The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced slashing World Service program resulting in loss of 650 jobs and listeners to the tune of 30 million.

The move comes in the wake of funding reduced by 16 percent to the World Service by the UK Foreign Office in October 2010.

“BBC World Service is to carry out a fundamental restructure in order to meet the 16 per cent savings target required by the Government's Spending Review of 20 October last year,” a company statement said on Wednesday.

By cutting 650 of the total 2,400 jobs over the next two years, BBC aims to make annual savings of 46 million pounds ($73 million) by 2014.

This is a painful day for BBC World Service and the 180 million people around the world who rely on the BBC's global news services every week,” said Peter Horrocks, the BBC's global news director.

Of the total job cuts, 480 posts are expected to close over the next 12 months. And the number is expected to reach 650 by the time the BBC World Service moves in to the licence fee in 2014/15.

Axing the World Service would see complete closure of five language services – Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa and Serbian languages; as well as the English for the Caribbean regional service.

Closures of programmes titles from the World Service's main English language radio station include Politics UK, Europe Today, World Of Music, Something Understood, Letter From, and Crossing Continents.

However, a new schedule for World Service English language programming includes a focus on four daily news titles --BBC Newshour, BBC World Today, BBC World Briefing, and BBC World Have Your Say and a new morning programme for Africa.

Analysts said the slashing of World Service program would see its rival the US Voice of America (VOA) overtaking the BBC global audience number for the first time.