A number of British trade bodies have written an open letter to the BBC urging it to protect the future of BBC Music Introducing, its artist-development program.

As part of major cuts at BBC Radio, every on-air personality working at every local radio station has been put at risk of layoffs, according to a report in Radio Today.

This puts BBC Music Introducing—a platform that supports unsigned and under-the-radar U.K. talent—at risk as local radio shows are where acts first get played. The program also provides local gigs, festival stages and broadcasts on stations nationwide. Artists showcased on the platform include George Ezra, Self Esteem, Izzy Bizu, Soft Play (formerly Slaves) and Jack Garratt.

The letter, signed by the Music Venue Trust, Music Managers Forum, Association of Independent Music, LIVE, the Association of Independent Promoters, Featured Artist Coalition and Association of Independent Festivals expresses “grave concerns” about the possibility of Introducing being scrapped.

Addressed to BBC Chair Richard Sharp, the letter calls BBC Music Introducing “a fundamental cog in the machine of the grassroots sector" and points out, "This work is not done by any other broadcaster; it is unique. Its reach extends to every corner of the country and it is especially important in left-behind communities, where access to music and music opportunities is already incredibly challenging.”

Cutting local shows, the letter continues, “would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector. New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities."

“BBC Introducing has been essential to providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country," the signatories note. "Whatever reorganization might be required to meet the demands of the future stability and viability of the BBC, it should not be the case that BBC Introducing is the unintended victim of those changes.”

The orgs conclude with a call for “urgent assurance” that the BBC board understands the role of Introducing and has a plan for protecting it.