legendary 'On The Wire' BBC music radio show in danger- join the campaign to save itlegendary 'On The Wire' BBC music radio show in danger- join the campaign to save it
legendary 'On The Wire' BBC music radio show in danger- join the campaign to save it

‘On the Wire’ is the legendary radio show on Radio Lancashire hosted by Steve Barker.

legendary 'On The Wire' BBC music radio show in danger- join the campaign to save itlegendary 'On The Wire' BBC music radio show in danger- join the campaign to save it
legendary 'On The Wire' BBC music radio show in danger- join the campaign to save it

Considered by many as the best radio show in the UK and equal to the great John Peel in its eclectic nature it has a whole series of musical firsts in its history. It was at the forefront of playing dub, noise, reggae, On U sound system and a big supporter of hip hop, leftfield and upcoming North West bands.

In the bland and corporate UK of the 21st century where the words ‘alternative radio’ have been kidnapped a show like this is ripe for the cull. And that looks likely with news that we could be losing the show that has lasted over two decades.


On the ‘On The Wire’ site last week the news has shocked listeners into a massive amount of messages of support and copies of emails have been sent to the BBC Trust’

We were sent this statement from the On The Wire team and we urge you to listen and act on this piece of cultural vandalism, and stop them from stealing another tiny piece of radio where music actually matters and is not some bland shite grudgingly put on between inane DJ babble.

‘…On behalf of the On the Wire team we would be most appreciative if you could take a few minutes to let your feelings be known and also forward this message to others who may be interested…’

The Future of On the Wire

Everyone has heard about the cuts that are about to be made by the BBC
in the “Drive for Quality” initiative. What is not so well known is how these cuts will impact the specialist shows hosted local radio. Effectively there will be no “local radio” after seven o’clock in the evening. Shows will be shared between groups of stations. In the North West this group will be the Lancashire, Manchester and Merseyside stations. At this stage it is understood that BBC Radio Lancashire will only be responsible for shared programming on a Sunday afternoon. The high probability is that any output in this slot will be in an “easy listening” format. Therefore,sometime between now and April 2013, by which time all the agreed changes will be implemented, On the Wire will disappear from the airwaves after over twenty eight years of continuous broadcasting.

The proposals are subject to public consultation by the BBC Trust – so you can have your say and, hopefully,make a difference. Go to this website and look for the “consultation” button or write to Lord Patten, Chairman, BBC Trust, 180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ. You could also write to your MP and local paper.

Failing all this being successful, we will be aiming for On the Wire to continue one way or another, preferably still within the BBC where the programme was identified as a unique BBC product by the BBC Board back in November 1991 when the show was last under threat.

Thanks for your support
The On the Wire team of Steve Barker, Jim Ingham and Michael Fenton

Dear Chairman

It is with immense dismay that I hear the proposed cutbacks to BBC local radio threaten one of the jewels in the BBC crown among specialist radio programming. For nearly three decades, BBC Radio Lancashire’s ON THE WIRE program has been at the vanguard of promoting innovative and important music from around the world, becoming a program of great significance to a huge number of listeners and artists. ON THE WIRE is the kind of program all
public broadcasters should be proud to produce, and it is to be hoped that the BBC will be wise enough not to allow another unique BBC tradition to fall victim to a philistine economic rationalism. The listeners of ON THE WIRE implore you to intervene to secure the program’s future for further generations of music lovers.

Thank you.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. This is madness. Surely the decision makers know what they have on their hands with On The Wire? It’s not an accident that something lasts 28 years, and some number cruncher could probably prove that a programme like this results over time in a boost to the national economy (as putting the case in monetary terms is the only thing that seems to matter)because ‘unusual’ bands get a chance, an airing and so continue to make music, maybe providing employment for technicians, record store staff, venue staff etc etc.

    Meanwhile the music lovers get what we want: innovative music.

  2. […] music shows under the guise of a ‘Drive for quality’ – we focussed on the proposed cull of BBC Radio Lancashire’s “On The Wire” hosted by Steve […]


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