Sunrise Radio Yorkshire, a brand synonymous with a variety of hits from Bollywood to Bhangra, and regular features covering health, religion, culture and education – and then COVID-19 struck, the popular station has rolled out its 30th anniversary plans.
Talking about the challenges the station has faced during the coronavirus lockdown, Director, Raj Parmar explains, “We’ve been the heart and the voice of the local Asian community for the last three decades. This year was shaping up to be a spectacular anniversary year, and we were excited about a packed schedule of events to celebrate our significant milestone.”
“However, as the Coronavirus took hold, all of our regular contributors, and advertisers, literally shut up shop and our commercial income stopped overnight. Ironically, what we had to say, and how we were able to deliver vital messages has become more important than ever. We have reached out to local authorities, to NHS service providers and communicators to offer them a direct channel to get their messages to what can be a hard to reach audience for traditional methods.”
As a regional cluster of a largely BAME population, with multi-aged households and areas in local lockdown hotspots, Sunrise Radio is providing a vital link for health messages, COVID news and track and trace updates for large organisations who desperately need to get their messages to its target audience, using a trusted, much-loved medium.
The COVID Crisis has also opened up other opportunities too. ‘In Lockdown with…’ is an ambitious six-part programme, featuring media, sporting and business personalities such as comedians Paul Chowdhry and Nina Wadia, Former England Cricketer and ‘Strictly’ winner, Mark Ramprakash, businessman Lord Rami Ranger, and chef Asma Khan, sharing their lockdown experiences with Yorkshire cricketing legend, Monty Panesar.
The Community Spotlight Show features views and opinions from community leaders, such as Faisal Tariq from Sharing Voices, Bradford West MP, Naz Shah, councillors Aneela Ahmed, Rizwana Jamil and Businessman Ishfaq Farooq (MyLahore) as they discuss issues affecting their local communities and share a great track or two.
Starting this week will be “Jhakaas (Superb) Mornings”, a segment hosted by Bollywood Superstar, Anil Kapoor and coming shortly will be the Sunrise Radio Photo Studio Show, featuring interviews with a collection of Bollywood Greats such as Jackie Shroff, Saif Ali Khan and Kangana Ranaut as they reminisce about the stories surrounding some of their favourite family photos and movie memories.
Raj continued, “This has been an unprecedented time for all of us and it has made us braver in our programming. We have commissioned pieces we wouldn’t normally commission and approached artists that we wouldn’t usually be in contact with.
“As we come out of lockdown, we have created some bounce-back packages to help our local businesses get back on their feet as we think in these moments of crisis our role as a trusted broadcaster is more important than ever. Our listener numbers have increased, and our VIP membership club has grown under lockdown because we take the responsibility seriously and want to make sure that we stay the heart and the voice of our local communities.”