Andy Burnham launches Artist of the Month slot on BBC Radio Manchester to champion new music

The new initiative to back Manc musicians will provide career-changing opportunities to up-and-coming talents.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 18th January 2023

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has launched a brand new Artist of the Month scheme with BBC Radio Manchester to promote music from rising local artists.

Set up on Wednesday, 18 January, the new cultural initiative organised by the mayor and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority will see a new artist spotlighted every month on Radio Manchester, with the scheme open to any and all emerging Manc acts.

The Artist of the Month will be chosen by a panel assembled by Greater Manchester Music Commission and is made up of musicians, promoters, venues and industry leaders, with Burnham himself making the final decision.

Once all the submissions have been reviewed, the mayor will announce the winner at the end of the month during his weekly ‘Hot Seat’ phone-in on Mike Sweeney’s show, before introducing one of their tracks to close the show.

The BBC Radio Manchester Artist of the Month will be promoted across both the station’s and the mayoral social media channels, with the aim of providing them with access to new opportunities like upcoming festivals and live events.


For instance, winners will have the unique chance of performing to their growing fan base at the soon-to-be-completed Co-op Live, the UK’s biggest indoor venue, from 2024 onwards.

The combined GMCA and BBC scheme will also have a strong focus on representing the full diversity of backgrounds and genres that make up Greater Manchester’s iconic and ever-thriving music scene.


Burnham’s love for music is plain to see; from his charity DJ sets to teaming up with The Courteeners to raise even more money for Manchester’s homeless population, he’s someone who clearly knows the power it has to bring people together. You absolutely love to see it.

Speaking in a statement on the GMCA’s website, Burnham said: “Everybody knows how rich our musical heritage is. But it didn’t happen by chance. Our city-region was lucky to have someone like Tony Wilson who relentlessly promoted our music and got it heard around the world.”

For anyone unaware of the important cultural figure, Wilson was not only a radio presenter for the BBC in the 70s and 80, but he was also the founder of Factory Records, responsible for producing Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays and more, as well as co-founder and manager of the legendary Haçienda.


“We need to learn from Tony and do the same”, said Burnham. “There’s so much new music out there right now that deserves to be heard. I want to give emerging talent a platform but also make sure more established acts are getting the recognition they deserve. That’s what Artist of the Month is all about.”

Who is Tony Wilson? Manchester

@Loco Steve (via Flickr)

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Radio Manchester’s Executive Editor, Kate Squire, said, “we’re proud to be supporting this initiative of the Mayor’s in addition to our work promoting new bands through BBC Introducing in Manchester which has supported the likes of Blossoms, Aitch, Larkins … [there’s] so much talent in Greater Manchester we’re proud to showcase.”

The Chair of the Greater Manchester Music Commission, Jay Taylor, added: “More than ever we need to emphasize the connection between arena artists and the grassroots music venues they started in. This is a great opportunity to highlight and support the amazing talent we have playing on any given night in intimate venues across Greater Manchester”.

Nominations for January’s Artist of the Month are already open, so click HERE to find out more about the scheme and get voting for your favourite up-and-coming Mancunian artists.

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Featured Image — Greater Manchester Combined Authority