BBC Asian Network doomed

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Station step closer to axe

THE BBC Asian Network looks doomed after the BBC Trust accepted plans to close it.

In a review of BBC services, the trust said the station was “performing poorly”.

The BBC will now put together plans to replace the channel with a range of local stations for Asian audiences.

The Asian Network and BBC 6 Music have been under threat for the past two months, 6 Music has been given a reprieve – but there’s no good news for the Asian Network.

Here are the key points made by the BBC Trust:

  1. The service’s reach has declined from 18% of Asian adults to 12% in 2009, which amounts to around 300,000 a week.
  2. Consumption by younger listeners has declined the most and the most recent audience figures show reach continuing to decline.
  3. This performance contrasts with the relative success of commercial stations targeted at the Asian community, which have seen an increase in listening in recent years, and of community radio.
The BBC Trust said they received over 3,000 responses from supporters of the station when plans were announced in March to close it.

A key theme amongst the responses, the Trust said, was the way the Network “nurtures the idea of being a British Asian – rather than just a member of a local community – as well as recognising the diversity within British Asian communities.”

The Trust admitted “there is clearly a risk that this would be lost if it were to be closed as a national service.”

Another area that could be at risk should the Network close is the future of British Asian music.

Singer Jay Sean received unparalled support from the station when he emerged on the music scene in 2003.

He was one of many stars to publicly support the station when news of its closure was announced.

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