Page last updated at 22:36 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 23:36 UK

BBC 6 Music and Asian Network increase online listeners

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Campaigners want to save Asian Network and 6 Music

The number of people who listen to threatened BBC radio station 6 Music online every week has gone up by 50% over the course of a year.

BBC Radio site usage data shows the average figure has risen from 88,897 in March 2009 to 133,653 in March 2010.

This was the biggest annual growth for any of the corporation's stations, and follows a public campaign to save it.

Sister station BBC Asian Network, which is also facing the axe, saw a 33% rise in its online listener numbers.

High profile support

The number of weekly unique users listening to the station online rose from 31,494 to 41,978 in the same March-to-March period.

The BBC has proposed scrapping both stations in its strategic review.

But supporters, including high profile musicians and politicians, have called for a rethink over the plans.

The latest figures show that 6 Music has more people listening to it online than BBC Radio 3.

The classical station saw a decline over the year with the 121,395 listeners in March last year cut by 20% to a weekly average of 97,342 listeners this year.

BBC 6 Music, which costs £9m to run, also registered more than 1.6 million live listening hours during the month of March - more than double the figure reached last year, while Radio 3 achieved 710,605 such hours.

Music industry figures have criticised the proposed cuts and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has launched a website - the Joy of 6 - to publicly demonstrate its support of 6 Music.

Union leaders have warned of strikes to fight any compulsory redundancies at the BBC as a result of the strategic review.

All of the proposed changes will have to be approved by the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, which will first conduct a public consultation.



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