A closer look at BBC Asian Network’s changes in May

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As revealed on BizAsiaLive.com yesterday, the BBC Asian Network has announced a raft of new shows going on-air in May on the station.

Behind the headlines however, both weeknight and weekend lineups have suffered radical changes, with many presenters losing their only shows on the station. BizAsiaLive.com takes a closer look.

Weeknight Changes
Since January 2017, weeknight shows have been used to try and incubate new talent. Different presenters each night brought a diverse but perhaps unfocused offering, and this strategy has now been swept aside. Bobby Friction will be taking back his classic night time slot, in what must surely be his final attempt to revive the fortunes of British Asian music.

The following shows have been cancelled to make way for his return:

Monday – Mawaan and Emily
The only members of the January ‘17 intake to survive the cull with their show intact. The alternative duo get upgraded to a prominent spot on Saturday afternoons. Their success is a testament to the management’s increased focus on a younger and more diverse audience.

Tuesday – Waqas Saeed
Only in post since January of this year, it now looks like Waqas was a safe pair of hands to steer Tuesday nights until the change was announced. He keeps his Sunday show for now, but read on to see why the Sunday lineup appears far from safe.

Wednesday – New Music with Yasser
Yasser completely loses his role as the New Music presenter on Asian Network. This had been his main role since joining the station in 2012, but six years later he bows out with very little to show in terms of acts who have broken into the mainstream.

Thursday – Mim Shaikh
On paper Mim’s show was always interesting, with debates focused on a younger audience and more artistic guests such as spoken word artists. In practice though the right recipe was never found, so Mim leaves the station. He retains his prominent weekend breakfast shows on 1Xtra.

Friday – AJD
Taking over the reins from Jasmine Takhar back in January, the new presenter gets an instant upgrade to the Saturday night warmup slot. With a keen focus on mashing together urban and Asian music, AJD embodies the changes that have been going on behind the scenes with the 1Xtra and Asian Network management merger.

Saturday Changes
The Saturday lineup is changing to focus on more of a weekend party vibe from 4pm onwards, akin to Radio 1’s offering. The chart show is being compressed into the Friday night edition of Yasser’s new ‘Drive Time’ show.

Preeya Kalidas
Her cosmopolitan London style made her an ideal host for Asian and non-Asian guests alike, reflecting the increasing closeness between the station and 1Xtra. More recently she had used her show to champion Asian culture and music to key figures from the urban music scene, Kalidas moves to Sunday afternoons.

Kan D Man and DJ Limelight
The popular duo, who took over the Asian music show on Radio 1 and 1Xtra will be shifting from the Saturday night slot to a new Friday night band.

Sunday Changes
Sunday sees the welcome return of electronic music to the station, for the first time since the departures of Nerm and Pathaan way back in 2010.

Although the new show from rising Indian star Nucleya (Sundays 7pm-9pm) does not explicitly cancel any other show, it is parked across two existing slots. Both Dipps Bhamrah (Punjabi show 6pm-8pm) and Nadia Ali (Bengali show 8pm -10pm) will need to make adjustments. Does this signal the beginning of the end for Asian Network’s specific language programming on Sundays?

BizAsiaLive.com had attempted to reach out to the BBC Asian Network about further clarity on the new changes but at the time of publishing this article, we were still awaiting a response.

Updated: 30/03/2018

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