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29 October 2014
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BBC Asian Network Goes Nationwide

The BBC Asian Network is launching as a digital audio broadcasting channel on Monday 28 October with a programme presented by Sonia Deol, broadcasting from London between 9.00am and noon.

Until now the Asian Network has been broadcasting in the Midlands and the North on medium wave frequencies.

The station will broadcast a mix of speech and music to second and third generation Asians.

Its sharp, contemporary tone and content is designed to reflect the issues that matter to British Asians.

Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music, said: "The Asian Network has already done sterling work at a local level.

"By going digital we have the opportunity to make it a national network available to the whole Asian community - almost half of whom live in London and the South East.

"In providing a national public service we will be able to reach a significant audience previously under-served by the BBC and develop a source of on and off-air talent which will enrich the wider BBC for the future."

Vijay Sharma, Head of the BBC Asian Network, described the new station: "A one stop shop for Asian communities where they can get daily national news, top international stories, big consumer stories and music ranging from the latest in British Asian sounds to old favourites.

"We are an outward-looking station with a role to hold a mirror up to the community so people see things which are a cause for celebration as well as less comfortable ones.

"We will show it as it is - if there is a hot issue to be talked about we certainly won't shy away from it and, in the process, probably annoy a few people, but that's what debate is all about."

Sonia Deol - who has joined the station from BBC London and is well known for her ability to engage with audiences - will focus on exploring topical issues ranging from social and personal ones to world politics.

Her first guests include leading politicians who will be talking to listeners, many of whom are deeply affected by the international situation in relation to Iraq.

Sonia Deol said: "My programme is all about the listeners, it's going to be highly interactive and in that sense quite unpredictable.

"Phone-ins on Asian radio can be cuddly and afraid to rock the boat but my show will be different. It's the only truly national phone-in for Asians that deals with the real issues in their lives."

Breakfast is presented by Gagan Grewal and will set the agenda for popular British Asian news.

Along with sports, traffic, travel and weather, mixed with the freshest music, the programme plans to become a must listen for UK Asians on their way to work.

A late night programme with Adil Ray showcases the latest music from British Asian and South Asian pop artists.

Adil is taking his show out to clubs across the UK, making sure that what's happening will be heard first on the BBC Asian Network.

Weekend programmes include the internationally renowned DJ Ritu with the latest news and views on bhangra and remix, Maz Khan who talks to the stars of Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood and Sanjeet Saund who presents an afternoon of sport, talking to Asian sporting personalities and using the resources of BBC Sport to provide up to the minute sporting action.

A relaunched website will complement the programmes, encouraging listener interaction via message boards and daily polls designed to discover what listeners think about topical issues and the music being played.

Daytime and weekend programmes mainly use English, while evening programmes offer Hindi-Urdu and regional languages such as Mirpuri, Gujarati, Bengali and Punjabi.

Notes to Editors

The Asian Network press pack (621 KB) is available here, in PDF format. You may require Adobe Acrobat Software to read PDF files which can be obtained here.



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