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Reviewing radio station

BBC Asian Network Service Licence. Issued 7 April 2008

BBC Asian Network

 BBC Asian Network provides speech and music output appealing to

British Asians, with a strong focus on news and current affairs. It should be primarily in English, but some programming should be provided in a range of Asian languages.

The target audience is British Asians under 35 but the station should also

Appeal to anyone with an interest in British Asian issues, music and culture.

BBC Asian Network is available every day for general reception in the UK on DAB digital radio, Medium Wave in parts of the country (various frequencies), digital television platforms and it may be simulcast on the internet.

The service may offer its programmes streamed on-demand for a limited period after Broadcast.1 It may also offer broadcast radio content for download for an unlimited period of time after broadcast, although this must not include unabridged readings of published works nor full track commercial music nor classical music (even if recorded by the BBC), 2 and other interactive station and programme-related content via bbc.co.uk. Broadcast audio programmes may be visually enhanced.

If you want to listen back to the programme you can download the pod casts which are free to download so you can listen back to them.  

 Download of  music in the form of incidental music, signature tunes or clips of up to two minutes duration within speech based programmes with a specifically musical theme is permitted .This may include video related to output created for BBC broadcast, but should not include the commercial purchase of unrelated video rights.

BBC Asian Network programmes  exhibit all of the following

characteristics: high quality, original, challenging, innovative and engaging, and it should nurture UK talent.

BBC Asian Network should deliver its remit through an approximately 50:50 split of

music and speech, with the precise balance varying over the course of the week.

Speech output should include a strong focus on accurate, impartial and independent

news and current affairs, together with debate, drama, entertainment and sport.

The music played should include a broad range of South Asian-influenced music, with

a particular emphasis on new and live music and British Asian artists. During the day

an extensive playlist should form the backbone of the schedule, while evening and

weekend programmes should focus on more specialised areas.

Language programming should aim to appeal both to people who are fluent and to

those who wish to develop their knowledge.

BBC Asian Network should provide high quality content that encourages radio

listening via digital platforms, especially among young British Asians. The broadcast

output should be supported by a complementary online service with some use of

visual enhancements and listeners should be encouraged to interact and communicate

with each other and the station. BBC Asian Network should use new technologies to

broaden its reach and ensure its audiences have the maximum opportunity to access

programmes as and when they want.

BBC Asian Network should contribute to BBC Radio’s commitment to commission

some output from independent producers.

 Part II: Contribution to public value

5. Contribution to the promotion of the BBC’s public purposes

5.1 Sustaining citizenship and civil society

BBC Asian Network should make a very important contribution to this purpose

amongst its audience, primarily through its strong focus on accurate, impartial and

independent news and current affairs presented in an accessible style for its target


Complex issues should be explained and placed into context to help the audience

develop a greater understanding of UK and international events. Listeners should be

encouraged to explore a broad range of subjects, to share their experiences, and to

be offered regular opportunities to engage in debate. BBC Asian Network should also

regularly offer discussion programmes and specially commissioned documentaries

providing in-depth analysis on issues relevant to the audience.


BBC Asian Network should:

• Ensure that content is approximately 50% speech and 50% music each year

5.2 Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence

BBC Asian Network should make an important contribution to this purpose amongst

its audience by providing a platform for new and established British Asian talent.

In its music output, BBC Asian Network should cover a wide range of genres with an

emphasis on new music and on nurturing and developing new acts. Through its

broadcasts of live performances it should seek to support and increase the

appreciation of live music.

The station should commission radio drama relevant to its audience and encourage

new writing, directing, and performing talent.

The station should find and develop new production and presentation talent.

4 Daytime is defined as 06.00–19.00hrs, Monday-Friday and 08.00-14.00hrs, Saturday-Sunday


BBC Asian Network should:

• Ensure that at least 40% of the music in daytime4 is from UK artists. each


• Contribute to BBC Radio’s commitment to commission at least 10% of

eligible hours of output from independent producers

5.3 Reflecting the UK’s nations, regions and communities

BBC Asian Network should make an important contribution to this purpose amongst

its audience by responding in its output to the diversity of the UK Asian population in

terms of geography, interests, ethnicity, and religion. It should stimulate, support and

reflect the diversity of cultural activity in the UK, within the defined scope of the


As a UK-wide, rather than local, service it is aimed at the whole UK Asian population,

and it should address the needs and interests of a wide range of Asian communities in

the UK, giving a broad and fair view of them, reflecting them back to themselves and

to the wider community. Its news and current affairs should reflect the voices of the

different British Asian communities. Daily phone-ins should seek to encourage debate

and reflect opinion from around the UK. Programmes in Hindi/Urdu, Bengali,

Gujarati, Mirpuri and Punjabi, should seek to connect listeners with each other, and

with their cultural and linguistic roots.

