With the BBC Asian Network earmarked for closure this year, supporters of the troubled national digital station have got behind it as a final push to save it from closing down.
Supporters, which include staff from the station and individuals from the Asian entertainment industry, have been circulating “Save the BBC Asian Network” messages on Facebook and Twitter.
For the past few days, BBC Asian Network presenters Bobby Friction, Murtz Ali, Sonia Deol and Nihal have been tweeting “Please call and log a complaint on the official BBC complaints line, about the closure of the BBC Asian Network…Otherwise BYE BYE”. The same message was then retweeted by popular music artists such as Jay Sean and Raghav.
It was this time last year rumours emerged about the fate of the Asian Network. A few weeks later in March, the BBC Trust had confirmed that it would consider a formal proposal to close the Asian Network on the condition that it “include a proposition for meeting the needs of the station’s audience in different ways”.
The BBC Asian Network has seen a growth of 30 per cent over the past twelve months, with the latest listening figures from RAJAR due in on Thursday this week.
Insiders at the station have expressed the way they feel about the uncertainty surrounding the BBC Asian Network, toMediaGuardian.
“The mood at the station is even worse over the last six months than when the closure was first mooted,” said one person at the station.
“The brand has taken a kicking, not just in the media establishment but inside the Asian community.
“People are sending their CVs out and expecting to be made redundant. All this at a time when its listening figures are going up.
In December, speculation was rife that the BBC had scrapped plans to continue with its beleaguered Asian Network as a regional service after its national transmission this year. These came about after UK Asian music duo Tigerstyle tweeted that the BBC had 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.
The BBC then went on to say that it was continuing to develop detailed options for the best way to serve Asian audiences.
Keep it withBizAsia.co.ukfor more as the official final decision is expected this month itself.