• | 1:00 pm

BBC Arabic Radio service goes off air amid budget cuts

The BBC Arabic Radio that was launched in early 1938 from Egypt as the BBC Empire Service’s first foreign language radio broadcast, aired for the last time on Friday.

BBC Arabic Radio service goes off air amid budget cuts
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

As the media industry faces the brunt of inflation and dwindling budgets, major publications such as BBC are relooking their product offerings. In a recent announcement, after over eight decades of broadcasting, the BBC’s Arabic radio service went off the air on Friday.

The closure of the radio is part of a wider plan to cut costs to World Service channels and shift focus on digital content production.

Due to this decision, approximately 382 people will lose their jobs at the BBC World Service. The World Service had said it aims to save $35 million by closing Arabic and Persian radio stations, part of a broader attempt to save $618 annually. The corporation will also stop producing radio output in 10 other languages, including Chinese and Hindi.

The BBC said years of below-inflation license fee freezes imposed by the UK government and the increasing cost of producing programs are to blame for the cuts.

“Before the hard moment comes where we say our goodbyes, a moment that is tough for all of us, let’s celebrate what BBC radio gave back to us and celebrate those who gave their all to this service, those who have gone and those who are with us, and wish them the best for the remainder of their journey,” Mahmoud Almossallami, presenter at the BBC Arabic Radio tweeted. 

Several media veterans and industry professionals shared their thoughts about the closure on social channels. 

“It’s far beyond sad and painful to see @BBCArabic radio shutting down today, after nearly 85 years on air! It’s incredibly difficult to describe how we feel!” Sally Nabil, a BBC Arabic Correspondent, tweeted.

Emir Nader, a BBC Correspondent, tweeted: “Today is a tragic day for Arab media as BBC Arabic Radio has broadcast for the last time, after 85 years of service. One of many huge losses following cuts in BBC World Service’s budget.”

“End of an era @BBCArabic,” Martin Patience, senior producer at NPR, tweeted.

More Top Stories: