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

6 Music, Asian Network up for chop, says report

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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 needs to trim down its services to allow commercial rivals to compete.

The Register asked the BBC Trust this morning if it could comment on the latest rumours regarding the future of 6 Music and the Asian Network, after it published a review of the two stations earlier this month.

“We will not be commenting on press speculation about that,” a trust spokeswoman told us.

The Times reports that the BBC, which pulls in £3.6bn from its annual licence fee, will drop the two radio stations and put a cap on spending on broadcast rights for sports events of 8.5 per cent of the licence fee.

Thompson will also promise to kill off BBC Switch and Blast!, which is an online, TV and radio service intended for the teenage market that only launched in 2007.

The corporation’s 16 to 35-year-olds' channel BBC3 will remain intact, however.

It’s understood that a report penned by Auntie’s director of policy and strategy and onetime head of the Tory policy unit, John Tate, is being mulled by the BBC Trust and the findings will be made available next month.

Meanwhile, it is claimed that the BBC will halve its web output that will include a 25 per cent cull of staff in that wing of the corporation. Its £112m budget will also be cut by a quarter. The Times said the plans would see £600m redirected into “higher-quality content”. ®

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