BBC Arabic stops after 85 years of radio broadcasting, no "This is London" anymore
Mere hours separate the Arab world from the end of an era, from hearing the very last bang of Big Ben followed by the words, "Huna London" or "This is London", as 85 years of Arab generations tuning up to the BBC Arabic radio service come to an end.
The broadcasting corporation made the decision last September driven by ongoing financial crisis in Britain. The corporation stated that high inflation rates and increasing expenses pushed it to make difficult decisions of closing down the Arabic broadcast and laying off hundreds of jobs.
This sent shockwaves in the medium, prompting questions of what the future has in store for radio broadcasting, if this is caused purely by economic reasons, or is it a change of heart of British media as Russia and China rise up.
The BBC, one of the world's most notable broadcasts, began its journey in 1920 at Marconi's factory with the iconic phrase, "This is London" The Arabic service was the first non-English broadcast from Britain, and it came in response to fascists Italian radio broadcast, Bari.
On the 3rd of January, 1938 News Anchor Ahmad Kamal Srour began the very first broadcast to the Near East region with "This is London .. Ladies and gentlemen we are broadcasting from London in the Arabic Language for the first time in history," Since then the BBC had established itself a beacon of reliability, integrity and steadiness.
From Nouakchott to Kuwait, from Portland Place or Bush house in 1940 or News Broadcasting House in 2012, the BBC, with its incomparable editorial values and highly efficient journalists, proved itself the most significant media outlet the Arab world has known.
2014 was the turning point as financing the Arabic broadcast was no longer under the jurisdiction of the ministry but joined the rest of the broadcasts within the TV tax bracket.
White House certified journalist and former BBC correspondent in Washington D.C. Atef Abduljawwad was deeply saddened by the news and attributed the closure of Arab language broadcast to current financial crisis in Britain, especially as the broadcast refuses revenue inducing advertisements.
On a phone call with KUNA, Abduljawwad relayed the story of his announcement of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, as he received confirmed news of Iraqi forces moving towards Kuwait and broadcasted the news immediately.
Al-Maslami spoke of his own experience in Kuwait, as he met up with avid listeners who have in their possession wonderful recordings of the programs.
BBC indicators affirm that radio broadcasting remains standing in defiance of the times as millions across the world crank up car radios listening to musical tunes or voices relaying hard-hitting news of the world.
With this, the words "Huna London" or "This is London" will no longer echo through radio waves but will fade into the distance.