back to article BBC to cull radio stations, halve websites in painful biz review

The BBC reportedly plans to axe its 6 Music and Asian Network radio stations, cull 50 per cent of its websites and reduce spending on American TV shows next month. According to a story in today’s Times, which cites BBC Trust sources, Beeb director-general Mark Thompson will admit in March that the Corporation is bloated and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    They should think about ditching that aswell.

  2. Alex Walsh

    Howling Mad Murdoch

    We all know Rupe's has the long knives out for the BBC and its no surprise that it was one of his papers that broke the story, especially so soon after the BBC announced it was bringing the iPlayer etc to the iPhone.

    The Asian network gets under 2% of listeners, and only has about 360,000 regular listeners (figures from mediauk). I read recently that someone said they'd be better off burning the stations content to CD and posting it to the listeners- it would be cheaper :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not Right

    Although I rarely listen to 6music, I have to say if i was a young Asian person either calling myself non-British, or have been born here but have obvious ties to Asia and my own family history, I would be annoyed that a channel such as the Asian network is to be wound down.

    The fact there are not enough listeners is because most will either listen online, stream to mobile phones using realmedia (although that's being dropped in favour of WMA streaming, which most smartphones, ie: Nokias, do not support), with a few people even using digital tv to listen to more niche music stations.

    There are plenty of generic White British radio stations, but very few local, and even fewer national Asian radio stations. If numbers are low, it's more likely because either the actual DJs themselves aren't representative of Asian radio desires, or people just are not ready yet to start relying on DAB and digital tv instead of using an mp3 player to allow unpredictable streaming music.

    6music can go in my opinion, although it does fill a void that other radio stations do not fill, but the Asian network should stay, purely based on the fact few good Asian stations exist.

  4. Mike Cardwell


    Presumably the licence fee will drop at the same rate as the reductions in spending? ... No?

  5. dogged

    Sub-headline - Murdoch Rag Smears Beeb Again

    In other news, water still wet, woods appear to contain bear shit, Pope seen at communion.

  6. Roger Barrett
    Thumb Down


    I'm sitting here listening to 6 Music right now, cant they just get rid of the crap that is Radio 1 instead?

  7. Jimmy Floyd

    Shame about 6Music

    I rather like 6 Music, so will be sad if this goes through. I'm too mature for Radio 1 but not grown-up enough for Radio 2, so 6 fits the bill rather well.

  8. Aldous

    how about.....

    trying something orginal instead of constant celebrity come dance with me factor on ice type programs? or super predicatable crap comedys(my family etc) ?

    the beeb is funded diffrently to ITV et all and i dont see why they try to mimic them and engage in petty ratings wars by producing more and more lowest common denominator dross (i.e dance shows, singing shows and all the other vote for me now shows).

    wheres the beeb gave us things like not the nine o clock news,young ones, black adder etc these days it has to have a jokes that are completly PC and so predictable you dont even need to watch half of these shows.

    fail because £142.50 s alot to watch the F1 and the odd documentry

  9. Harry

    Somebody tell him the old joke ...

    "director-general Mark Thompson will admit in March that the Corporation is bloated"

    INTERVIEWER: So, can you tell us how many people actually work for the BBC ?

    DG: I don't have an exact figure, but I'd guess its about half of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I hope that was intended to be sarcastic. What would be the point in reducing expenditure if the income diminished at the same rate? From the BBC's perspective they'd be pretty much in the same place.

    2. Jolyon

      Yes, ditch R1 or R2

      6 Music is easily the best music station we've ever had and fits the BBCs remit really well.

      It would be a shame if it was abandoned leaving us at the whim of commercial interests.

      Of all the organisations that might prefer quality over other concerns you'd have backed BBC radio.

  10. me 13

    The BBC bloated.....??

    Who knew??!!

  11. Gareth.
    Thumb Down

    Oh Noes...

    Don't care about the radio stations being culled... I've never listened to either of the ones cited in the article. Do they really have that big an audience...? I'm sure they could save even more money by ditching the annoying fat DJ who is on Radio 1 in the morning, and some of the other dinosaurs that are still on the payroll.

    I'm more disappointed by the Beeb's online offerings being reduced. I've always liked what the BBC do online (not withstanding some of the turgid crap their journalists write - did you see the recent article about Photoshop being 20 years old?).

