BBC Asian Network announces new presenting talent

BBC Asian Network announces four exciting new names joining its presenting line-up later this autumn. Preeya Kalidas, Guz Khan, Harpz Kaur and Mim Shaikh will be launching new shows on the Asian Network from Thursday 26 November as part of a refresh of its schedule. 
BBC Asian Network is a national digital radio station that broadcasts to an average audience of 607,000 listeners a week. It has a strong focus on music, news and current affairs relevant to its primary target audience of 18-34 year old British Asians. This young audience accounts for 1 in 10 of all 18-34s in Britain today. The station has a distinctive commitment to new British Asian music, through platforms such as BBC Introducing, and provides original journalism and discussion around the issues that matter to its audience. For anyone inspired by British Asian culture, the Asian Network offers a unique platform for creativity, entertainment and impactful debate.
BBC Asian Network new presenters

Preeya Kalidas, Guz Khan, Harpz Kaur and Mim Shaikh all set to join BBC Asian Network

Preeya Kalidas’s show will be broadcast on Saturdays, 1-3pm. She is a singer, TV, film and stage actress. The former EastEnders actress, who played Amira Masood in the soap, is currently starring as Pinky in the West End theatre production of Bend it like Beckham and played Monica in the original 2002 film version. Preeya has also had roles in films including East is East, Bollywood Queen and Bombay Dreams. Her new show will feature a range of Asian and mainstream music and entertainment guests each week.

Preeya says: “I’m looking forward to spending my Saturday afternoons talking to the nation on the brilliant BBC Asian Network. I had my first ever interview on the station and have grown up listening to great talent on the station. It’s an honour to be a part of the team. My dad always said I had a perfect face for radio!”

Guz Khan’s show will be broadcast on Saturday mornings, 6-10am. Stand-up comic Guz, from West Midlands, recently gave up his job as a teacher to pursue a career in comedy. Despite having only been in the business a year, his YouTube clips have gone viral. His exclusive comedy short for BBC iPlayer, Roadman Ramadan – where he played a character called Mobeen – quickly made its way into BBC iPlayer’s most popular list. Guz will present a brand new show, showcasing the best new music and comedy.

Guz says: “I feel very blessed. I started out this year doing stand-up for BBC Asian Network’s Comic Relief night, then did my first Comedy short on TV for iPlayer, and now I’m set to present my first-ever radio show! I am just a normal dude, so the fact these opportunities have arisen in such a short space of time is still surreal.”

Harpz Kaur’s show will be broadcast on Sunday mornings, 6-10am. Hailing from the North of England, Harpreet started her career on her local radio station, Fever FM. She is also an established solo DJ and appears at events around the country and internationally. Additionally, she is a qualified journalist and was a finalist at the Asian Media Awards 2014. Harpz will present a new Sunday morning Breakfast show featuring the best in Asian music.

Harpz says: “I’ve always chased my dreams. And I can’t believe the day has come where I can now say it’s come true! I’m overly excited and grateful to take on this opportunity. It’s an absolute honour to have the chance to represent the BBC. It’s going to be an amazing journey.”

Mim Shaikh’s show will be broadcast on Thursdays, 9pm-midnight. Mim, a 23-year-old broadcaster based in London, has previously hosted shows on BBC Radio 1Xtra (where he is soon to host for a month on Saturdays, 4-7pm) and Reprezent Radio and presented occasionally on BBC Asian Network. He appeared as himself in BBC Three’s structured reality show South Side Story, and has won many awards including Best Specialist Music Programming – Student Radio Awards (2012), Best Interview – Student Radio Awards (2012) and Broadcast Journalist of the Year – Guardian Student Media Awards (2011). Mim’s new show will bring together the hottest new urban music and panel debates around the topics that matter for young British-Asians.

Mim says: “I’m really excited to be joining BBC Asian Network. My brand new show will consist of an eclectic range of music as well as incorporating the element of youthful debate, focusing on monthly topics including music, fashion, film, and culture, all from young people’s perspective, a view which can easily get lost in the media. I can’t wait to start.”

The production of the Preeya Kalidas, Mim Shaikh and Harpz Kaur’s shows will now be put out to tender as part of the independent commissioning process.

Ray Khan’s Show will now air three times a week (Monday to Wednesday, 9pm-midnight – no longer on Thursdays). Gagan Grewal is moving from the Weekend Breakfast slot to present a new show on Sundays from 10am-1pm. Additionally, the Asian Network will now go through the night from midnight to 6am. Currently the station joins BBC Radio 5 Live during this time, but from later this year it will broadcast some repeats of its best loved programmes and music specials throughout the week.

These changes mean that Murtz and Sanjay Sharma will no longer be presenting shows on Asian Network. Sanjay Sharma is a veteran Asian broadcaster, joining the station in 1989 and has presented ‘Asian Network Gold’ since 2012. Murtz has been a mainstay of the weekend schedules since joining the station in 2005. Murtz is taking a year out to focus on other projects and will be discussing future plans with the station. Sanjay will continue to feature occasionally on special programmes.

Bob Shennan, Controller Radio 2, Asian Network and 6 Music, says: “These changes mark a significant development in the new Asian Network, which continues to grow its popularity with the audience and importance within the BBC.”

Mark Strippel, Head of Programmes for BBC Asian Network, says: “With the Asian Network continuing to grow and evolve to reach new audiences, this felt like an exciting time to bring some new voices to the station and our audiences. The talents of Preeya, Mim, Harpz and Guz will complement our already strong line-up as we refresh the schedule this autumn to further strengthen the station’s distinctiveness and range of output. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sanjay Sharma for his immense contribution to the station for more than 25 years.”