In December, the BBC launched a local service for the community of Bradford, aptly named BBC Radio Bradford. Broadcasting with only two presenters during the pandemic, BizAsiaLive.com caught up with its Breakfast show host Rima Ahmed, who was selected from the ‘BBC New Voices’ talent hunt last year.
You recently started your stint as the Breakfast host of BBC’s newly launched BBC Bradford service, how has it been for you?
It’s been wild! Launching a breakfast show is mad enough but to be launching a brand new show on a brand new station is a proper “pinch me” scenario. I’ve also kept in mind how rare it is to have an opportunity like this in radio, so the adrenaline of it all has really kept me going.
As well as reporting about the pandemic in Bradford, how else have you been able to engage with the local community?
Everyday on the show we have real Bradford voices live on air chatting to us about local stories- and not just the “issues” but all the great things happening in and around the city. I think that’s been missing in the landscape of the conversation surrounding Bradford- just celebrating the every day heroes. Noticing and amplifying good works is more powerful than you think.
Feeling a sense of ownership and not having to be a second thought on a radio station that is named after and catering to a larger neighbouring city makes all the difference in the world.
What’s the biggest challenge for you to front the Breakfast show on BBC Bradford?
I have major alarm clock paranoia. I have to be up at around 3am and as a result, since the show started I’ve not only downloaded every sleep and alarm clock app available on the App Store, I’ve also bought a range of old fashioned clocks to test which one works best. I think I’ve cracked the perfect fail safe combination now- I have staggered alarms on my phone, tablet, and battery operated analogue alarm clock. My neighbours hate me.
How important is the BBC Bradford service for the local community?
It’s so important for Bradford to have a BBC station that’s for them and about them and that really understands them. Feeling a sense of ownership and not having to be a second thought on a radio station that is named after and catering to a larger neighbouring city makes all the difference in the world. We’re so privileged to be able to give Bradford the platform it deserves.
Your talent was discovered through the BBC New Voices hunt last year, what would you say to other budding presenters who are looking for a break on the BBC?
Don’t be shy about reaching out! No one in this industry has got to where they’re going by being quiet- you know who you are and what you can do so shout about it. Historically, it’s been about who you know which means working class and black/asian people have had to work so hard to even get a foot in the door, but the tide is changing. If there is someone you respect or admire, make the first move and get in touch. You really have nothing to lose while simultaneously having the potential to provide something unique within the BBC. I’m rooting for you!
Getting to wake this city up is such an honour, and honestly the most fun I’ve ever had. I say it all the time, but it really is the best job in the world!