BBC World Service to end 10 radio services and cut 382 job positions

The BBC is proposing to close 382 job positions and end radio services around the world in Arabic, Persian, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Hindi, Bengali, Chinese, Indonesian, Tamil, and Urdu.

The proposals are part of a plan to move the BBC World Service to a digital-first service and are subject to consultation with staff and trade unions.

Director General Tim Davie previously announced World Service’s budget would be reduced by £30M as part of a digital-first BBC blueprint.

The BBC World Service will continue to operate in all the languages and countries where it is currently present, including the new languages added during its expansion in 2016. No language services will close.

Some TV and radio programmes will cease under the new plans including BBC Arabic radio and BBC Persian radio.

World Service English will continue to operate as 24 hour broadcast radio, available around the world. Some new scheduling, programmes and podcasts will be set out in due course by the BBC.

Director of BBC World Service Liliane Landor says: “The role of the BBC has never been more crucial worldwide. The BBC is trusted by hundreds of millions of people for fair and impartial news, especially in countries where this is in short supply. We help people in times of crisis. We will continue to bring the best journalism to audiences in English and more than 40 languages, as well as increasing the impact and influence of our journalism by making our stories go further.

“There is a compelling case for expanding our digital services across the World Service in order to better serve and connect with our audiences. The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing.”

The proposed changes to the World Service include (from the BBC press release):

  • Focusing on our own platforms and presence in markets, and reducing the volume of syndicated TV and radio content on partners’ platforms in some territories. A focus on impact, rather than reach, means we need more audiences to come to our platforms. This is where audiences most closely associate with the BBC and where we can build long-term engagement.


  • Creating a new centralised digital-first Commissioning and Newsgathering Content Production Hub to create high-impact content for distribution across all non-English language services.


  • Moving some production out of London and closer to audiences to drive engagement, for example moving the Thai service from London to Bangkok, the Korean service to Seoul, the Bangla service to Dhaka and the Focus On Africa TV bulletin to broadcast from Nairobi.


  • Bringing together long-form content activity such as investigations and documentaries made by Africa Eye, the Investigations Unit and BBC Arabic documentaries to ensure a more collaborative approach across our platforms and services to enable stories to travel further across the world, as well as in the UK.


  • Creating a new China Global Unit based in London to tell the global story of China to the world.


  • Creating a dynamic Africa content hub that commissions and delivers original, distinctive and impactful digital first content for all 12 African language services, digital, TV/Radio, plus coverage of the continent for the rest of the BBC.


  • Continuing linear TV broadcasting for both Arabic and Persian languages and investing in building audio and other digital capability in Arabic and Persian to replace radio.


  • Closing some radio services, for example Arabic, Bangla, Persian and some TV programming on local broadcasters across Africa and Asia.


  • World Service English making changes to its content and schedules which will allow investment in new initiatives, including a new podcast for younger audiences globally, and developing the podcast offer more broadly. The station also plans to launch a new hour-long science strand from the new science unit in Cardiff, as well as adding more live news and sports programming to the schedule.

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2022 at 1:10 pm by Roy Martin

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