    I don't mind paying my TV licence because I think, for the time being at least, it represents good value for money. Let's hope the quality of the Beeb's output doesn't decrease.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Productivity = output/cost

    If you cut the cost, productivity goes up. If you cut the output productivity goes down.

    No doubt he wants to cull radio stations that cost a lot for their low number of listeners. But I reckon he won't cut the mass of bureaucracy and so isn't really saving the full costs, but IS taking the full drop in output.

    If the BBC stopped making EVERY programs, I reckon they'd still need £400 million to exist. They would be an organisation of people meeting other people to discuss management issues.

    So I reckon he should make the saving by entirely culling managers, and leave the content alone.

  13. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns

    6 Music

    No-one listens to 6 music because it's digital only, and no-one really cares about DAB. Glad to see BBC3 surviving though.

  14. Dogbyte

    Oh dear...

    So much for the BBC Trust report praising 6 Music for its distinctiveness and musical credibility.

  15. Gavin McMenemy

    What the hell?

    "Mark Thompson will admit in March that the Corporation is bloated and needs to trim down its services to allow commercial rivals to compete."

    The reason that the commercial channels are failing to compete is more complex than the license fee. Their output is dire and ad revenues are falling. If they were sort their act out then there would be no reason for this statement.

    I am sick of the current spate of reporting that somehow the Beeb is at fault with the business plans of the commercial networks. It's a load of tosh.

    Without the beeb we would be left with not much more than BSkyB... shudder.

  16. ShaggyDoggy

    BBC1, BBC2

    It all went wrong when they started to do "demographic" channels, I mean "BBC3 the channel for 16-35 year olds" what's that all about ?

    Please BBC get back to core values and great programmes.

    You don't need all this trendy targetted crap.

    Oh God I sound old.

    Maybe there's a channel I should be watching ..............

  17. Barrie Shepherd


    "Beeb director-general Mark Thompson will admit in March that the Corporation is bloated and needs to trim down its services to allow commercial rivals to compete."

    Why? The Beeb seem to have a better grasp of what is successful than the commercial competitors who only seem to sling out material for dumb masses. If the BBC are producing successful broadcasts long may they continue.

    We pay the license fee for quality programming not to allow dross from commercial concerns into our living room.

    Come on Beeb put your back catalogue on line so we can escape the adverts!

  18. Mage Silver badge



    Make some decent TV programs and don't break R4.

  19. Yannick

    I'd also like my license fee go down

    Nuff said.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    does this mean

    Does this mean they'll have enough money to do a full 6 episodes (a sad number for the onle shows that are any good) of Mock the Week and Newswipe, or will they continue with the crap 5 episodes and one compilation episode?

  21. JAK 1

    this is a real shame

    6 music is a great station, playing a brilliant selection of music with DJs that know about music.

    I understand that the recent poll shows that 80% of the population doesn't even know it exists, but surely that is due to poor marketing and the fact it is only available online and via DAB.

    The BBC does make mistakes, does over step the mark with commercial rivals and I think it does need to be closely monitored.

    However 6music and the BBC website are examples of how great the BBC can be

  22. johnB

    My 2-point Plan...

    for the beeb to save money is simple:

    Only send one reporter to cover an event. There's no need to send journos from various parts of the organisation.

    Dump the pointless local radio stations. The aural wallpaper they churn out is well duplicated by the commercial sector.


  23. Gary F


    About time too. You can't have a state funded organisation putting its fingers in every pie. The government should encourage creativity, innovation, and the growth of private businesses - not fund an organisation that competes with that.

    If the BBC can save £millions cutting websites and little used radio stations then it should invest those savings into making better quality TV programmes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      While we're at it, let's get rid of the NHS too, those privately owned medical companies would be able to make much more money if the NHS didn't compete with them. Damn state funding.

      1. Rob

        Don't forget

        Channel 4 as well then, it's publically owned and I did hear once (have yet to find sources on the net to confirm it though) that it also receives a small amount from the license fund.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    50% ouput = 75% staff

    Cut ouput by 50% but staff by 25%

    What Agile Emotional Intelliginced Flipper enabled consultant recommended this..??

    Sentence them all to 3 years in Norfolk (original home of the 3 breasted turkey..ideal for Easter)

  25. breakfast
    Thumb Down

    Top plan, beeb!

