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BBC Asian Network listeners vote for all time favourite Bollywood Song

BBC to close Asian Network and6 Music

The BBC today signalled an end to years of expansion as it unveiled plans to axe two radio stations, halve its website and slash spending on sports and U.S. TV shows.
Director General Mark Thompson confirmed digital radio station 6 Music and Asian Network are to be axed, with teen TV services Switch and Blast also facing the chop.
BBC online is to have its budget reduced by 25 per cent by 2013, backed by similar cuts to staff levels, as it slashes back the number of its web pages.
Mr Thompson admitted the corporation has become too large and must shrink to allow room for its commercial rivals.
And indicating a reduction in the huge salaries for BBC bosses, he pledged that in future, 90p of every pound spent on the licence fee will be spent on programming. 
The drastic cutbacks are being billed as the biggest shake-up in the organisation's 88-year history and will be welcome news for ITV and Channel 4.
Mr Thompson insists the broadcaster must concentrate on being a 'creator of quality' and know its limits.
'It must be far more explicit than in the past about what it will not do… The BBC should not attempt to do everything,' he said this morning.
'It must listen to legitimate concerns from commercial media players more carefully than it has in the past and act sooner to meet them. It needs the confidence and clarity to stop as well as to start doing things.'
He added: 'The proposed changes we are announcing today are not a piece of politics. It is also not a blueprint of a small BBC or a BBC that is in retreat from digital.'
But the proposals are being seen as an attempt to prove to the next government that the BBC is prepared to get its own house in order.
Furious union leaders insist they are politically motivated and say the closure of 6 Music alone will cost up to 600 jobs.
They have already warned about industrial action and are due to meet Mr Thompson tomorrow.
The cutbacks include:
  • Scrapped digital radio stations 6 Music and the Asian Network;
  • Axing teenage channels BBC Switch and Blast!;
  • Increasing BBC Two's budget by £25million;
  • Diverting £600million into higher-quality content;
  • A 25 per cent reduction in the £100million budget for foreign TV acquisitions;
  • Halving online output and reducing its staff and budget by 25 per cent;
  • Speeding up plans to slash the senior management pay bill by 25 per cent.
They were drawn up after BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons ordered a strategic review of the corporation's size.
The report, Putting Quality First, has been compiled by John Tate, BBC director of policy and strategy and former head of the Tory policy unit.
It is based on the assumption that the licence fee will be frozen in 2013.
General secretary of broadcasting workers union Bectu Gerry Morrissey said: 'It is obvious that the BBC is being bounced by its competitors and by the political climate ahead of the upcoming general election.
'These proposals are unnecessary and it is not acceptable for the BBC to be offering up services and jobs as some kind of sacrifice ahead of the general election.'
National Union of Journalists' general secretary Jeremy Dear added: 'These plans smack of an attempt to appease commercial and political interests.
'Hard-working staff shouldn't be used as a political football and we will fight any compulsory redundancies.'
He insisted the 'corporate media barons' must not be allowed to have their way and 'begin dismantling a vital national service'. 
There is also already a growing backlash against the plans to axe 6 Music – which shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has now also called to be saved.
Music legend David Bowie is among supporters of the channel and a Facebook campaign opposing the axe already has more than 60,000 backers.
Bowie said: '6 Music keeps the spirit of broadcasters like John Peel alive and for new artists to lose this station would be a great shame.
Whilst details are sketchy of how the BBC Asian Network will continue post 2011, it is likely that the local outputs will be networked and syndicated nationally on local stations where there are large Asian communities.
In the strategy review, the BBC has proposed the following to the BBC Trust; "One option is to replace it with a network of five part-time local services with some syndicated national Asian programmes. These would be available on local DAB and local Medium Wave, serving areas with the largest British Asian communities."
Mr Thompson said the earliest the BBC Asian Network and 6 Music would close would be by the end of 2011.
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