March 27, 2011

BBC Caribbean Service makes final broadcast

The BBC Caribbean Service has made its final broadcast, ending seven decades of programming for the region.

The service is being shut as part of budget cuts announced by the BBC World Service in January.

BBC managers say they have had to make tough choices because of a 16% cut in UK government funding.

But one critic called it a short-sighted decision, showing the BBC did not understand the complexities of the region.

The Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian and Portuguese for Africa services have also been closed in a bid to to save $75m (£46m) a year.

Seven other language services have moved away from radio to focus on online, mobile and television content.

These include Spanish for Latin America which last month ended its remaining radio broadcasts, on short-wave and intended mainly for Cuba.

This week, members of the Caribbean Service team have each presented a final programme, including material from the BBC archives.

Copies of the sound and text content of the service's radio and online output are being donated to the University of the West Indies, which will have a team working at the BBC's Bush House base to catalogue the material.

Regional voice?
E-mails to the Caribbean Service overwhelmingly voiced sadness at its closure.

"It filled a great need for the Caribbean audience to have a view of the world not provided by local radio stations," wrote Jacqueline Sharpe in Trinidad and Tobago.

Regional media commentators have said the demise of the BBC Caribbean Service should spur renewed efforts to create a pan-Caribbean news network.

Read full article here.

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