Media regulator Ofcom has today approved broadcaster Sunrise Radio’s bid to change its country music station Easy Radio into a Asian talk station, to be called Kismat Asian Talk Radio.

Sunrise Radio has become the first station to rebrand an existing station without needing to apply for a new license. The regulator’s affirmative response will be seen as a indicator of how it intends to deal with such issues.Ofcom’s public consultation provoked 135 letters of objection to Sunrise’s plan, many suggesting that Kismat’s programmes could be carried on Sunrise’s existing London Asian service, and that the range of services available would be cut.

Local radio station Club Asia submitted the most substantial response, setting out its worries that Kismat would adversely affect its commercial viability.

Easy 1035 had been broadcasting across Greater London for 10 years, during which time it has had five different owners, and according to Sunrise, has “despite the efforts and investments of successive owners” failed to attract sufficient listeners and has “proven

disastrous financially”.

Avtar Lit, the chairman and chief executive of Sunrise, said he was delighted with the decision, saying London’s newest radio station would be launched early in the new year. Kismat will bring “real radio listening choice” to Asian Londoners, according to Dr Lit and will “assist in accelerating the assimilation of the Asian community into the national fabric of life”.

Aimed at over-35s, Kismat will broadcast mostly speech programmes covering news, debate and discussion and a mix of popular forms of music including Asian gold and hits, folk music, Qawaalis, Ghazals and religious music. Easy Radio is currently available on Sky Digital channel 923 and in London. It will continue to broadcast on digital radio in London only.