The BBC has forked out nearly 60 million on the troubled, BBC Asian Network station since 2002, according to figures just released.

MediaGuardian reports that the BBC Asian Network cost 12.1m during 2008/09, including 9.2m on programmes and other content, down from the high of 13m the BBC spent on it in 2007/08, which included 10.1m on content.

Between the BBC Asian Network and 6 Music, both of which have been proposed to close by BBC Director General, Mark Thompson, have witnessed expenses of nearly 100m since 2002 when the two launched on DAB digital radio.

The BBC Asian Network’s audience has dwindled over the years. Data for the last quarter (Q4/09) supplied by RAJAR saw the Asian Network hovering around a weekly reach of 360,000 – the lowest since the end of 2002.

The BBC Asian Network peaked with 535,000 listeners at the end of 2004, before falling back in the following quarter and remaining largely static for the next three years, before peaking again with another 535,000 listeners at the beginning of 2008. Since then its audience suffered another slump, despite a brief blip in the middle of 2009.

In proposals announced by Thompson earlier this week, the BBC Asian Network’s national service will be shut down with five local versions of the station replacing the flanking service.