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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 07:07 GMT
BBC digital radio goes live
Phill Jupitus
Phill Jupitus hosts the breakfast show
The BBC has launched its first national music radio station for 32 years, 6 Music.

The last national BBC music station to launch was Radio 3 in 1970.

Comedian Phill Jupitus flicked the switch to start the new digital radio station at 0700 GMT on Monday.

Ash track Burn Baby Burn was the first track played, chosen by listeners in an internet vote.

Madness singer Suggs
Madness singer Suggs is one of the weekend presenters
"What a way to start the programme. Music democracy in action," said Jupitus.

The channel's remit is to play the best rock and pop from the last 40 years.

It will be hosted by a number of famous presenters including Sean Hughes, Craig Charles, Suggs from Madness and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson.

The BBC's director of radio and music, Jenny Abramsky, said: "The birth of 6 Music marks a new era for people who are absolutely passionate about their music, not only all the great rock and pop music to come out of the past 40 years, but also the new artists that are emerging today."

Live sessions

Interactivity will be a key element of 6 Music as listeners are invited to select classic concert recordings from the vast BBC archive which may have rarely seen the light of day.

The archive will also be trawled to find classic interviews, live sessions and documentaries.

The station is designed to complement Radio 1 and 2 and catch those listeners whose ages and tastes fall between the pair.

The diversity of the station was displayed in the choice of opening songs listeners can vote - which ranged from Ian Dury's Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll to Macy Gray's I Try.

Phill Jupitus will front the three-hour breakfast show every weekday morning, followed by VH-1 presenter Gideon Coe and Liz Kershaw at lunchtime.

Music journalist Andrew Collins will fill the teatime slot, leading to evening shows by Sony award-winner Tom Robinson and Janice Long.

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson
Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson will host two shows
To receive 6 Music, listeners will need a digital radio - or take the appropriate cable or digital TV service. The station can also be streamed online.

The station will join Five Live Sports Extra and two stations which have yet to go on air in the BBC's digital portfolio.

The black music station - previously known as Network X - will be called 1Xtra, giving it a strong link to Radio 1.

This will go on air in the summer followed by a speech station, currently known as Network Z.

Comedian Phill Jupitus
launches 6 Music
See also:

11 Mar 02 | Reviews
6 Music: For boys
11 Mar 02 | Reviews
BBC 6 Music: Your views
04 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Public choose 6 Music opener
11 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
In search of an audience
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