    What could be smarter than killing off the only reliably listenable ( since they binned George Lamb at any rate ) radio station anywhere on the dial? And maintaining the fecal slurry facegush of BBC3 with the savings?


  26. TeeCee Gold badge

    BBC3 to remain intact?

    That's almost worth a "meh".

    It's only achievement as far as I can see, is in managing to make: "Next on BBC3, <insert name of BBC3 specific programme>" replace that old stalwart: "There now follows a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the Liberal Democrats" as the thing said by a continuity announcer most likely to make the viewer change channels.

  27. DominicT

    Why 6Music?!

    So, the BBC might well kill 6music - something that absolutely no commercial providers want to provide. Why not kill Radio 1? That's pretty much the same as every commerical local radio station, and listeners are well supplied with alternatives.

    BBC haters can't have it both ways. Either the BBC exists to provide programming for minority audiences (such as 6music) and can't be criticised for low audience figures, or it is there to compete for mainstream audiences, against commerical rivals. How can scrapping the minority services match its public service remit?

    If budgets must be cut, go for the mainstream. Scrap EastEnders! That's exactly the sort of thing that commerical rivals make, and I bet the cost of a couple of episodes would pay for a whole year of 6music output.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Digital Suez

    This looks like a British digital Suez to me.

    Still... shows you what happens when arrogance leads you to you bury your head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge what everyone around you is saying. If they'd seized the moment when gCap announced they were pulling out of DAB and said they were too, it would have looked like the failure of an industry where everyone gave it a go but it just didn't work out.

    By hanging in there so long, it makes the BBC look really bad, like a stuck up geriatric who still refuses to buy a German car because of the war, and then phones you to say their new and overpriced Rover has broken down on the A4.

    I'm more concerned about the culling of websites and US imports though. DAB may be a technological cul-de-sac, but those websites and the muscle to buy big imports is part of what makes the BBC a world class broadcaster. Changes like this make them look uncomfortably closer to Dave and Virgin1.

  29. Mik G


    I am so miffed about this. Spent 300 notes getting DAB installed in my car 6 months ago purely to get 6Music on the go.

    I'm holding out hope it's just FUD.

  30. Funkster

    Sports cap a good idea, should be lower!

    The really expensive exclusive sports events stand a good chance of being televised without the beeb's help - whereas the high quality documentaries, investigative journalism and other slightly-higher-brow-than-ITV programming likely wouldn't.

    I just can't understand why they keep paying for Two Pints.

  31. LinkOfHyrule

    Oh please use some of the savings made...

    Oh please use some of the savings made to allow Charlie Brooker to make a full series of Gameswipe. Oh and can we have that groovy test card thingy back too, used to well love that beeping tone waking me up at 3am after falling asleep in front of the sky at night.

  32. Chris Byers

    Noooooo, not 6 Music!

    6 Music is a fantastic station (especially after they canned George Lamb from the day time schedules), and is the only BBC station to actually play new and non-mainstream music. Radio 1 certainly doesn't!

    As for the earlier comment about the Asian Network I would presume that

    1. Radio 1 plays most of what young asian youths listen too anyway.

    2. Asians make up 4% (2001 census) of the UK populace.If a non-UK born asian wants to listen to asian radio stations then chances are they can stream one from their home country,

    Is it justified to spend that amount of money of a minority station when we should be encouraging more integration? If 6 Music was on FM I'd be willign to bet it would be a runaway success. Anyway, please don't give me a reason to bin my plan to buy a Pure Sensia!

  33. Red Bren

    The DG can see which way the wind is blowing?

    Due Cameron by all accounts. Murdoch has already seen it and probably done a deal to back the Tories in return for neutering the BBC. Perhaps this is a pre-emptive move by the DG?

  34. melt


    Nooo! Where will Adam and Joe go? :(

  35. richard 69

    george lamb for pm!

    love 6 music, it's genuinely refreshing to listen to.

    why not get rid of 1extra, bbc7(!) and combine bbc4 with bbc2 to get bbc2 to a higher quality again.

    oh, and £112M to run the bbc website - eh?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Talking about radio 1

    Bin that obnoious tw@t that is moyles.

    I seem to remember reading he is paid 500k which is about 499.9k too much

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC Radio 6

    BBC Radio 6 became defunct since Adam and Joe weren't on it anymore

  38. jonathan rowe
    Thumb Down

    Is this a real story?

    Is this a real story? or just Murdoch fantasising and wanking in public?

