SCOTTISH musicians and politicians from across the political spectrum have joined in a major online campaign to save the Janice Forsyth radio show after it was revealed that BBC Scotlandis to axe it.
A storm of protest built up over the weekend on Twitter and Facebook, which saw the likes of former Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins, crime writer Ian Rankin and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon come together to castigate the BBC for its decision and demand that it change its mind.
Collins, was among the first to post his opposition to the move when the story broke: “A message to BBC Radio Scotland, re Ms Janice Forsyth. [She is a] Jewel in your crown. It’s not too late to change your mind. This is daft.”
A Twitter storm developed over the weekend as hundreds of outraged listeners made their feelings known.
Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos, a past guest host on the show, wrote: “She’s the best thing on Scottish radio you fools!”, while Ms Sturgeon added: “How can BBC Radio Scotland even think about axing the brilliant Janice Forsyth show? They should change their minds.”
Labour MSP Cathy Jamieson also tweeted: “How can BBC Radio Scotland even think about axing the brilliant Janice Forsyth.”
An online petition has also been set up, gathering five hundred signatures by last night, and “Save Janny on the Tranny” T-shirts and shopping bags are being produced.
Scottish crime writer Val McDermid called on fans to take direct action, tweeting: “Time we organised a protest march on Pacific Quay.”
Many fans threatened to abandon listening to Radio Scotland completely, with many stating that Janice’s show was the only programme that drew them to the station in the first place.
The popular Saturday show, which has run for 18 years, is being axed in line with BBC policy of focusing on speech broadcasting during the day and music during the night.
It will be replaced with the extensions of sport and news shows. The BBC has said the show will end in July to coincide with its Olympic coverage and the move was in line with its BBC Trust-backed strategy “to become more speech-based during the day”.
In a letter to The Scotsman, former MP and MSP Dennis Canavan said the corporation should “leave Janice alone”.
Ian Rankin described the BBC’s policy as “Stalinist”.
“I’ll be very interested to see them [the BBC] do the same thing to Desert Island Discs,” he said. “It’s a daytime show that mixes talk with music, and if they’re saying that the BBC Trust is saying that the BBC should be about talk during the day and music at night, then Desert Island Discs has got to go. And if it doesn’t, then what is the BBC Trust talking about.
“It seems to be very Stalinist in its view, and I’m afraid it’s going to turn lots of people off Radio Scotland full stop.”
Nick Low, the show’s producer said he and Janice had been touched by the response: “The response has been incredible. What we’ve been most heartened by is they have appreciated what we’ve done with the music over the years, that it is something different and distinct, which is what Radio Scotland is about.”
A BBC Radio Scotland spokeswoman said: “It’s always difficult when we change schedules, as all our programmes have loyal audiences. But we’ve outlined why [we are axeing the show], which was backed by the BBC Trust.”