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BBC Switch and BBC Blast websites to close

Digital radio stations 6Music and Asian Network also axed

The BBC has confirmed that it is to close down the youth-oriented BBC Switch and BBC Blast creative websites in a bid to cut Corporation costs.

Last week, The Times leaked details of the cost-cutting measures BBC director-general Mark Thompson proposed. These included the BBC's science and youth creativity sites and the two DAB stations.

The latter move caused outcry, as BBC 6Music was widely seen as offering intelligent music programming in contrast to some of the BBC's more populist output. Twitter and Facebook campaigns plus a petition on the prime minister's website were set up to show support for the radio stations facing the axe.

However, the BBC has come under a great deal of pressure to limit its outlay and needed to make cuts somewhere. It has been widely criticised for expanding into areas that are not seen as core to its broadcasting remit, with its burgeoning list of niche radio stations and websites coming in for particular criticism. Many people have expressed anger at the TV licence fee, which is intended to provide quality TV and radio programming, being used for non-core projects.

Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general, says the organisation is to reduce the amount it spends on its online efforts by 25 percent by 2013. The two digital radio stations will close no earlier than the end of next year. Meanwhile, Radio 2 will undergo a reappraisal and "a sharpening of its remit".

Thompson publicly outlined his proposals to the BBC Trust this morning.


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