Interview: Club Asia’s Sumerah Srivastava

Raj Baddhan

Senior Editor

396 caught up with one of the directors of Club Asia, which currently sits in administration.

Sumerah Srivastava spoke to about how she feels about the current status…

How have you been feeling since the news emerged about Club Asia’s administration?
After 8 years work (6 years on-air) I was obviously saddened by these turn of events. However Humerah and I made the decision to place the company into administration in order to best satisfy the creditors of the company and to preserve the business and its licence so that a potential future buyer could continue the business.

Did you ever consider partnering up with a third party to revive the station’s fortunes?
Yes of course. However funnily enough none were forthcoming. In hindsight I believe potentially interested parties were infact awaiting the company�۪s demise so that they could then pick up the pieces at a fraction of the cost.

What best memories have you got of the station?
Too many to mention. They range from meeting the many fans of the station to meeting the Queen. Overall I am proud of what two outsiders accomplished within what is a tough industry and I would like to thank to all of those people who extended a hand of friendship and helped us along the way.

Club Asia has been known as a unique station with it’s positioning, branding and did the idea of Club Asia come about to you?
Club Asia as a brand epitomises young Asian popular culture. However it is much more than the sum of its respective radio parts of music, presenters, content and position. At its core is an ethos, a way of doing things, a representation of an ideal for our community. At a basic level Club Asia represented the way I believe young Asians wished to identify themselves as individuals and as a community. I�۪m incredibly passionate about the brand, the idea for which was initially an extension of myself which then evolved to fill a void for many others, and whilst the business is going through a transition the brand is stronger than ever and I will make sure the brand continues to grow and prosper in the coming weeks, months and years.

If Club Asia’s sale is successful, will the name/brand also go with it or will you retain that?
The Club Asia brand belongs to Humerah and I. If the successful buyer of the radio business wishes to license the brand name for the purposes of their radio broadcast then they may do so via a separate agreement with us. Any potential licence deal will only be negotiated once Mazars has agreed the sale of the radio business.

What next for the infamous Ahmed sisters?
As owners of the Club Asia brand Humerah and I are currently examining a number of different opportunities that have come to light and we will continue to welcome proposals from third parties for new ventures that extend and license the Club Asia brand to new markets, sectors and media. What I can promise is that you haven�۪t heard the last of us or Club Asia just yet.

Due to administration legalities, Sumerah was unable to answer questions directly relating to the sale. The questions, which posed are listed below:
�ۢ When did the signs first start appearing of Club Asia’s troubles?
�ۢ Would you say competition from Sunrise Radio was also a part of Club Asia’s downfall?
�ۢ What efforts were made to salvage the station before it went into administration? Or was it recession?
�ۢ There was speculation before that the price of the station was too high, is this why you didn’t finalise new buyers before administration?
�ۢ Is there any hope for listeners that the station will continue in its current form?
�ۢ Who would you ideally like to see buy the station? A corporate or an independent?