Rumours have surfaced today that the BBC has scrapped plans to continue with its beleaguered Asian Network as a regional service after its national transmission ends next year.
When the proposals to close the digital national station were confirmed by the BBC Trust earlier this year, the contingency plan to maintain the service was to broadcast it regionally in five different areas of the UK.
However, according to a tweet by the renowned UK Asian music duo Tigerstyle, the BBC has backed out of those regional plans. The tweet read, “Just heard BBC are backing out from their plans to establish 5 regional radio stations for Asian programming…….wtf!!!!” Tigerstyle have worked closely with the Asian Network for the past few years and their tweet may have come after talks with insiders at the station.
In response, a BBC spokesperson told��BizAsia.co.uk��today, “We are continuing to develop detailed options for the best way to serve Asian audiences. The BBC Executive will consider the options in the New Year and will then submit a proposal to the Trust.”
The BBC Trust’s decision followed a three-month public consultation, in which members of the public were invited to give their opinion on the BBC Asian Network and 6 Music. While BBC 6 Music received immense support from the public and the industry, the feedback for the BBC Asian Network was somewhat lackluster. It received just over 3,000 responses in the strategy review carried out since March this year.
The plan was to close the BBC Asian Network’s expensive national DAB broadcast and concentrate on elements from its existing schedule and relay them on regional BBC stations.
However, with this latest speculation, the BBC Asian Network could just continue in Birmingham and Leicester on their respective analogue frequencies.
The BBC Asian Network’s national digital broadcast is expected to cease towards the end of 2011. Details of which, are expected in January.
At the time of filing this article,��BizAsia.co.uk��had attempted to get clarification on their tweet from Tigerstyle but to no avail.