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The Times reports closure of the BBC Asian Network

February 26, 2010

According to the Times Online, we can expect closure of the BBC Asian Network and its 6Music digital channels sometime soon. Apparently the £3.6 billion annual license fee has become too large to competitively allow rival networks to have fair access to potential listeners’ ears. Not that any of them would even consider covering some of the music the BBC gives airtime to.

The BBC has added new stations to its network for years now – attempting to reach all sorts of listeners accross the UK as well as internationally, via the iPlayer website. One such station has been the Birmingham-based BBC Asian Network. The Asian Network is home to presenters such as Bobby Friction, Pathaan, Nerm and Sonny Ji – all proponents of progressive South Asian-flavoured electronic music forms. Pathaan has played tunes by Secret Archives of the Vatican and we provided a World Odyssey Mix back in 2008 for his show.

Though no official statement has been published by the BBC press office,the only word about the Asian Network they’ve dropped this week has been to announce the launch of a new Asian Chart Show to be presented by Bobby Friction.

It seems very strange that the Times should report the network’s closure only days after the establishment of a major industry chart for South Asian music in the UK and we’ll keep you up to date on any developments in this story. We’re aware from other sources that Nerm and Pathaan‘s shows are being dropped anyway.

This move is disastrous for non-mainstream musical forms, as the BBC is the only large-scale broadcaster that isn’t essentially in the pockets of the handful of big record labels that decide what the public listens to in the UK (ie a constant dribble of shallow pop, boy bands, ‘talent’ show winners and tedious identikit indie guitar bands).

In the meantime, you get get involved in the discussion on Twitter by using the #saveasiannet hashtag. Also, join the Facebook group, Save Pathaan’s Musical Rickshaw on the BBC.

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