Kpop and British Radio: Trying to get Kpop played on national station

With the popularity of Kpop soaring in the UK recently, what’s the next step for our island and Korea’s pop scene? With multiple concerts happening here in the latter half of this year, and the promise of exciting things to come for 2012, how can this genre be publicised more to those as of yet not familiar with it?

One way, but maybe seen as too difficult to achieve, would be for Kpop to be played on national British radio. We can already hear a huge range of world music on many radio stations in the UK, so it seems logical that Korean music could also be a viable option. We can already see that radio in the UK isn’t against exploring and examining foreign music. For example, if you search on BBC Radio 3’s World Music section, you’ll be able to find a section dedicated to Asia Pacific. However, when looking through them, although there are some segments on Japan and China, there is nothing on Korea. Also, a lot of the emphasis is put on exploring traditional music and tales from the past, and not much spotlight is put on the present. This is expected from BBC Radio 3, as it’s not wholly aimed at the younger generation, but a lot of their material on Asia seems very rooted in looking at the past and history, not the modern tastes.

I hoped I would be able to find more variety on BBC’s World Service network, but was left disappointed again. In fact, searching through the BBC’s TV and Radio Programs with the term ‘Korea’ turns up no mention of modern music for this year.

But what about BBC Radio 1? As a pioneer of putting many new bands and new types of music in the spotlight, how would they feel about giving Kpop a chance on the airwaves? United Kpop, a blog site that focuses on Kpop in the UK, tried previously to request Kpop songs on Radio 1 back in August. They came up with a plan to show Radio 1 that Korean music is becoming a popular choice.

unitedkpop logo

Do you want Radio 1 to play a Kpop song? Then check out our info below the cut!

Step one: Follow this link.
Step two: Comment with ’2NE1 – Can’t Nobody (English Version)
Step three: Like all the other comments with the same.
Step four: Listen to Radio 1 between 4pm and 7pm on Saturday (tomorrow) and find out if they play it!

I’ll be listening the whole time, so I’ll tell everyone if it plays/when it plays and if it does and you miss it, they have a catch up!

And what happened once many fans has taken part and tried to have the song requested? Nothing. Even with choosing an English version, the BBC didn’t seem to be interested. 2NE1 seemed like a good choice to request too – they’ve got a unique style (thanks to Jeremy Scott), catchy songs, and anyone would think they’d have global appeal. Apparently not this time. In fairness though, the station would need to have the song in the first place, and would be unable to play it if they didn’t. Even so, as a popular request, it doesn’t seem like anyone at Radio 1 has since researched Korean music since August, and no mention of it has been heard on the station since – if anyone knows different, please say.

So if the national stations aren’t biting, what about more local radio stations? United Kpop members also tried to get a local station to play Kpop and here’s what happened:

After multiple sadly ignored attempts at getting Radio 1 to play Kpop, we turned our hope and attention towards Tay FM, thinking perhaps they would be a little happier to oblige our requests. Unfortunately, Tay FM only proved themselves to be as bad as the BBC as they removed all comments asking for Taeyang’s ‘Wedding Dress’ (Eng Ver) and blocked those who did. Then they removed comments of those who asked about the deletion of comments. At first we thought it might be because they considered it spam, but they started deleting comments after two requests. They’ve only shown themselves to appear racist, whether or not that is the case, they should have just said ‘We can’t play that song’ instead of their chosen course of action.

Luckily, United Kpop is gutsy and won’t give up. They’ve started a petition for Kpop to be played in the UK. Let’s show them our support! You can find the petition here. So if the national and local stations aren’t playing modern Korean music (please send us a message if you find somewhere that does!), where can we hear it? At the moment, the only places I can find are specialised online radio stations. A quick search of ‘British Radio Korean Music’ doesn’t help me to find any national radio stations in the UK that do play Kpop, but gives results such as this. I suppose online stations are better than nothing. And of course, you can always tune into Korean radio online too. With a quick online search you can find many national Korean stations to listen too. For example here has links to many Korean radio shows. Also just discovered is this great online station – Seoul 24/7 Radio.

But what could be the reasons that Kpop so far hasn’t been heard on our radio stations? Check out our follow up post!


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