  39. Rob Crawford

    Things which could be lost

    Radio1 Extra (sorry spelling it Xtra is not not cool it's crap) nobody listens to it and plays the same calculated demographic dross as Radio1

    Some BBC local radio stations should be merged (I would prefer terminated but will settle for merged)

    BBC3, crap comedys and Family Guy

    Asian Network, nobody is listening so it should go, plus I assume you haven't heard the dozens of 'local' Asian stations in any of the major UK towns. From what the Asian Network seem to be trying to do is something a coalition of local stations would be a better model for

    RE: AC & the Asian network, can I ask where the non generic 'white' radio stations (as you term them) are. 6Music ithe only place I stand a chance of hearing The Gang of Four in the same week as King Tubby and the 13th floor Elevators.

    I'm afraid I fall into the category demographic of not having reached senility, not wanting to listen to golden oldies, dad rock or the pre-chewed pap which is sold to kids these days.

    6Music is the only place I can indulge my love of Dub, decent funk, krautrock, psych or garage bands

  40. Steve Anderson

    Radio 3

    Scrap Radio 3 - there's a viable commercial alternative broadcasting on FM and digital in the form of Classic FM. Divide the DAB bandwidth amongst other national stations (Radio 3 has twice the bandwidth of Radio 1, 2, 4, 6Music and four times that of Radio 5, IIRC) and give the FM frequency to 6Music, which has no commercial alternative (that one that used to be Virgin - Absolute is it? - is AM only to 99% of the population, and XFM's attempts to broadcast outside London have been woeful, with only XFM Manchester surviving).

    Also, why not get rid of 1Xtra, which seems to be a pale imitation of every pirate radio station I've heard in my life?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If you've ever listened to Classic FM, you would know that is certainly isn't a viable alternative to Radio 3.

    2. RDW

      Radio 3 and Radio 6

      'Scrap Radio 3 - there's a viable commercial alternative broadcasting on FM and digital in the form of Classic FM.'

      Classic FM, which plays Themes from Well Known Adverts on heavy rotation and the Popular Classical equivalents of Boy Bands, has much the same relationship to Radio 3 as Radio 1 does to 6music. 3 & 6 broadcast intelligent programming for an (unfortunately limited) audience of actual music lovers and give exposure to less commercial artists, while 1 and CFM (generally) provide aural wallpaper for the masses. No surprise that 6 has struggled to survive while excluded from the 'media platform' that most people actually use - perhaps if they actually succeed in shoving DAB down all our throats by pulling the plug on FM, channels like 6 will stand a better chance of survival. No surprise either that the current gutless BBC adminstration is Assuming the Position in readiness for Cameron and Murdoch's loving attentions after May 6th, while the BBC Trust, fatally compromised by its conflicting remits to serve the audience and pander to the commercial competition, will doubtless rubber stamp the proposals (or add further cuts of their own).

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Does that mean we will get a reduction in the license fee? Maybe I will actually be able to afford to own a TV now...

  42. Glesga Snapper

    Way to go Auntie...

    Get rid of the one radio station that's actually worth listening too!

    6Music is the jewel in the crown of the BBC's current line-up; a wide range of really excellent music, played by DJs who actually know what they're talking about, rather than fat, talentless knobs like Moyles.

    If 6Music is canned, then the Beeb's last chance of a digital switch-over through anything other than coercion will disappear with it.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    BBC Consultation

    The BBC is having a consultation period now, so why not mention all your concerns in the provided boxes? It relates to on-demand streaming, but given a lot of people do use that, no harm in mentioning the loss of 6music there:

  44. Fuzz

    6 Music

    I'll add my support for 6 music.

    Out of my circle of friends I know 2 people with dab radios who listen all the time and another couple who listen occasionally either over the Internet or via freeview. Everyone else loves the station but the only time they listen to radio is when they're in their cars. 6 musics poor listening figures are purely a product of it's digital only status.

    For me the station BBC should be getting rid of is Radio 1, 6 music is exactly the sort of station the BBC should be running. I can turn on an FM radio and get at least 5 other stations playing the same rubbish as radio 1. There is nothing producing the kind of output 6 Music has, especially not the evening shows.

    If the BBC got rid of Radio 1 that would give the best possible assistance to the commercial stations. Removing two stations with the lowest listening figures will do nothing to assist commercial broadcasters.


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