BBC Asian Network announces schedule changes; Yasser to leave

BizAsia Correspondent



The BBC Asian Network as announced a schedule shake-up with ‘Drivetime’ presenter, Yasser set to leave.

From Monday 4th October, BBC Asian Network will introduce four brand new shows. As well as three new commissions coming from Birmingham, dedicated mixes and brand new Takeover DJs will be added to the weekly schedule.

BBC Introducing on The Asian Network is a bespoke new music offering that will be presented by Jasmine Takhar. Reflecting the station’s dedication to supporting new and upcoming artists, the two-hour weekly commitment (Tuesday’s, 8 – 10pm) will offer talent and listeners alike access to more fresh sounds than ever before. Based in the Midlands, presenter Jasmine Takhar is already part of the Asian Network family, she is currently the host of Weekend Breakfast and has most recently featured on BBC Three’s The Rap Game.

Jasmine Takhar says, “This one’s a personal victory for me. It’s such an honour to be the voice for brand new music with BBC Introducing. I’ve been championing rising talent and music from outside of London for the last few years and to be selected to host this show is a big deal. The British Asian music scene is thriving and it’s an amazing feeling knowing that I’ll be playing a huge part in selecting incredible new music that this scene has to offer. I’m absolutely buzzing!”

Continuing to champion new sounds and talent on the station, Asian Network’s popular Residency show will now make up Asian Network Takeover (Wednesday’s, 10pm – 12am). The new format will see six brand new DJs hosting a set for one month each and then returning six months later, giving even more support to diverse talent across the Asian music scene.

The first three DJs lined-up for Asian Network Takeover include DJ Goldtooth, DJ Kizzi and 2NV who will play sets from October – December 2021.

DJ Goldtooth is a Sri Lankan, Tamil producer and DJ, born and raised in South London. Trained in classic South Asian Carnatic music, Goldtooth’s signature style incorporates underground club music with Tamil inspired sounds. As an advocate of the UK underground club culture, DJ Goldtooth cites artists such a DMX, Metalheadz and Eskimo Dance as some of his musical influences.

West Londoner DJ Kizzi has grown up influenced by all of the sounds that multicultural London has to offer. From the age of 17, Kizzi has performed at some of the biggest Asian events in the UK including Desi Beats and has previously been supported by BBC Asian Network for their Christmas Party and BBC Asian Network’s Residency.

2NV is a DJ and producer who has been a part of the scene for over ten years. A champion of the UK Bhangra sound and Urban Desi beats, last year 2NV released his debut album ‘All or Nothing’. 2NV regularly works with upcoming artists through online sessions and cites some of his key music inspirations as Bally Jagpal, Rishi Rich and Steel Banglez.

In addition, Asian Network Chill will launch as a brand new BBC Sounds commission. Presented by Serena, the programme will give listeners the chance to unwind to chill sounds from across the UK and around world for an hour every Monday night (9 – 10pm). Serena who is also based in Birmingham first came to the station in March 2021 through BBC Asian Network’s biggest talent search in its history – Asian Network Represents. Within seven months, Serena has presented Weekend Breakfast, presented on behalf of Noreen Khan and will now front another network first.

Serena says: “I’m super excited for my new show Asian Network Chill, bringing you the ultimate chill out sounds you can unwind to. I love my slower jams and I can’t wait to share with everyone my song selections including my chill and chai tracks.”

From Monday 4th October, BBC Asian Network’s Big Debate will transform into a fresh news, music and entertainment programme focused on current and trending topics around the world (Monday – Thursday, 3 – 6pm). Presented by Ankur Desai, the brand new show will keep listeners up to date across Asian Network airwaves and for the first time, Ankur Desai’s show will include a separate podcast, which will delve into more challenging topics and all the extra bits that don’t make it to air. The weekly podcast will be available on BBC Sounds.

Ankur Desai says, “I am super excited to launch this brand new programme which will be the platform to air and share your views and always put listeners at the centre of the conversation. I want them to set the daily agenda and join in the chat and get gassed about whatever is trending on the timeline. I want this to be the first port of call for British Asians to turn to when they want their fix of News, Sport and Entertainment with plenty of healthy debate about issues which are at the heart of our rich and diverse communities.”

Ahmed Hussain, Head of BBC Asian Network says, “This is an exciting time for everyone involved and it’s the biggest change the station has seen in a generation. The new changes reflect our growing audience and how they consume our content. We’re now able to offer much more for our audience to explore and listen to on BBC Sounds, with regular mixes on the radio and on-demand, as well as a focus on new music. We’re also stamping our authority in Birmingham with three brand new shows and moving forward on the success of the Big Debate with a brand new look and feel to the delivery of our news and current affairs programming on the station.”

BBC Asian Network will be saying goodbye to Yasser who will present his final Drivetime show on Thursday 30th September. Yasser has been a staple at the station for nine years, starting his journey through BBC Introducing.

Yasser says, “From starting out as the BBC introducing host to Drivetime and everything in between, I’ve had the best time at the Asian Network and I’ve achieved everything I set out to do. I feel now is the best time to start a new adventure. Thank you to all the listeners and staff at the Asian Network, I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”

Ahmed Hussain, Head of BBC Asian Network says, “I’d also like to say a massive thank you to Yasser for his years of dedication to the station and I’m excited to see where his next adventure takes him”.