Thursday, January 27, 2011

BBC World Service cuts outlined to staff

The BBC has confirmed plans to close five of its 32 World Service language services.

Staff have been informed that up to 650 jobs will be lost from a workforce of 2,400 over the next three years. 

The Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian services will be axed, as will English for the Caribbean and Portuguese for Africa, in a bid to save ?46m a year.

Audiences are estimated to fall by more than 30 million, from 180 million to 150 million a week.

Director general Mark Thompson said it was "a painful day" for the BBC. 

Writing in the Telegraph, he said the cuts would "inevitably have a significant impact on the audiences who use and rely upon the relevant services".

Yet he said they were "consistent with our long-range international goals and strategy" and that "supporters of the international role of the BBC should not despair".

The service, which started broadcasting in 1932, currently costs ?272m a year and has an audience of 241 million worldwide across radio, television and online.

Last October the government announced the BBC would take over the cost of the World Service from the Foreign Office from 2014.
According to Mr Thompson, the cuts were necessary due to last autumn's Spending Review.

Radio programming in seven languages - Azeri (the official language of Azerbaijan), Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish for Cuba, Turkish, Vietnamese and Ukrainian - will end as part of the plans.

Instead there will be more focus on online, mobile and TV content distribution in these languages.

The World Service will also cease short-wave transmission of six more services in March 2011 - Hindi, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Nepali, Swahili and the Great Lakes service (for Rwanda and Burundi).

The BBC said two-thirds of jobs would go in the first 12 months.

Unions have called the moves "ferocious" and have condemned the "drastic cuts".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said that the World Service was "vital" and "should be protected".

The NUJ said it would hold a demonstration outside the World Service headquarters in central London on Wednesday.

It has also written to the chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, Richard Ottaway, and the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, John Whittingdale, calling on them to review the plans.

According to the NUJ, the "drastic cuts" would "severely damage the national interest of the UK".

"These ferocious cuts to a valued national service are ultimately the responsibility of the coalition government, whose policies are destroying quality public services in the UK," Mr Dear said. 

Broadcasting union Bectu has also expressed dismay, saying the cuts "must be challenged".

It said the union "expects calls for industrial action" and that "at this stage we cannot rule anything in or out".

BBC global news director Peter Horrocks said the closures were "not a reflection on the performance of individual services or programmes". 

"They are all extremely important to their audiences and to the BBC," he said.

"It is simply that there is a need to make savings due to the scale of the cuts to the BBC World Service's grant-in-aid funding from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

"We need to focus our efforts in the languages where there is the greatest need and where we have the strongest impact."

Former World Service managing director Sir John Tusa described the cuts as "bad, bad, bad". (from BBC web page)

BBC World Service cuts language service

BBC World Service cuts language services and radio broadcasts to meet tough Spending Review settlement

BBC World Service gave details of its response to a cut to its Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office today.

BBC World Service is to carry out a fundamental restructure in order to meet the 16 per cent savings target required by the Government's Spending Review of 20 October last year.
To ensure the 16 per cent target is achieved and other unavoidable cost increases are met BBC World Service is announcing cash savings of 20 per cent over the next three years. This amounts to an annual saving of ?46m by April 2014, when Grant-in-Aid funding comes to an end as BBC World Service transfers to television licence fee funding, agreed as part of the domestic BBC's licence fee settlement announced on the same day.

In the first year, starting in April 2011, the international broadcaster will be making savings of ?19m on this year's operating expenditure of ?236.7m (2010/11). 

The changes include: 

- five full language service closures; 
- the end of radio programmes in seven languages, focusing those services on online and new media content and distribution; and
- a phased reduction from most short wave and medium wave distribution of remaining radio services.

BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks said: "This is a painful day for BBC World Service and the 180 million people around the world who rely on the BBC's global news services every week. We are making cuts in services that we would rather not be making. But the scale of the cut in BBC World Service's Grant-in-Aid funding is such that we couldn't cope with this by efficiencies alone. 
"What won't change is the BBC's aim to continue to be the world's best known and most trusted provider of high quality impartial and editorially independent international news. We will continue to bring the BBC's expertise, perspectives and content to the largest worldwide audience, which will reflect well on Britain and its people."

BBC World Service also plans spending reductions and efficiencies across the board, targeted in particular in support areas where there will be average cuts of 33 per cent. 
BBC World Service also expects to generate additional savings from the new ways of working after the move to the BBC's London headquarters at Broadcasting House in 2012, and also by the transfer of BBC World Service to television licence fee funding in April 2014.
Under these proposals 480 posts are expected to close over the next year. 
By the time the BBC World Service moves in to the licence fee in 2014/15 we anticipate the number of proposed closures to reach 650. Some of these closures may be offset by new posts being created during this period.
It is expected that audiences will fall by more than 30 million from the current weekly audience of 180 million as a result of the changes this year.
The changes have been approved by the BBC Trust, the BBC Executive and, in relation to closure of services, The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, as he is required to do under the terms of the BBC's agreement with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The changes in detail are:

Full language service closures

There will be the complete closure of five language services - Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa and Serbian languages; as well as the English for the Caribbean regional service.

End of radio programming

BBC World Service will cease all radio programming - focusing instead, as appropriate, on online, mobile and television content and distribution - in the following languages: Azeri, Mandarin Chinese (note that Cantonese radio programming continues), Russian (save for some programmes which will be distributed online only), Spanish for Cuba, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian. 

