The ‘new’ BBC Asian Network: Full changes

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With the BBC’s ‘Delivering Quality First’ strategy announced earlier, BizAsia.co.uk brings you details of how the BBC Asian Network will be affected.

First and foremost, the BBC Asian Network’s future is safe. After months of uncertainty, the BBC confirmed that the station will remain broadcasting as it is nationally on digital radio. However, the ‘new’ smaller and much more focused BBC Asian Network will adhere to a stricter budget.

Talking to BizAsia.co.uk, a BBC spokesperson said, “A new, more focused Asian Network is proposed, offering BBC news, music and entertainment, Asian culture, discussion, languages and specialist music, but with a significantly reduced budget aimed at bringing down cost per listener hour while growing reach. While the station�۪s content budget will be reduced, reinvestment will be available for enhancing services for Asian audiences across the BBC.”

34% spending cut on BBC Asian Network
Out of all the existing BBC radio stations, the BBC Asian Network’s �12m spending has been cut the most. So where will the cuts be seen?
Drama and documentary content will be decommissioned and the schedule simplified with fewer, longer programmes.

The station will reduce talent (presenter) costs, and there will be a smaller production team.

In addition the network will operate between 06:00 – midnight only. It will share its broadcast with BBC 5 Live post midnight, like it does currently but at the moment; the BBC Asian Network shuts down at 01:00 until 05:00. Further details will be provided as part of the BBC Trust�۪s Service Licence review of the Asian Network.

Broadcast studios – Birmingham & London only
Currently, the BBC Asian Network operates from Birmingham, London and Leicester. The station’s main output will come from Birmingham’s Mailbox studios. The news team will be shifted to BBC News’ London studios. It will stop broadcasting from Leicester and will move its staff out of the centre.

The move from Leicester is to create a more coherent radio station equally based across two sites ��� in Birmingham and in Broadcasting House in Central London, to sit with the rest of BBC News as part of a world class news service. In addition, only being based at two sites will be more cost effective. The intention is that the Asian Network newsroom will have moved from Leicester to London by April 2013.

About the relocation, a BBC spokesperson said, “We are moving the news operation from Leicester to London, to join the BBC News centre in W1. The news team currently makes up the majority of the team in Leicester. We will consolidate the rest of the Midlands programming in Birmingham where we have our biggest base and it is where we have our best audience reach figures.”

The above changes are proposed by the BBC Asian Network. The BBC Trust will confirm these early next year, as well as results from the consultation of the station, which it opened today. Details here. Keep it with BizAsia.co.uk for more.

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