BBC Ara­bic ra­dio goes off air after 85 years of continuous broadcasting

BBC Arabic website and the BBC's social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) will continue to operate.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Arabic radio broadcasting journey on January 27 went off air, after 85 years of broadcasting media service.

The BBC announced in September 2022, that January 27, 2023 will be the date for the end of the journey that began in 1938, during which the radio built “great confidence” with its listeners around the world.

BBC Arabic radio, was launched on January 3, 1938 in London.

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“Here is London, ladies and gentlemen. We are broadcasting today from London in Arabic for the first time in history.” That is the voice of broadcaster Ahmad Kamal Sorour, and that is the first phrase that was launched by the British Broadcasting Corporation “BBC” in Arabic, on January 3, 1938. To be the beginning of the broadcast of the Arabic section of the world’s most famous radio.

BBC Arabic Radio finally stopped at 1 pm London time on Friday, January 27, with presenter Mahmoud Almossallami signing off with what called the station’s “prized slogan” — “This is London.”

However, the BBC Arabic website and the BBC’s social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) will continue to operate in addition to hosting existing and new audio programmes, the BBC said in a tweet.

The broadcaster said that its decision was based on the slogan “time changes, but does not stop”, announcing the start of plans to accelerate the pace of transformation of its services towards digital content and increase public influence around the world, in light of relentless efforts to save costs.

It added that the decision to close “is in line with the changes that have taken place in the needs of the public around the world, and the shift of more people towards digital news platforms.”

Almost 382 people will lose their jobs at BBC.

The BBC was set up by the British government but is funded by television license fees paid by the British public. Therefore, it is not funded by the state and maintains editorial independence.

BBC Arabio radio covered news of World War II and the Suez Canal crisis and its aftermath in 1956 of a “triple aggression” carried out by France, Britain and Israel against Egypt. 

BBC Arabic radio correspondents also covered most of the crises and all the Arab-Israeli wars, in addition to the Palestinian uprisings and the invasion of Iraq, which made it attract 40 million daily listeners.

Friday, January 27, 2023, was the day of the end of the journey, in which the “Big Ben” clock stopped transmitting the sound of its most famous bell on the “BBC” Arabic radio station, at the top of every hour, announcing the arrival of another hour during which more news and miscellaneous materials would be broadcast.

Many current or former workers expressed their astonishment at this decision, as this radio station – according to some – is not an ordinary radio station.

The farewell expressions were not limited to the BBC radio workers, but even those who passed through there in their previous years of work still had a good memory of the broadcaster, and they did not understand this decision.

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