I should, by rights, be smug about the troubles at the BBC Asian Network. To my surprise I’m not.
A few weeks ago, before all the recent turbulence, the station called time on my weekend specialist music show “Electro East” as well as canning my more serene colleague Pathaan. To apply the Asian Network’s analogy to an archetypal Asian family; Electro East was clearly a black sheep. The family didn’t understand it, and then dis-owned it. It’s like a scene from “East is East”!
Because of that my initial reaction to the story of the stations closure was “what goes around comes around”. In fact, it would be a tragic loss.
The Asian Network had made brave decisions in providing an outlet for new, underground music through my show and others. Alongside 6Music, both stations provide a vital pubic service that can’t be found anywhere else in the UK, if not the world. This platform is not only priceless to up and coming artists that simply can not get airplay anywhere else, but crucial to the fragile independent music industry as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been all perfect and rosy. I’ve fought every step of the way to make sure that these platforms are maintained. The public wants new underground music and I still find it strange that the Asian Network ridded itself of two shows that deliver that. I guess this is now a moot point.
Articles point to low listenership on both stations, but they’re collected via Rajar. This does not include one single internet listener. It’s well known that 6Music and Asian Network have a strong online following. The internet is clearly the future (a public point of contention to other media entities, including the paper that leaked the story) and disregarding those listeners seems rather antiquated.
Old fashioned values of impartiality, uniqueness and service are what helped make the BBC so great. To progress with the times would make it greater, while continuing to inform, educate and entertain.
It’d be devastating to lose two stations that provide platforms that do just that, with or without me.
As an update the only email address to send your thoughts to at the BBC is firstname.lastname@example.org