Culture Secretary “switches-on” new digital radio stations

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Tony Lit at Sunrise Radio National launch
Tony Lit at Sunrise Radio National launch

The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, yesterday heralded a major expansion of choice of DAB digital radio stations for Asian and British Muslim listeners in the UK as he performed the official switch-on of the UK�۪s second national DAB digital radio multiplex network at an industry conference, Drive to Digital: National Now, and urged listeners to retune to take full advantage of the range of services now available.

The landmark switch-on and Big Retune paves the way for listeners to access 18 national radio stations, representing a huge increase in choice for the British public, including three stations dedicated to Asian and British Muslim listeners ��� Sunrise Radio, Awesome Radio and Panjab Radio.

Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, said: ���This is a landmark moment for British broadcasting, bringing the biggest expansion in radio choice for a generation with a range of stations to meet the diverse interests, lifestyles and needs of Britain�۪s radio listeners. I am delighted that the new digital radio network is offering not just one but three great stations that will be of particular interest to Britain�۪s Asian and Muslim communities.�۝

Sunrise Radio, London�۪s number one mainstream commercial Asian radio station, will provide the UK�۪s young and growing South Asian population with music and entertainment not catered for by mainstream radio stations, setting the Asian culture in a Western context promoting integration and harmony, playing Bollywood Hits and Desi Punjabi beats.

Tony Lit, Managing Director, Sunrise Radio, said, ���I�۪ve often dreamt of the day Sunrise Radio would be available nationwide and many listeners have also requested this. So I�۪m absolutely thrilled that Sunrise Radio is now available to the Nation�۪s Asians. Sunrise Radio was the UK�۪s 1st 24 hour commercial Asian radio station and has remained London�۪s leading Asian radio station since it first went to air. Sunrise is now in its 27th year of broadcasting to London�۪s Asian community. Sunrise Radio provides young British Asians with an important link to their music, culture and heritage, and now it is available to all. These are very exciting times.�۝

Awesome Radio is a new radio station dedicated to British Muslim lifestyle, entertainment, music, nasheed and speech in the UK. The station is targeted at the open-minded, affluent, urban 14 – 44 age group and representative of all Muslim communities.

Shujat Ali, CEO, Awesome Radio, said, ���We are delighted to be providing the first ever national radio network aimed at British Muslims. With entertainment and shows reflecting the depth, breadth and mood of the Muslim community combined with our compelling package of Nasheed music and friendly, knowledgeable presenters, the Awesome network will be representative of all Muslim communities with the criteria for focused entertainment based on the three key pillars of engagement, education and ethics ��� an awesome combination!�۝

Panjab Radio aims to be inclusive to all people in the UK for whom Panjabi language or music is important, and has programmes with general appeal to Panjabi speakers of all faiths, consisting of music, news and speech programming mainly in Panjabi and English. Panjab Radio has been broadcasting for over 15 years and is currently available on Sky Digital and local multiplexes in London, as well as in Berlin and Oslo.

Surjit Singh Ghuman MBE, Managing Director, Panjab Radio, said, “This is an exciting step for Panjab Radio and we believe the time is right again for us to launch across the UK. We�۪re grateful to those who�۪ve supported this initiative and to our thousands of individual listeners across the UK. We�۪ve come a long way since our launch as a satellite station in September 2000, when we were only available on Sky and we hope listeners will retune today to now find Panjab Radio on DAB.�۝

Sunrise Radio and Panjab Radio launched nationally on 29th February. Awesome Radio will launch on DAB digital radio nationwide on a date to be confirmed. To ensure they can receive the stations listeners should retune their digital radios by pressing the retune or rescan buttons. To check which stations they can get and for more details about retuning listeners can go to www.getdigitalradio.com/retune.

Sound Digital, the UK�۪s second digital commercial radio network, is a joint venture company operated by Arqiva, Bauer Media and Wireless Group, featuring 18 digital radio stations, with 11 now on -air and the remaining seven launching by the end of March.

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