that has been met with mounting anger and protest.
Through various incarnations, including Celtic Connections, the show has been permeating the airwaves with a vast array of world and traditional music for the last 20 years. Promoting folk, roots and world music with a constant underlying Scottish edge, the programme has provided a platform for many artists including Martyn Bennett, Shooglenifty and the Treacherous Orchestra.
Replacing the show with the revamped classical music orientated show Classics Unwrapped, much of the protest centres on BBC Scotland completely misjudging current Scottish culture and public demand. Boss of Glasgow’s biggest music festival Celtic Connections, Donald Shaw proclaimed yesterday:
‘Another window to the world of great living music closes. BBC Radio Scotland is supposed to be developing and supporting culturally distinctive programming.’
As a publicly financed institution, one would assume that producing shows that attempt to promote a wider range of musical styles and cultures must be a primary aim for the BBC. Yet this move can only be construed as a regressive step for eclectic programming and choice. A spokesperson for BBC Scotland defended the move – ‘the station will continue to offer distinctive music across its evening schedule and is committed to promoting new music and Scottish artists within these programmes.’ Does taking one of the leading advocates of these genres off the air in exchange for a classical music programme really justify this statement?
Mary Ann Kennedy, a successful singer, producer and veteran broadcaster in her own right has declined to comment further on BBC’s decision yet stated:
‘It’s a privilege to present a show that sits at the crossroads of Scotland’s inspiring musical creativity and cultural diversity at a time when Scots musicians command respect and admiration from right across the spectrum of global roots music.’
Support for Mary and protecting the ethos of Global Gathering is rapidly gathering pace with the creation of a petition against the choice to remove the show and a Facebook page – Friends of Mary Ann Kennedy’s Global Gathering
Join Songlines in showing your support!