6Music Saved – Asian Network Axed
The BBC Trust has decided to save 6Music, but the Asian Network bites the dust. The review also suggests that daytime schedules will be in line for a shake up.
The Trust said of 6Music that the “case has not been made for the closure of 6Music”. The idea to shutdown the Asian Network and the music channel was part of the BBC’s Putting Quality First review. The BBC Trust supported most of the previously announced changes, but said that 6Music would only be allowed to close in the future if a new digital radio strategy was created.
The BBC was criticised for wanting to close the music channel – which many believe provides a quality service that isn’t “commercial” and wouldn’t survive outside of the BBC’s public service funding. Star names such as David Bowie gave support to save the network.
The Asian Network has been however criticised, with commentators asking where the BBC draws the line of who they carter for with a dedicated network. A BBC Gay Network, a BBC French Network… it could be never ending. Asian broadcasting was previously part of the local BBC Radio remit – before the likes of Radio Newcastle ditched the programming to become more commercial in output.
The Trust approved the Asian Network’s demise as long as the audience were catered for elsewhere. Local radio possibly returning to public service broadcasting – rather than battling for ratings with their populist music output.
It wasn’t just radio scrutinised television broadcasting was also investigated. The BBC Trust said that the channels had “no need for radical changes”, but this would be reviewed after the digital switchover in 2012.
The Trust did however suggest that programmes needed to be “truly high quality and distinctive”. They outlined the fact BBC One needed to take more risks and be more ambitious while BBC Two needed to add more depth to its factual output.
BBC daytime programming was criticised for lacking quality and originality. A boost to the daytime budget will, it is hoped, improve the programme output. The BBC online services will also be cutback.
The BBC has been deemed far too commercial in recent years. Networks such as Radio One providing little in the way of public service and instead are wall-to-wall populist output. Also high rating entertainment and drama has questioned whether the licence fee should just be solely spent on public service rather than on programmes that could survive via commercial funding.