Unions, musicians vent fury over BBC's plan to shrink services

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London, Feb. 27 (ANI): BBC's plans to shrink its operations by closing down two radio stations and shutting half of its websites in order to leave room for its rivals has not gone down too well with musicians and broadcasting unions, who have threatened to strike over job cuts.

Earlier, it emerged that BBC was going to announce the closure of the digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian Network next month in an attempt to appease a potential Conservative government by showing it that the Corporation understands the effect the deep advertising recession has had on commercial rivals.

BBC's web pages are likely to be halved, backed by a 25 per cent cut in staff numbers. Its 112 million pound budget will also be cut by 25 per cent.

The broadcasting unions have threatened industrial action over 600 potential job losses.

The proposal to shut Radio 6 Music also met with the fierce opposition and protest from the music industry, which claims that it is a key component in breaking new bands.

Over 60,000 people have joined online campaigns to save the station. The BPI, which represents the record industry, said that 6 Music was pivotal in kicking off the careers of bands including the Killers and the Ting Tings.

"This shows a fundamental misunderstanding about the way their music services work. 6 Music is not going to be replicated by the commercial sector," The Times quoted BPI Chairman Tony Wadsworth, as saying.

There was interest, however, from the BBC's commercial rivals.

Clive Dickens, the head of Absolute Radio, said that the station would bid to buy 6 Music from the BBC. Absolute has double the listeners of 6 Music, but less than half the budget.

"We would buy 6 Music from the BBC, both the brand and the network, and we'd run it more efficiently than they've been doing," Dickens said. (ANI)

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