BBC Asian Network announces new schedule and new talent

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Ahead of its 10th birthday next month, Asian Network announces a new schedule which aims to capitalise on the station’s two successive record RAJAR performances and ensure that it remains relevant to and reflective of all the UK’s Asian communities. Going live on 22nd October, the network will broadcast from its two new consolidated centres, The Mailbox in Birmingham and New Broadcasting House, London.

Listeners’ favourites Tommy Sandhu, Nihal, Noreen Khan and Bobby Friction remain at the very heart of the schedule during the week. Tommy will be setting his alarm an hour earlier as his Breakfast Show is extended, starting at 6am. Nihal keeps the nation talking, takes his phone-in show to the morning from 10am. Noreen also kicks off her new longer show earlier, taking the full afternoon slot from 1.30 – 5pm. While Bobby launches the new music and entertainment show with a new broadcasting partner, bringing his passion for new music into the mainstream alongside Anushka Arora from 5.30 – 9pm.

Anushka is just one of three new presenters joining the network. She will join Asian Network from Sunrise Radio where she presented as Deepa Rai. Suzi Mann also arrives fresh to Asian Network to host the new Saturday Asian Download Chart Show from 3 – 6pm. Inheriting Bobby Friction’s mantel of specialist new music champion is newcomer 23-year-old Mancunian Yasser. Recognised three times at the National Student Radio Awards, Yasser said: “I’m proud to be joining the Asian Network and honoured to be taking over from Bobby Friction. I have been a dedicated listener since the show first began and I’m super keen to be championing new British-Asian talent.”

Bobby Friction said: “This is a big new chapter for me as a broadcaster. I’m excited to have the opportunity to present in prime-time and to be able to continue to support great music from the UK and globally with Anushka. I’m also happy that the BBC Introducing legacy will continue as I pass the baton to a new talent that I have mentored for the past 5 years.”

Rounding off weekdays, Ray Khan will host the late night Hindi/Urdu slot from 9pm and Gagan Grewal moves to the all-new weekend Breakfast show. Raj and Pablo stay in their weekend morning home with even more movies from Bollywood and beyond and Murtz continues with the Saturday Request Show. That’s followed by Suzi Mann on the Chart and the Panjabi Hit Squad will continue to pump up Saturday nights with Kan-D-Man and Limelight from 9pm. Saturday’s raft of new regional language programmes – including the new home for Bhangra music – will be announced next month prior to their launch in December.

News also remains at the heart of the schedule with Asian Network Reports – the station’s flagship half-hour news programme – broadcasting twice daily every weekday. The full schedule is detailed below.

Controller Radio 2, 6 Music and Asian Network Bob Shennan said: “Asian Network is growing in reach and popularity and it’s essential that we continue to celebrate, champion and reflect the lives of all the UK’s Asian Communities. Our tenth birthday feels like the right time to refresh and re-energise our schedule, keeping our listeners’ favourites at the heart of the network whist bringing some dynamic, exciting new talent to the airwaves.”

Asian Network Head of Programmes Mark Strippel added: “This is the right moment to build on our recent RAJAR results and an impressive summer of distinctive content with a new streamlined schedule focusing on the very best of Asian Network. It’s important that we continue to evolve and strengthen our engagement with audiences. We’d like thank all of our departing DJs for their significant contribution and we wish them the very best for the future.”

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