Reductions in short wave and medium wave radio distribution

There will be a phased reduction in medium wave and short wave throughout the period. 
English language short wave and medium wave broadcasts to Russia and the Former Soviet Union are planned to end in March 2011. The 648 medium wave service covering Western Europe and south-east England will end in March 2011. Listeners in the UK can continue to listen on DAB, digital television and online. Those in Europe can continue to listen online or direct to home free-to-air satellite via Hotbird and UK Astra. By March 2014, short wave broadcasts of the English service could be reduced to two hours per day in Africa and Asia.
BBC World Service will cease all short wave distribution of its radio content in March 2011 in: Hindi, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Nepali, Swahili and the Great Lakes service (for Rwanda and Burundi).
These radio services will continue to be available for audiences by other means of distribution such as FM radio (direct broadcasts and via partners); online; mobiles and other new media devices. 
Short wave broadcasts in remaining languages other than English are expected to end by March 2014 with the exception of a small number of "lifeline" services such as Burmese and Somali. 

English language programmes

There will be a new schedule for World Service English language programming - a focus on four daily news titles (BBC Newshour, BBC World Today, BBC World Briefing, and BBC World Have Your Say); and a new morning programme for Africa. There will be a new daily edition of From Our Own Correspondent; and an expansion of the interactive World Have Your Say programme.
There will be a reduction from seven to five daily pre-recorded "non-news" programmes on the English service. This includes the loss of one of the four weekly documentary strands. Some programmes will be shortened. Titles such as Politics UK, Europe Today, World Of Music, Something Understood, Letter From., and Crossing Continents will all close. There will also be the loss of some correspondent posts.

Audience reduction

Audiences will fall by more than 30 million as a result of the changes announced on 26 January 2011. Investments in new services are planned in order to offset further net audience losses resulting from additional savings in the 2012-14 period.

Professional Services

There will be a substantial reduction in an already tight overhead budget. Teams in Finance, HR, Business Development, Strategy, Marketing and other administrative operations will face cuts averaging 33 per cent.
Job losses

Under these proposals 480 posts would be declared redundant; of these 26 posts are currently unfilled vacancies. BBC World Service is proposing to open 21 new posts. Therefore the net impact of these proposed changes could result in up to 433 posts being closed this financial year against a total staff number of 2400.
By the time the BBC World Service moves in to the licence fee in 2014/15 we anticipate the number of proposed closures to reach up to 650. Some of these closures may be offset by new posts being created during this period. 

(BBC World Service Press Office)


Alokesh Gupta, VU3BSE
New Delhi 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Special broadcasts by AIR for Republic Day 2011

All India Radio will broadcast following special programs in connection with
the Republic Day celebrations on 26th January,2011

25 January 2011: 1330 UTC onwards President Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil
will address to the nation. This will be broadcast by all stations of AIR.
Delhi frequencies are 5015 6030 6085 9575 & 9835.
Regional stations on SW are using 60 MB frequencies at that time.
Look out especially Kohima 4850 (1000 to 1630 UTC).

26 January 2011: Running Commentary of Republic Day parade from 0350 UTC

Hindi : 6155(Bengaluru 500 kW); 11620(Aligarh 250 kW); 15135(Delhi 50
kW), 9595 (Delhi).
English : 5990(Delhi 250 kW); 9810 (Delhi 50 kW); 11830 (Delhi 50 kW);15050
(Bengaluru 500 kW)

The following regional stations will change from their Morning frequencies
on 60 Meters (4 & 5 MHz frequencies ) to their day time frequencies between
0335-0350 UTC as follows:

4965 Jammu ? (Off air)
5985 Ranchi ? (Off air)
6000 Leh
6040 Jeypore
6065 Kohima
6085 Gangtok
6150 Itanagar
6190 Delhi
7230 Kurseong
7240 Mumbai
7280 Guwahati
7295 Aizawl
7315 Shillong
7325 Jaipur
7440 Lucknow

So some unusual reception of AIR stations can be observed.

The following stations are already scheduled to be on air daily at this time
and will also relay the running commentry.

6020 Shimla
6110 Srinagar
7210 Kolkata
7290 Thiruvanthapuram
7335 Imphal
7380 Chennai
7390 Port Blair
7420 Hyderabad
7430 Bhopal

Please send your reception reports to :

Alokesh Gupta
New Delhi

Tune in for more: 575 new FM channels set to sing

By January 2012, there would be over 800 new FM channels all over the country. There are about 225 private FM channels in India at present. A group of ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, on Wednesday cleared a decision to hold an e-auction for the process of allowing FM Phase III.

Full story at :


Alokesh Gupta, VU3BSE

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thirukkural for iPhone launched

Thirukkural for iPhone launched
Developed by:
Hypertrix Infolabs Pvt. Ltd.

Thirukkural, originally written in Tamil more than 2000 years ago, is now launched for iPhones. The masterpiece is the most translated, only next to Bible.

The couplets and their meaning are well laid out in this iPhone application which makes any chapter or couplet easily accessible. 
The powerful search facility helps in searching  the couplets either by number or by word. The Send SMS and Send e-mail facility helps us in sending out specific couplets to mobile or email contacts. iThirukkural handles the  Tamil Thirukkural  and its English translation.
iThirukkural can be downloaded as a free application from Apple Store []


K. Kalyanasundaram <