The BBC has denied that the corporation’s digital station Asian Network was facing the axe after a newspaper report today.

London’s Evening Standard reported that the station was facing closure after losing a fifth of its listeners despite spending more than 25?million in two years.

Tim Davie, BBC’s Director, Audio & Music said, “There is absolutely no truth in the claim that the BBC Asian Network is facing closure. The Network is incredibly important in providing news, debate, music and entertainment to British Asians and is growing its audience following a major schedule change. The BBC Trust said it expects improvement in reach next year and we are committed to doing so.”

The BBC Trust’s annual report, which was published yesterday warned the Asian Network after its listeners dropped from half a million to 405,000 in a year.

The trust said, “We will expect some improvement in reach next year.” A senior BBC source told the Evening Standard that management at the station including controller Andy Parfitt who also runs Radio? 1 were told they had to attract listeners over the next 12 months or face closure.

He said, “At a time when we are under pressure to justify every penny spent, the feeling is that another rap on the knuckles from the trust could seal the Asian Network’s fate.”