Tag: asian network

Taz Challenges BBC Asian Network

7Apr

POSTED BY

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.13.10 AM

 

The BBC Asian Network was like the jewel in the crown for other Asian stations to look up to. Like most Radio presenters on Asian Radio …whether you admit it or not – most of us had escape dreams to join the BBC Asian Network.

I got plenty of BBC rejection letters that would make lovely wallpaper for my bedroom.

Even though I never got to present with them, I was still a listener and a fan. My favourites were Nihal (still love his debates and topics), Kayper, Sonnyji and Bobby Friction (the pre-antakshari Bobby Friction — sorry Bobby)

When the station was put on the chopping block in 2009, I sported the “Save BBC Asian Network” twitter ribbon on my twitter handle.  I also talked about the importance of the BBC Asian Network on 1170am in California.

The station was saved… presenters, artists and fans rejoiced. Until 2012 when the “Blood Bath” took place.

They changed the format to more Bollywood … less underground, Urban Desi and Bhangra (no more Friction lab)

We said goodbye to Kayper, Sonnyji, Dipps and Bobby got a co-host (which I thought was an insult to his intelligence) and when they started to do antakshari on air… I tuned out.

It’s never been quite the same and my argument was there were plenty of stations in the UK playing Bollywood all the time.

I still mourn for their old platform where ALL TYPES of genres were featured from Desi artists. That’s what made the Asian Network unique.

This past weekend I scrolled through my FB timeline and saw a long statement posted by Taz.  His track “Shake Ya Body” is currently at number four on the BBC Asian Network’s Download Chart.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 9.01.11 PM

But even though his song is number 4, allegedly AN refuses to put this in their playlist rota.

“My new single ‘SHAKE YA BODY’ has been Nos.1 in the iTunes download charts for 4 consecutive days last week as well as entering straight into Nos.4 in your very own BBC ASIAN NETWORK CHART this morning. YET the so-called Asian Network has REFUSED to playlist the single. BUT WHY? WHO and which FOOL is making these decisions?

THIS clearly says to me that THESE DECISION’S ARE BEING MADE by someone completely BIAS or simply ignoring the fact that the playlist should be made up of POPULAR MUSIC that is decided by PUBLIC DEMAND!!! Otherwise we would be not be in the charts at NOS.1 position.

Without naming names WHEN WE ASKED a member of their team WHY WE WERE NOT PLAYLISTED the reply was – “We did not like TAZ’S chorus.”

Shouldn’t the results of chart positions be simply down to popular demand and that should the basis upon which you put your chart together?”

In my personal experience, if I worked for a station that had a top 10 or 20 list – those songs would be constantly rotating throughout the day.

I forward Taz’s statement to the BBC press office and a BBC spokesperson issued this comment. I would encourage other media publications to press for a statement.

We wouldn’t normally issue a statement to another radio station. We only usually deal directly with press on any queries/complaints.

Therefore you should go ahead with your blog posting as planned, and if we are to issue a statement I shall let you know.”

**A BBC Spokesperson emailed me a statement

BBC Asian Network’s Playlist committee make the decision on whether to add a record based on two things: relevance and merit. When making these decisions we take into account a range of information – with the most critical element being our listeners. An artist or record should be relevant to BBC Asian Network’s primary target audience of 18-34 year olds. 

 Chart position on The Official Asian Download Chart (independently compiled for BBC Asian Network by The Official Charts Company) is just one factor that we take into account. A high chart placing does not guarantee a place on the BBC Asian Network playlist. There are always more contenders than spaces each week and we cannot add every record that gets released, irrespective of the artist.

 BBC Asian Network’s Playlist process is exactly the same as on Radio 1, Radio 2, 1Xtra and 6Music, with a Playlist committee comprised of a range of experience and input from across the station. Every station makes decisions that are informed by a range of editorial and audience factors. We recognise that music taste is subjective and we do not expect everyone to agree with every track on our playlist. But it is these decisions, along with unparalleled support for new British-Asian artists, that sets the BBC Asian Network apart from other stations and has helped us to deliver record audiences. Our audience enjoys the distinctive range of music that we support each week.

Taz is an artist who has been heavily supported by BBC Asian Network in the past, for almost 20 years, and because his new track “Shake ya Body” is not on the current playlist this does not mean that BBC Asian Network won’t play another Taz record in the future. 

An inside source told me he feels this was a political decision and the Asian Network has lost their identity.

“They have intentionally allowed the UK Asian music scene to slip because they cannot be asked to support. There is a conscious split of 75% Bollywood and 25% UK Asian music. UK Asian scene is getting marginalised,” the source revealed.

Artists like Ravi* who come from an Urban music background feels Asian Network tends to ignore artists from different genres.

“They are not interested in integrating, but truthfully they are segregating the scene.”

After Ravi’s calls and emails fell on AN’s deaf ears, he got the opportunity to go to America to meet a mainstream record label.

“Funny enough as soon as they heard this label took an interest in me, they acted like they supported me from day one. It’s a joke.” Says Ravi.

Ravi feels he doesn’t experience much backlash as before from presenters and producers, but he admits things could be better.

A DJ who has secured top 10 spots in the past on AN has had his tracks put in rotation.  He questions the chart making decisions because on the iTunes charts, he was at number one – but AN put him at number two.

But unlike Taz, his track was put in the playlist.

“If Taz made it to number four, he should be put on rotation.  If our fans are downloading our tracks and securing a spot for us on the AN Download chart – clearly they want to hear our music.” states the DJ.

Envy Worldwide who released “Shake Ya Body” stressed they’ve received good support from all media platforms, however they feel since the track is on the chart it shouldn’t be ignored on the playlist.

And like other artists that I’ve spoken to, Envy also feels the “Bollywood Fatigue” the dire need for a stronger platform to support British Asian artists and music made here in UK.

Perhaps BBC Asian Network should consider to have a town hall meeting for artists/DJs/Producers hosted by Bobby Friction (I still like you Bobby) regarding how the Download Chart process works.  It would help mend bridges and give artists a clear insight on the download chart.

*Names were changed

**Article revised BBC issued a statement

To support Taz and file a complaint click here

Here’s an old article I found on Media247.co.uk, keep in mind this was published in 2010. But the concept of the Chart show is stated here.  Perhaps a revision is in order?