The BBC has confirmed it plans to close its Birmingham-based radio station Asian Network.

Mark Thompson, director general of the corporation, said the station, which is based at the Mailbox, was part of plans to cut back to save money. Another radio station, BBC 6 Music, is also set for the axe.

He also warned Radio 2 that it needed to "sharpen its distinctiveness in its range of music and speech".

The earliest the two stations will close will be at the end of 2011, Mr Thompson added.  The proposals have now been submitted to the BBC Trust and a consultation period will take place.

Speaking to staff, Mr Thompson also announced that there will be 25% less spent on BBC online by 2013.

Among the other closures will be teen services Switch and Blast, with Mr Thompson admitting Channel 4 should lead the way with these audiences.

He pledged that in the future 90p of every licence fee £1 will be spent on programming.

Confirmation of the cuts, which had already been leaked, sparked anger among staff, with warnings that hundreds of jobs could now be lost.

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the broadcasting workers' union Bectu, said up to 600 jobs could go.

"These cuts are totally unnecessary and are purely politically motivated," he said.

"It is obvious that the BBC is being bounced by its competitors and by the political climate ahead of the upcoming general election.

"It is not acceptable for the BBC to be offering up services and jobs as some kind of sacrifice ahead of the general election."

Union leaders will meet Mr Thompson on Wednesday but are already warning of industrial action to fight the cuts.

BBC 6 Music is one of the corporation's most successful digital-only stations and the closure plan has already provoked music industry protests.