FOR such a woke, millennial, uber-liberal organisation, the fact the BBC allows ageism and sexism to run rampant on Radio 1 is the height of hypocrisy.
This has been highlighted again by the station’s decision to blacklist MADONNA from their precious little playlist, which sadly remains a significant blow to its singles chart success in this country.
Now I do understand Madge is 60 – no one is arguing that is way past the age group Radio 1 aims to target.
But that isn’t the point here given we’re talking about a music icon who continues to push the boundaries of pop.
Let’s be honest, at her age most veteran stars have to some degree started to rest on their laurels. They release below par and often self-indulgent tracks that have zero chance getting played on the radio, and their concerts are packed with their greatest hits.
That’s the opposite of Madonna who has spent the past four years exploring where she fits in the world of pop in 2019.
Her comeback single Medellin – with the very young and very hip Colombian rapper MALUMA – has not been made for Madonna diehards hoping for another Like A Prayer.
While it features her always distinctive voice, it’s otherwise a credible and current piece of Spanish crossover pop that would not sound out of place on top 40 radio stations anywhere in the world.
In fact, I put money on the fact that if it was ARIANA GRANDE, DUA LIPA or TAYLOR SWIFT singing alongside the rapper it would have been immediately hailed as the song of the year.
There’s a reason why the track premiered on Apple’s trendy radio station Beats1 and why MTV produced a live special debuting the song’s music video this week broadcast around the world.
Even the notoriously snobby NME called it “one gem of a pop song”.
The ageism is an issue with the holier than thou BBC and not its commercial rivals.
Surely the corporation has to understand that you don’t have to be young to produce content that appeals to a youth market.
There is a degree of sexism to the decision over Madonna too. More mature artists like PAUL MCCARTNEY, 76, FOO FIGHTERS, whose lead singer DAVE GROHL is 50, DAVID GUETTA, 51, JAY Z, 49, and CHRIS MARTIN, 42, seem to be welcomed with open arms.
And what if the same standards start to apply to other areas of the Beeb?
Will producers, directors and actors be judged by age over performance?
And while they are impressive executives, shouldn’t Radio 1’s own head honchos be worried. Controller Ben Cooper is no spring chicken at 48 and head of music Chris Price is 44 – both way outside the station’s target market too.
This seems to me to be a dangerous path to go down.
Especially at a time when older women are so woefully treated by the Beeb – often sacked, overlooked and underpaid by their own admission.
We don’t have many true icons of music still with us.
Madonna will sit alongside ELVIS PRESLEY, PRINCE, MICHAEL JACKSON and WHITNEY HOUSTON as one of the greats.
That’s what makes her shoddy and ageist treatment from BBC Radio 1 a complete disgrace.