Jeff Smith, Head of Music BBC Radio 2 : Stop the cuts affecting the BBC Big Band.
  • Petitioning Jeff Smith

This petition will be delivered to:

Head of Music BBC Radio2
Jeff Smith
Controller, BBC Radio2
Bob Shennan
Head of Programmes BBC Radio2
Lewis Carnie
Acting Head of Programmes BBC Radio2
Paul Rodgers

Jeff Smith, Head of Music BBC Radio 2 : Stop the cuts affecting the BBC Big Band.

    1. Ewan Mains
    2. Petition by

      Ewan Mains

      Kilmarnock, United Kingdom

The BBC Big Band is a national institution and has been for the last 48 years - they have been the inspiration for musicians all over the world and are the epitome of a world class band. The radio programme "Big band special" is being cut and the maida vale sessions are being cut to 20% of what they currently do!! A cut of 80%. We are petitioning that these cuts do not go ahead. 

Jeff Smith, Head of Music BBC Radio2
Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Radio2
Lewis Carnie, Head of Programmes BBC Radio2
Paul Rodgers, Acting Head of Programmes BBC Radio2
Stop the cuts affecting the BBC Big Band.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. OFFICIAL BBC BigBand Website launch

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Hello everyone,
      I just thought I would update you all on the petition and some fresh news on the BBC Big Band.
      The BBC Big Band now have their very own official website and Twitter. I personally think this is a huge step forward for the band and it's followers as well as a sign of faith in the band from the BBC. The site will launch at 9am (GMT) on Wednesday 18th June and will be be a 'hub' where you can catch up with news on the band as well as any dates they are playing live concerts and broadcasts.
      The new site is at and you can follow them now on Twitter @BBCBigBand.
      Huge thanks to Bob MacDowall for allowing me to post this ahead of the launch.
      Hopefully this is a huge positive step forward in increasing the public profile of the band and big band music in general.
      Once again, thank you for all your signatures, messages and efforts in helping to keep music live.
      Take Care
      Ewan x

    2. Reached 6,000 signatures
    3. Website Launch

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Just launched the website Please share it!

    4. Reached 4,000 signatures
    5. continued...

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      that is not the same thing as being either sensitive, or commercial, or both.

      If the musicians of the BBC Big Band are indeed freelancers, then there is no contractual reason either why the overall cut to budget cannot be disclosed.

      I do appreciate that you have difficult budgetary decisions to make, but I would suggest that a failure to be transparent over the reasons behind a decision to cut back on original, creative output is unlikely to inspire confidence in the BBC among licence fee payers and audiences.

      Yours sincerely,

      Rob Wilson MP

      Rob Wilson MP
      Member of Parliament for Reading East
      Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP.

    6. Email from Rob to Lewis

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Here's Rob's response.

      "---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: WILSON, Rob <>
      Date: Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 2:42 PM
      Subject: RE: BBC Radio 2
      To: Lewis Carnie-Private <>

      Dear Mr Carnie,

      Thank you very much for your response to my recent email.

      I do appreciate your invitation to Friday Night is Music Night, and the efforts you have outlined both to maintain the amount of Big Band music broadcast by the BBC and to help support the future of the BBC Big Band.

      However, I am surprised to learn that the BBC considers that the budget for the Big Band’s activities to be commercially sensitive. The BBC is not a commercial organisation, it is a public one. Given recent revelations about the misuse of significant amounts of money involving some of those at the top of the Corporation, details about the exact monetary cuts to the budget for the BBC Big Band’s recording sessions may be embarrassing and rather awkward for the BBC, but that

    7. continued...

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      will continue to use the BBC Big Band for special concerts and sessions, and members of the BBC Big Band will still be featured in the extended Sunday evening show presented by Clare Teal. It is also worth mentioning that the band – which is comprised of a group of freelance commercial artists - can continue to call themselves the BBC Big Band and, as such, continue their commercial performing work under this banner.

      And BBC Radio 2 remains committed to broadcasting live music within a variety of shows across the station, including Chris Evans Breakfast Show, Bob Harris, Jamie Cullum, In Concert and Friday Night is Music Night. And I would like to invite you to join us at a forthcoming Friday Night Is Music Night as we have some fantastic specials coming up.

