BBC Digital Stations to Close?

You have probably heard about BBC plans to close the Asian Network and 6 Music, and rename BBC Radio 7 to BBC Radio 4 Extra.

The plans were originally reported in yesterday’s edition of The Times, who claimed that Mark Thompson, BBC Director General, will reallocate £600 million of the licence fee, nearly 17 per cent of the £3.6 billion that the public pays each year, into “higher quality programming”.

The NUJ (National Union of Journalists) have responded to this, saying they recieved a briefing from the BBC soon after, which confirmed the media reports as “largely correct”.

Both the NUJ and broadcasting union Bectu accused the BBC of “bowing to pressure from politicians and commercial rivals”. They have warned that there could be strike action if the plans go ahead.

BBC media correspondant, Torin Douglas, said this:

The Times report is very detailed so the paper has clearly been shown a BBC document. Whether these will be the final decisions remains to be seen.

The report is to be considered by the governing body, the BBC Trust, and The Times quotes “BBC Trust sources” as saying they would like the Director general to impose even greater cuts to budget for imported programmes.

There could also be last-minute lobbying on behalf of the two radio stations said to be due for closure. A campaign to save BBC 6 Music has been running on Facebook for some time.

Torin Douglas,
BBC Media Correspondant
Quoted from BBC News

Meanwhile, the Chief Operating Officer of Absolute Radio has said that he would buy 6 Music if is was for sale, and operate it commercially. He said that more efficiently run 6 Music could retain its current programming and sit perfectly in Absolute’s stable of stations, alongside Absolute Classic Rock, Absolute ‘80s and dabbl.

We share a similar ethos to 6 Music – a passion for music discovery, comedy and live music. We know there’s an audience out there for more engaging radio programmes, like Frank Skinner, Dave Gorman or Lauren Laverne.

Clive Dickens
Chief Operating Officer, Absolute Radio
Quoted from

The proposed 2015 digital radio switchover wouldn’t work without full support of the BBC and closing both 6 Music and the Asian Network won’t do digital radio any good… It is part of the BBC’s service licence to push digital radio sales – how are they going to do that now if two of their digital-only services are closing!?

What annoys me though, is that Mark Thompson says the plans are there to ensure the BBC focusses on “output of the highest quality instead of chasing ratings”.

So why don’t they get rid of BBC Radio 1? Perhaps the answer is, that getting rid of Chris Moyles would be popular and would force the ratings up! 😛

What are your views on the BBC plans? Leave your comments below.

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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