A broad range of music should be played, encouraging listeners to appreciate music

from communities and cultures they may never have come across before. BBC Asian

Network’s coverage of religion and festivals should aim to put British Asians in touch

with each other and with their spiritual roots. The station should also play a role in

pan-BBC social action and community campaigns of significance to the BBC Asian

Network audience, bringing people together to participate in related programmes and


BBC Asian Network’s online presence should facilitate and support the growth of

communities of interest, providing forums for online communities where they can

discuss the news and set their own agenda.


BBC Asian Network should:

• Broadcast an average of three to five hours of language programming every


5.4 Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK

BBC Asian Network should contribute to this purpose amongst its audience,

primarily by bringing the world to the UK. Its news and current affairs output should

regularly cover international events and issues. The station should give the audience

the opportunity to debate and share knowledge with people around the world

through phone-ins, simulcasts, live link-ups, and use of guests from other countries, as

well as through its online communities. The station should regularly use its

relationship with communities around the world, particularly in the Indian sub-

continent, to help British Asians connect with their roots.

The music played should include international artists. International sports coverage

should reflect the particular interests of British Asians.

5.5 Promoting education and learning

BBC Asian Network should play its part in contributing to this purpose amongst its

audience, primarily by providing opportunities for informal learning. Its language

programming should be aimed at listeners who may speak English as a first language. It

should aim to link British Asians with their linguistic roots in an engaging way.

BBC Asian Network should take part in pan-BBC social action and learning initiatives

when they are relevant to the station’s audience.

5.6 Emerging communications

The BBC’s sixth public purpose is defined in the Charter as "in promoting its other

purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications

technologies and services and, in addition, taking a leading role in the switchover to

digital television".

BBC Asian Network should contribute to the promotion of this purpose in a variety

of ways which are described in this Service Licence.

6. Annexes to this Licence

6.1 Annex I – Performance assessment

The performance of BBC Asian Network will be assessed by the Trust using the

framework described in Annex I. BBC Asian Network’s compliance with any

Conditions, as described in section 5, will also be measured on an annual basis and

reported in the Annual Report and Accounts.

The BBC Trust will expect BBC Asian Network to comply with the commitments

described in sections 4 and 5 of the Service Licence. The BBC Trust will monitor

compliance with these commitments retrospectively as part of its periodic service

reviews and/or on an exceptional basis if there is evidence or allegation of non-


7. Operation of this Service Licence by the BBC Trust

For details of how the BBC Trust operates this Service Licence, please see the

Service Licence Operating Framework. This is available from www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust

or upon request from the BBC Trust Unit.

5 Charter, article 24 (c)

6 Agreement, clause 14

7 For all BBC services

8 Including repeats

Annex I: Performance measurement framework


The BBC Trust has the function of assessing the performance of the Executive Board

in delivering the BBC’s services and activities and holding the Executive Board to

account for its performance.5 It will use the framework described below as the basis

for its assessment of BBC Asian Network.

The framework is based around the four drivers of public value: Reach, Quality,

Impact and Value for money and it includes measurement of the five content

characteristics, as described in the BBC Agreement6: high quality, challenging, original,

innovative and engaging.

The Trust can amend this framework without this constituting formal variation to this

Service Licence.

Performance measurement framework

Reach: BBC Asian Network should contribute towards the maintenance of combined

BBC weekly reach7 at over 90% by aiming to increase its own weekly reach,

particularly amongst its stated target audience.

It should contribute towards on-demand consumption of content. This will be

measured by weekly reach of non-DRM audio downloads over the internet.

Quality: audience approval of BBC Asian Network and perceptions of it as high quality

and innovative. Also, the proportion of originated programmes across all hours8

Impact: licence fee payer awareness of BBC Asian Network and audience perceptions

of BBC Asian Network as engaging and challenging.

Value for money: BBC Asian Network’s cost per listener hour.

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