      Yours sincerely,

      Lewis Carnie.

      Head of Programmes

      BBC Radio 2

      Western House

      99 Gt Portland Street


      W1A 1AA

    8. Email from Lewis Carnie to MP Rob Wilson...

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Ok - Email #1 from Lewis Carnie replying to Rob about his concerns in the cuts.

      "From: Lewis Carnie-Private []
      Sent: 17 September 2013 18:18
      To: WILSON, Rob
      Subject: BBC Radio 2

      Dear Mr Wilson

      Thank you for your recent email.

      As a consequence of the licence fee settlement which means we have to find savings of 16% in our budgets, we have had to make some difficult choices in terms of which content we prioritise for investment.

      We are aware that Big Band music is popular with our audience and we remain very committed to the genre. On Sunday nights, we are giving our audience an extended two hour session of the tunes they love from the broadest range of Big Band music. This show will be presented by Big Band aficionado Clare Teal.

      Due to the sensitive commercial nature of our budgets, I’m afraid I am unable to go in to detail about the exact monetary cuts and savings that will be made.

      Please rest assured, though, that where possible we wil

    9. Update#1

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      I've got some correspondence here from MP Rob Wilson and Lewis Carnie (the man behind the cuts) which I've been allowed to share with you all.

    10. Video from Pete Cater

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Gret video from Pete Cater - an audience chanting 'Keep bigband music on the BBC" Great stuff!

    11. #Save theBBCBigBand trending on twitter

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Tweeters - please end your tweets - lets get this trending!
      #Save theBBCBigBand

    12. Reached 3,000 signatures
    13. Incorporated Society of Musicians.

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Delighted to announce the full support of the ISM in backing this petition.

    14. Email Lewis Carnie!

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      It appears that the decision to cut the band and show has come from none other that Lewis Carnie - Head of Programming for BBC Radio2. Feel free to write/telephone/email him your views on the subject!
      Room 607
      Henry Wood House
      3-6 Langham Place
      W1B 3DF
      tel: (020) 7765 3493

    15. Messages of Support

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Had some great messages of support from some major names including Peter Erskine, Wayne Bergeron, Arturo Sandoval, Roger Ingram, Gordon Goodwin, Martin Taylor and many more.

    16. MU Prelim statement..

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      The MU have issued a prelim statement 'deploring' the decision. Still no official statement from BBC.

    17. Reached 2,500 signatures
    18. Another day, another 1000 signatures.

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      I honestly had no idea how this would go. To get 2,213 signatures in 48 hours just shows how passionate people are about arts cuts - especially when then come from a public corporation trying to act like a PLC. WE own the BBC - WE will do everything in our power to change their mind on this.

      You are all amazing people. Thank you.

      Ewan x

    19. Reached 2,000 signatures
    20. Invites...

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      Just invited arts editors at all the major newspapers to join in.

    21. 1500!

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      1500 signatures in 24 hours. 500 in the last 4 hours. Well done everyone - keep spreading the word!

    22. Reached 1,500 signatures
    23. Tweets being removed

      Ewan Mains
      Petition organiser

      @BBCRadio2 are removing our tweets. Nice one - great subjectivity.


    Reasons for signing

    • steve macken BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 4 days ago

      I am a songwriter and have used the big band for some (not all) of my inspiration, the band has been a great help to me

    • steven mcmillan GREENOCK, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 10 days ago

      big bands should never be 4gotton

      • 20 days ago

      Having seen this band last night I cannot conceive why the BBC stopped the big band specials. This is the best band so its type in the country. To my mind this is the best type of music and without airing on radio and tv it will die. Bear in mind that young people when exposed to this music, do like it.

      • 21 days ago

      Cuts to the Arts affect my lively hood

      • 22 days ago

      As a big band musician myself I feel it is of paramount importance to maintain and keep alive this wonderful flagship band representing a genre of the music industry that struggles to keep going against all styles of music. A very short sighted move if it is cut.


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