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How to serve British Asian communities? The dilemmas facing the BBC

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This article examines the BBC Asian Network digital radio station, which is tasked specifically to serve the ‘hard to reach’ British Asian diaspora. The station was established as a national digital service in 2002, expanded in 2006 and saved from closure in 2011. In 2016 the BBC’s Royal Charter included diversity as a key public goal, which requires the BBC to better reflect minority ethnic communities in the United Kingdom on-screen and behind the cameras. The BBC Asian Network needs to increase listener figures. However, interviews with staff working on the BBC Asian Network highlight how top down policies conflict with the needs of British Asian audiences. Specifically, this article argues that that long-standing core public service values that emphasize news and current affairs programmes and minority language promotion conflict with the BBC Asian Network’s goal to attract young audiences.
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Keywords: Asian diaspora; Asian network; BBC; British Asian; Public-Service Broadcasting; minority audiences

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: De Montfort University

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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  • The Radio Journal is committed to high-quality, diverse research in the arena of radio and sound media, from broadcast to podcast and all in between. We look for articles that explore the production, circulation and reception of radio and creative soundwork, addressing historical and contemporary issues in sound-based journalism and media studies from a wide range of national and transnational perspectives.
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